Invisalign aligners straighten teeth like braces, but without the conspicuous metal wires and brackets.
Invisalign is a system for moving teeth into their optimal position. Like traditional braces, Invisalign moves teeth by applying gentle pressure. Over time, this pressure moves teeth and reshapes the supporting jawbone.
Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic trays that are custom-made for each patient. A dentist evaluates the patient’s smile then uses a computer to map out a customized digital treatment plan. The dentist then sends the data to a laboratory, which makes a series of aligner trays. The lab sends the aligner trays to the patient, usually at a rate of one tray every two weeks. The patient wears the trays as directed, and disposes of the used tray when the new one arrives in the mail.
The patient typically wears the aligner trays for 20 to 22 hours per day, removing it only to eat and to brush his or her teeth. Patients typically check in with their dentists about once every six weeks, so that their dentists can monitor progress and ensure treatment is on course.
Invisalign is also different from traditional braces in that the plastic aligner trays are comfortable – there are no metal wires to snag on your cheeks. As its name suggests, Invisalign is also nearly invisible, so people won’t know you are wearing an orthodontic appliance.