The Invisalign Appliance
What is the Invisalign appliance?
Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners. It helps the orthodontist or dentist move your teeth into correct alignment. This series of aligners, sometimes referred to as trays, are fabricated from computer-designed 3D printed models. Treatment with this orthodontic appliance requires patients to wear aligners that completely cover the teeth and shift them into the correct position.
The primary reason that patients opt for the Invisalign appliance that aligners are less visible as compared to fixed appliances, such as fixed metal braces. The secondary reason is that one can remove the appliance if necessary, based on different lifestyles.
Invisalign has been around for a while (almost 20 years), its name is almost synonymous with clear aligner therapy. Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize Invisalign is just one brand of clear aligners on the market.
How does the Invisalign appliance work?
The orthodontist or dentist most often acquires a digital scan of your teeth and then digitally moves your teeth to their ideal position. From there, the software simulates movement of the teeth based on a determined algorithm. The software then renders multiple digital models that simulate these movements. The digital models are printed and utilized to fabricate the aligners. As for the Invisalign appliance, the majority of this workflow is done at an industry scale level with robots in a few centers across the globe (Costa Rica, China, and Germany).
What are the “buildups” that come with the Invisalign appliance?
Buildups, also called attachments, act as anchors to hold the aligner tightly to your teeth to transfer force from the aligner to your teeth. They are made of a composite material (similar to what dentists use for fillings) that are bonded to your teeth during treatment. These attachments come in various forms and shapes, and some help with the retention of aligners.
Where can I get Invisalign?
It is essential to understand that Invisalign is not a treatment. It is an appliance (instrument) to move teeth.
Align technology, manufacturer of the Invisalign appliance, offers training on how to use the appliance. Certified providers then are qualified to use the appliance.
To better answer this question, you first need to think whether you want to see an orthodontist to move your teeth or a general dentist. Sometimes you need more than one provider to create an interdisciplinary care plan for you. A good example of this is when you have gum issues (periodontal problems), which should be addressed prior to your orthodontic treatment. In such a case, a periodontist and orthodontist would work together to create a plan that addresses all of your oral health needs.
We strongly encourage you to see an orthodontist if you are seeking any orthodontic care, with or without the Invisalign appliance. Moving the teeth requires a deep and detailed understanding of the process and how the tissue around teeth is impacted, as well as how moving teeth changes your bite and how to fix problems unpredicted challenges, should they occur. It is because of these unique treatment needs that the specialization in orthodontics came to be. In the 1950s training evolved from one week to a three year focused training, so that highly trained clinicians can provide expert care in this field.
Dr. Rooz at Porth (Personalized Orthodontics) provide Invisalign and other clear aligner options for patients in the Sammamish area. For those who are in the area and may be interested in Invisalign treatment, you can scroll to the bottom to learn more!
What is the Invisligan Advantage program? What does Elite, Gold or Diamond Invisalign provider mean?
Align technology, the manufacturer of the Invisalign appliance, created several levels for their providers. The tier status is based on the number of patients that a provider treats using the appliance.
In some ways, this system is similar to what airlines use with mileage programs; the provider must continue treating a certain number of patients to maintain her or his status. It also incentivizes the Invisalign providers to financially benefit from a lower cost of manufacturing by using the more of this product.
Therefore, the badges, or tiers/levels, are indicators of how many patients a provider has treated or attempted to successfully treat. It may also represent the provider’s familiarity or experience with the Invisalign appliance.
However, this tier system fails to clarify the quality of care rendered, and might create a false projection of a provider’s ability to provide orthodontic care to potential patients.
Should I get Invisalign?
If you are considering Invisalign, consult with one or two orthodontists to determine if it’s a good fit for you. The biggest question to answer is: are you ready to wear the aligners for 18-22 hours a day?
Clear aligner therapy works for most cases of crooked or misaligned teeth, yet aligners might not be the most efficient approach to deliver some tooth movement, or to address bite issues associated with skeletal problems.
Here are four reasons patients choose clear aligners (including Invisalign) over other orthodontic treatment options:
- They are concerned with the aesthetics and prefer Invisalign because it will not change how they look. Many people feel uncomfortable with traditional braces and feel like the metal brackets and wires will get in their way.
- They prefer to remove the appliance to eat. Traditional braces usually involve dietary restrictions because certain foods can damage the braces, but since Invisalign is removable patients don’t have to worry about what they eat as much.
