As a board certified Orthodontist in practice for 25 years, I have seen tremendous changes in the design, shape, size and color of traditional braces. The braces of today are very different from the mid 1980’s when I was in my Orthodontic Residency Program. Fortunately for patients today, braces are smaller, more esthetic (especially in the case of clear ceramic braces) and often work more efficiently to help the Orthodontist achieve a beautiful, healthy smile in less time.
However with all the new developments in braces, I am most excited about Invisalign! I will share with you why I believe, as a tooth-moving tool (like braces) Invisalign can be the best choice for you and your family.
There are lots of myths about what Invisalign is, what it can do, how it works, its effectiveness and it’s pricing. I will cover all these areas in this article.
Just what is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a brand of clear removable aligners developed by Align Technology in 1998. Clear removable aligners have been used for decades as “retainers” at the end of “braces” to hold the teeth in their new position.
What Invisalign provides is software and technology that allows a patient’s crooked and misplaced teeth to move in stages. Each stage is a new set of aligners. Typically patients are required to wear their aligners 22 hours a day removing them for meals and tooth brushing. The aligners are changed every 2 weeks with each set gradually moving your teeth into the prescribed place as planned by your Orthodontist.
Can Those Clear Plastic Aligners Really Move Teeth?
The short answer is Yes Absolutely!
At first, back in 1998, Invisalign was used mostly for simple cases of spacing and very mild crowding. As the company grew and more and more Orthodontists starting using Invisalign in more challenging cases, the ability of the aligners to move teeth effectively and efficiently improved dramatically.
Currently, worldwide, 1.5 million patients have been treated with Invisalign since 1998.
Is It As Effective As Braces?
Absolutely! Invisalign, like braces is just a tool to help us Orthodontists move teeth. The square metal braces glued to a patient’s teeth will not magically move those teeth into a beautiful smile without a diagnosis and treatment plan in place that has been set by an Orthodontic Specialist.
Likewise, clear removable aligners will not magically move teeth without the experience of an Orthodontist who has expertise in Invisalign. An easy way to determine experience levels with Invisalign is to go to their website www.invisalign.com and type in your zip code. The providers with the most experience are at the Elite Level and are listed first. If you are interested in Invisalign for you and your family, this is a great way to make sure you are seeing a provider who has expertise with this type of tooth moving appliance.
Doesn’t Invisalign Take Longer?
Both braces and Invisalign require commitment from patients. If a patient is willing to cooperate 100 percent with their braces and 100 percent with their aligners, typically in our offices they will finish treatment in the same time frame. Uncooperative patients, such as those breaking their braces, not wearing their elastics or aligners will definitely have longer treatment times with less successful a result.
Isn’t Invisalign More Expensive Than Braces?
When Invisalign came to the marketplace in 1998, it was very expensive. Like all new technology the price has decreased over the years as more and more patients are deciding to have their teeth straightened using this appliance. Meanwhile, the costs associated with braces and wires have increased dramatically over the same time frame. In our offices, our Invisalign and braces fees are essentially the same.
Why Choose Invisalign?
In summary, you now know what Invisalign is, how it works, its effectiveness and pricing compared to braces. So why do people choose Invisalign over braces?
Patients who wear Invisalign will be able to brush and floss without braces and wires in the way. Furthermore, they are removable so you can eat what you want, just take them off, eat that caramel apple, brush your teeth and put them back on. Another reason to choose Invisalign is that there is minimal discomfort compared to the roughness of braces and the wires that potentially stick your cheeks and tongue. And finally, they are virtually invisible, which is great for adults and teens too!
Invisalign is a great choice for you and your family and if you want to learn more, visit our Invisalign pages or call 916-435-8000 to schedule a complimentary consultation.