What Is Invisalign and How Does It Work?

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

Invisalign is a virtually invisible alternative to traditional braces for patients who want to look good while their teeth are being corrected. The Invisalign system is adaptable to a variety of corrective needs and can be used by a majority of patients. Like traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners work by moving teeth into their proper positions through gradual pressure. Unlike traditional braces, however, Invisalign achieves results without the need for brackets and wires. Here are more about Invisalign and how it works.

Overview of Invisalign

Invisalign braces consist of transparent mouthpieces that patients wear over their teeth. These mouthpieces, called aligners, are made of a special type of plastic that is manufactured just for Invisalign and are similar to teeth-whitening trays in their design. Aligners are custom made for patients based on the results of an exam by our Clovis Orthodontists, who use photos, X-rays and dental impressions to refine the process. Throughout the treatment period, which varies in length depending on the individual, patients receive a succession of aligners until correction is complete.

How the Aligners Straighten Teeth

Although permanent teeth are held in place through their positions in the jaw bones, these teeth can be moved gradually through constant pressure. For this reason, patients must wear their aligners for 20 to 24 hours per day during Invisalign treatment. With each stage of aligners, patients have small adjustments made to the positions of their teeth. Successive sets of aligners further refine the positions until treatment is complete. In most cases, patients switch to their new aligners approximately every two weeks. The total number of aligners required depends on the goals of treatment for the individual relative to the extent of bite irregularities present.

Timing for Precision Results

Although continual pressure on teeth is the basic premise behind Invisalign, this treatment is particularly effective because of the order in which the teeth are moved. Individual differences in the positions of teeth may change the rate of correction that is optimal. As a result, our dentist refines the treatment plan for each patient to ensure that the right amount of pressure is applied to specific sections of teeth at each stage of treatment. By the end of the treatment period, all of the misaligned teeth will have been corrected.

Advantages of Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign is a form of orthodontics Fresno residents will appreciate if they are interested in the aesthetic aspects of treatment as well as their comfort and oral health. The aligners are virtually invisible, which means that patients can go to school and work while their teeth are being corrected without feeling self-conscious. Because the aligners are free from the jagged edges associated with brackets and wires, Invisalign patients are less likely to experience abrasion or other discomfort during treatment. Individuals who play sports will find that the aligners do not cut the inner cheeks during physical contact or falls. Oral health is easier to maintain during Invisalign compared to metal braces treatment for a number of reasons. With no brackets, plaque and tartar accumulation is less of an issue. Patients can also brush and floss normally after simply removing their aligners. Furthermore, Invisalign aligners can easily be cleaned to prevent build-up of cavity-causing bacteria and erosive acids.

FAQ: Who is Eligible for Invisalign Teen?

What Invisalign Can Correct

Invisalign can correct most types of bite irregularities, including:

  • overcrowding
  • overbite
  • underbite
  • crossbite
  • narrow arches

Invisalign cannot address problems associated with bone malformation or incongruity of the upper and lower teeth. This is because Invisalign alone cannot change previously completed development of the jaws, and the reduced contact made between upper and lower teeth when Invisalign is worn prevents correction of improper contact. When these issues are present, patients may benefit from the use of another type of orthodontic system or an attachment in combination with Invisalign. Arch widening may be recommended before Invisalign treatment for the best results in certain cases.

Different Forms of Invisalign

Our orthodontist offers multiple forms of Invisalign Clovis residents can use to address unique requirements. In addition to the standard version, Invisalign Full, Invisalign has created Invisalign Teen and Invisalign Express. Invisalign Teen includes extra aligners to account for the busy lifestyle of many adolescents and has special compliance indicators that let our orthodontist verify that teenage patients are wearing their aligners as much as they should to get the full benefits of treatment. Invisalign Express, as its name suggests, is a faster version of regular Invisalign. Express is designed to correct minor bite irregularities and uses up to 10 sets of aligners rather than the 18 to 30 sets used with Invisalign Full. Invisalign Express is popular for fixing teeth in preparation for special events or for resolving orthodontic relapse.

Photo credit: WingedWolf / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: WingedWolf / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Available Attachments

Certain attachments may be recommended for patients whose treatment goals exceed the capabilities of basic Invisalign treatment. These attachments are often in the form of ridges that boost movement of target teeth. Because the attachments are tinted to match the color of enamel, they do not impact the level of discretion normally associated with Invisalign.

How Long Invisalign Takes

Extent of bite irregularities affects the duration of treatment with orthodontics Clovis residents require. When only very minor bite irregularities are present, patients may be able to choose Invisalign Express and finish treatment within three to six months. When Invisalign Full is necessary, patients can usually expect to finish treatment within one to two years. Invisalign Teen generally takes about the same amount of time as Invisalign Full. During treatment, patients visit our orthodontist about every four to six weeks to have their progress monitored.

After Invisalign treatment is complete, patients wear a retainer temporarily to ensure that their results last. Like other orthodontic treatments, Invisalign offers permanent improvements in oral health, including greater resistance to tooth decay, gingivitis and tooth loss. You can learn more about this treatment in the Invisalign FAQ. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist and find out if you can have your teeth straightened with the Invisalign system.

Nalchajian Orthodontics
7501 N Fresno St, Suite 105, Fresno, CA 93720
Phone: (559) 432 7100

What Is Invisalign and How Does It Work?

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Nicole Nalchajian About Nicole Nalchajian

Dr Nicole Nalchajian - Nalchajian Orthodontics - Specialist in Orthodontics for kids, teens and adults in Fresno and Clovis California.

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- Phone: (559) 432-7100
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7501 N. Fresno St, Suite 105 Fresno, CA 93720
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 8:00-17:00, Thu: 7:00-15:00