- They like to remove the appliance to clean their teeth. Some people find that brushing and flossing are difficult with wires and brackets in the way. Removing the aligner trays allows patients to get their usual close-up clean throughout treatment.
- They need to remove their appliance for special events such professional presentations, job interviews, or sports. And, specifically with sports, having metal braces can place someone at risk for injuring their mouth, whereas aligners wouldn’t pose this same obstacle.
As long as you can wear the aligners for 18 – 22 hours a day, Invisalign may be a great option for you. If the Invisalign trays aren’t worn frequently enough, your teeth can shift back into their previous position, resulting in longer treatment time and less effective results. If you think you’ll forget to wear the aligners, lingual or clear braces may be a better option.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Invisalign is an effective and subtle orthodontic alternative for adults and teenagers that won’t impede on their lifestyle. Here are the main benefits of Invisalign:
- The trays are completely removable, making it easier to eat and clean your teeth.
- There are no bulky metal wires or brackets that could irritate your mouth. The trays are custom made to fit you, so they should rest perfectly against your teeth.
- The aligners are clear, so nobody will see them. This is great for special events, professional settings, etc.
- Fewer visits to the orthodontist is a possibility since adjustments are all programmed in your aligners. The orthodontist can give the patient several sets of clear aligners at each appointment. Nonetheless, it is important to see or communicate with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth are moving as planned.
What are the challenges with Invisalign?
Generally speaking, the primary obstacle with Invisalign (or clear aligners in general) is staying committed to wearing them all the time. We’ve also found that the fact that patients don’t want to remove the aligners, brush their teeth, rinse the aligners and wear them again prevents them from maintaining their typical eating habits. This can cause weight loss.
Despite the fact that you can, technically, eat anything with Invisalign or aligners, your teeth may be sore since we are moving them. Therefore, if you bite into something hard such as an apple, steak, or granola bar, you may find it to be uncomfortable.
How many Invisalign aligners do I need?
There is no magic number, and it all depends on problems that need to be addressed. On average, most patients need about 20 – 30 sets of aligners, depending on how much work needs to be done. The majority of patients need more than one series of aligners.
To understand this concept, try and think of the aligners as allowing us to achieve 80-90% completion of the plan – moving your teeth to their ideal position. This can occur either because the plan was not correct, or we did not accurately estimated the biology of moving your teeth, since everyone’s do so differently. If this is the case, the next step is to carry the treatment to 100% efficiency. That is where refinement aligners come in. It’s important to note that not everyone requires this, and in some cases the initial treatment plan is 100% successful. It is, however, important to consider as it has an impact on the number of trays needed, and the unpredictability therein.
Is Invisalign painful?
The first few days wearing Invisalign aligners can make the gums and teeth feel sore because of the pressure being exerted on them from the trays.
This is a completely normal part of any orthodontic treatment. Your mouth will adjust to them in time. Invisalign, or any clear aligners, may have sharp edges that irritate your cheeks or tongue, and that will take a few days to heal. For this situation, we advise the use of orthodontic wax and file the aligners to minimize the discomfort.
In very rare cases (Dr. Rooz has experienced this with one patient) one can be allergic to the materials in the Invisalign appliance or other clear aligners. This obviously creates symptoms that will disappear when one stop wearing Invisalign aligners.
When will I receive my Invisalign trays after my scans?
At most offices, the process of sending, creating, and receiving Invisalign trays could take upwards of four to six weeks.
At our clinic, we have the same timeline for patients opting to use the Invisalign appliance. However, patients using Porth clear aligners can get started with their care as early as next day after completing their digital scan at Personalized Orthodontics. We fabricate our aligners in Sammamish at our clinic, making it a faster process for patients to get started.
What is Box Orthodontics? Is there any alternative to the Invisalign appliance?
If you are in search to improve your teeth with clear aligner therapy, the good news is that you have multiple options. You can read more on the difference between the Invisalign appliance and clear aligners.
The Invisalign appliance is one of the oldest appliances in the market for clear aligner therapy. A few orthodontists, including Dr. Rooz at Porth opt to fabricate these aligner in the clinic. The main advantage of this approach is the complete control on the treatment.
You might have also come across Ads talking about mail ordered aligners. We do not encourage these services and you can read more about this option here.
What We Offer at Porth
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At Porth, we are proud to offer a free, no-obligation Virtual Consult to help you plan your orthodontic care, from the convenience of your home — or anywhere! Your Virtual Consult takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and you’ll get personal feedback from Dr. Rooz about what your options are.