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Let's Talk Invisalign

Blonde woman with straight teeth smiling

Most patients these days who come in for a consultation have heard of Invisalign, but may not know exactly what it entails. Invisalign treatment is orthodontic treatment that uses clear aligners to orthodontically move teeth.

Not all cases are best treated with Invisalign, so it is important to have a consultation with an orthodontist to understand the treatment recommended for you! If you are a good candidate for Invisalign treatment, it can be a great type of orthodontic treatment.

Some of the pros of Invisalign are:

* Esthetics

* Ease of brushing and flossing

* And ability to eat without restrictions.

The major con is: It is a heavily compliance-based appliance. If you have a tendency to lose your keys, wallet, phone, your head… then this might not be the appliance for you.

I keep referring to Invisalign as an appliance. This may seem odd since to most people an Invisalign aligner looks like “Just a little piece of plastic”. This little piece of plastic is in fact a very custom-made appliance. Invisalign is a tool used for orthodontics. It still takes the same understanding and knowledge of tooth movement to move teeth with Invisalign as it does with braces.

What is involved in Invisalign?

Photos, x-rays, and imprints of the teeth are submitted to Invisalign along with the doctor’s prescription/treatment plan. The company produces a 3-D rendering of the treatment plan and the doctor fine tunes the plan until it is ready for production. When a patient receives their first set of Invisalign aligners, they should also expect attachments on some of their teeth, and many patients also need IPR, or interproximal reduction. The attachments are basically composite ‘handles’ that are placed on certain teeth to maximize movements and improve the grip of the aligners. IPR is the removal of a very small fraction of a mm amount of enamel from the sides of the teeth to open contacts and create space to most effectively align teeth. Once this preparation is done, the patient starts wearing their first aligners right away! Every 1-2 weeks the patient will switch to a new aligner. Patients will usually be given a few aligners at a time so that they can switch them at home between appointments.

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