Invisalign® is an orthodontic alternative to traditional wire braces. The clear retainers were developed by Zia Chisti in the 1990s after Chisti experienced teeth straightening as an adult. He felt a retainer could be used to gradually shift teeth into their desired location using a series of small movements. After years of research and development, the product was released into the market in 1999.
Since then, Invisalign® has proved a popular means of straightening teeth without unsightly and oftentimes uncomfortable wire brackets and braces. But, before choosing Invisalign® over traditional braces, it pays to know more about the procedure and how it will impact your budget and your lifestyle.
A series of clear or “invisible” aligners are created by the dentist following a smile analysis using 3-D imaging technology. This provides the dentist with a road map that enables them to identify the necessary steps to shift teeth from their initial position to the final desired position. The retainers consist of strong, medical grade plastic, and are customized to closely fit the patient’s teeth. The retainers are worn for approximately two weeks, moving the teeth incrementally, and then replaced with the next set until the treatment is complete and the final desire teeth position is attained.
Invisalign orthodontic treatments present many benefits, including:
- Invisibility – clear aligners offer patients discretion and the ability to straighten teeth without visible hardware.
- Convenience and Function – patients can remove the aligners in order to eat and drink, and to brush and floss regularly. And Invisalign doesn’t interfere with speech in the same way as metal braces.
- Comfort – though patients may still experience some initial soreness, Invisalign offers a more comfortable overall experience than traditional metal braces.
- Convenience – patients see their dentist for checkups once every 4-6 weeks, but additional lengthy appointments for fitting and adjustments are not required.
- Peace of Mind – because the process uses 3-d imaging technology, patients can envision what their teeth will look like following treatment.
The clear retainers are appealing to many because they are virtually undetectable. Invisalign can address issues of gapped teeth, crowded teeth, and some bite problems, but more severe cases will see better results with traditional wire braces.
Patients are encouraged to take care of their plastic trays by maintaining good oral hygiene and by cleaning their trays regularly. Patients are also discouraged from smoking while wearing the aligners in order to prevent them from becoming stained and discolored. And apart from time spent eating and cleaning their teeth, patients should wear their aligners all day, every day – this requires a mature approach to caring for both your trays and your teeth.
If you feel you may be a good candidate for Invisalign orthodontic treatment, contact Dr. Krell, your Houston dentist, today and ask them about the “clear choice”!