It’s likely that you’ve heard of Invisalign. This technology, developed in the last two decades, straightens teeth without braces. Many people who don’t want the look and hassle of metal braces are understandably very excited about Invisalign. So how does it work? And is it right for everyone?
How Invisalign Works
Traditional braces (whether metal, clear, or lingual) use brackets and wires to straighten teeth. The brackets which are bonded to the teeth and the wire (called an archwire) attached to the brackets work together to place forces on the teeth to straighten them. The archwires are periodically changed and adjusted, until the final result is achieved.
Invisalign works very differently. Instead of brackets and wires, a series of plastic trays called aligners are used to align the teeth. A model is made of the patient’s mouth as it currently is and the aligners are created through the use of computer modeling. Each aligner is designed to move the teeth one step closer to their final positions. Each aligner is usually worn for two weeks, and then switched out for the next one.
Accelerated Tooth Movement
Most people want the fastest possible orthodontic treatment. Fortunately, there have been some recent advances in orthodontic research focusing on ways to accelerate tooth movement. Finding safe, non-invasive, and effective ways to accelerate tooth movement is something that interests both Dr. Eleni and Dr. Abraham, and they are bringing these options to their patients. In fact, studies are showing that accelerated tooth movement can decrease treatment time by as much as 50%. That means wearing an Invisalign aligner for only one week before changing to the next one. Learn more on our Accelerated Orthodontics page.
What’s It Like to Wear Invisalign?
The Invisalign aligners are made of clear plastic. When they’re in, they’re nearly invisible; most people won’t even know that you’re wearing Invisalign. When you first get Invisalign, the aligner may slightly alter your speech, but you’ll quickly learn to work around it and speak normally again.
Invisalign aligners are not worn while eating or drinking anything other than water. You will need to take them out and replace them after you’re done, but be careful not to lose them! Fortunately, because you take out Invisalign aligners to eat, you can eat most types of food (unlike with braces, where sticky and hard foods must be avoided). Invisalign is also removed for brushing and flossing your teeth. This is also an advantage over braces, which can be difficult to clean around.
Aligners should be worn for at least 22 hours a day, which means that they need to be in your mouth any time you’re not eating or brushing your teeth. The pressure applied by Invisalign is relatively gentle, so the system relies on this amount of time in order to be effective. If the aligners are removed too often, then Invisalign may not be as effective at aligning your teeth.
Who Can Use Invisalign?
Invisalign is a great option for most people, but it doesn’t work for certain types of orthodontic problems. For severe orthodontic problems, braces may be the right choice. To find out if Invisalign is an option for you, schedule your complimentary consultation with our orthodontic specialists.
Advances in Invisalign technology have made more complicated orthodontic problems addressable using Invisalign. Modifications in aligners, the strategic use of tooth attachments (bonded tooth-colored buttons, which allow for a better grip between the tooth and aligner), and the use of auxiliaries (i.e., elastics) make it feasible to treat orthodontic cases that were once deemed untreatable using Invisalign.
Is Invisalign Right For You?
If you’re excited about using Invisalign to get the smile you’ve always wanted, just schedule your free exam and initial consultation at Avenue Orthodontics. From our office in Whitestone, we serve patients in the surrounding areas, including Flushing and Little Neck. We can tell you whether Invisalign would work for you. And by choosing to have your Invisalign treatment at Avenue Orthodontics, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that an orthodontist, not a technician or general dentist, is overseeing your Invisalign treatment. If you’re looking for a warm, caring orthodontist who also trained in some of the most prestigious programs in the country, then Dr. Eleni and Dr. Abraham are ready to meet you!
Invisalign Teen™ is a great alternative to braces for teenagers that are virtually invisible. Your teeth are aligned with a series of clear, removable aligners—so you can continue brushing, flossing and eating the way you normally do. Without braces, it’s easier to maintain good oral hygiene, which is definitely a plus for your social life. Being a teen is hard enough, getting a great smile doesn’t have to be.
- Those little blue dots are also a compliance indicator for us, so that we can address any wear issues right away.
- We provide up to 6 sets of replacement aligners at no charge.