Invisalign is a set of transparent orthodontic appliances or trays that align your teeth when worn for a prescribed length of time. A California based healthcare company “Align Technology” manufactures this appliance. The Invisalign treatment process is simple; however the manufacture involves a multitude of steps. A mold of your teeth is scanned to create a computerized model. Making use of your orthodontist’s treatment strategy, the computer model is used to create stages between the present position of your teeth and the desired position. In this way, a series of individual aligners are created to be used gradually during different stages of your treatment.
Since its foundation in 1997, over two and a half million patients have benefited from Invisalign. In fact, most of the orthodontists in North America have been trained on the Invisalign method of correcting orthodontic issues.
Once your orthodontist decides that you are a candidate for Invisalign, the treatment process starts with taking X-rays, photographs, and bite impressions of your teeth and gums. In addition to this, your orthodontist completes a form with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Your dental impressions are sent to Align Technology. There, they are scanned using a computerized tomography scanner creating a digital three dimensional representation of your teeth. The computer professionals move the image of your teeth to the location planned by your doctor in a computer program called Treat. This program creates many stages between the current teeth position and your desired teeth position for individual Invisalign aligners. Multiple stages may be needed depending on the condition of your teeth. ClinCheck is another computer program used by your orthodontist to visualize and manipulate the computer graphic representation of your projected teeth movements. Once approved, your aligners are to be manufactured and delivered to the practice.
Your aligners are modelled using computer-aided-design and computer-aided-manufacturing (CAD-CAM) software and manufactured using a rapid prototyping technique known as stereolithography. The molds for your aligners are made in many layers by using a photo-sensitive liquid resin that transforms into a hard plastic when it is exposed to a laser. Your aligners are then made from a thermoplastic material that can apply pressure to your teeth in order to move them into the position of the aligner. If your orthodontist thinks that you need a tooth rotated or simply moved up or down, a tooth-colored attachment may need to be bonded onto certain teeth. A method called reproximation or interproximal reduction is also sometimes used to create space in your arch for your teeth. With this technique fractions of millimetre of your teeth are removed on each side. This is a very safe procedure and poses no risks to the health of your teeth.
You are required to wear each aligner 22 hours a day for 2-3 weeks. On average, the whole Invisalign treatment process takes around thirteen and a half months. Your doctor may order refinement aligners during the treatment process. You can remove the aligner for brushing, flossing and eating purposes. Once the treatment period is over, you would be advised to wear a retainer at night for best results.
The only disadvantage of Invisalign in comparison to the traditional braces is technical limitation in handling complex cases. The primary benefit of Invisalign aligners is that these are more comfortable and more visually appealing. You will also find it easier to eat, floss or brush with a removable appliance. On the whole, you will have a confident smile during the Invisalign treatment as well as a beautiful smile after it’s done.