What is Invisalign?
Invisalign as the name suggests is an invisible and removable hygienic alternative to traditional metal braces. It consists of a series of removable aligners that can be changed every two weeks. Each aligner is individually manufactured for your teeth, and your teeth only, using 3D Computer imaging technology. The fortnightly replacement of each aligner will adjust the series of movements your teeth will go through over the course of the treatment until they have straightened to the required position.
A virtual treatment plan can be generated using ClinCheck software, which makes it possible to visualize the expected outcome prior to beginning the treatment. This works as a guide as results may vary.
With Invisalign you can eat and drink normally during treatment because it is removable. Good oral hygiene can be maintained by regular brushing and flossing of the teeth. It is very comfortable to wear and the aligners are made from medical grade plastic that is smooth and does not irritate the gums, cheek and tongue. It is not bulky and after a few days speech is restored to normal.
What is a malocclusion?
A malocclusion is a misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the upper and lower jaw and the way they fit together (bite). Left untreated this could lead to periodontal (gum) disease and create abnormal stresses on the teeth and jaw bone and this in turn will lead to premature damage and wearing down of the teeth.
The following are some examples of malocclusion:
Crowded teeth – This occurs when there is insufficient room in the jaw for teeth to fit properly. This causes plaque and tartar to build up more rapidly around the area. As a result there is greater possibility for harbouring harmful bacteria that cause periodontal disease and tooth and bone loss.
Widely spaced teeth – When teeth are widely spaced, food lodges in the spaces causing sore and tender gums and periodontal disease.
Deep bite – This is caused when the front teeth of the lower jaw over erupt. This condition tends to get worse in older people, causing injury to the palate in addition to premature chipping, loosening and wearing off of the front teeth. .
Cross bite – In the case of badly aligned jaws, one or more of the upper teeth tend to bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This leads to the malfunction of the teeth and jaws in addition to premature tooth wear, chipped or cracked teeth at the gum line, receding gums and even periodontal disease.
Do straighter teeth mean healthier teeth?
Straighter teeth no doubt have cosmetic and aesthetic value. They make a person more attractive and improve their smile. Few consider the health benefits of straighter teeth.
Poorly aligned teeth can lead to
- Periodontal disease (red, swollen, tender and bleeding gums)
- Premature wearing off of teeth over time can result in tooth loss
- Difficulty cleaning the surfaces of the teeth predisposing the teeth to dental decay
If you have crooked teeth, you may need to consult your dentist about straightening them. Invisalign treatment is the best way to achieve a healthy mouth which has normal functioning teeth. This will minimize deterioration over time.
What does Invisalign treatment involve?
- A thorough examination by your dentist will need to be performed in order to detect and treat any active dental or periodontal disease. If not the fit of the aligners can compromise the outcome.
- Impressions of your teeth will have to be taken by the dentist so that they can design your treatment with the help of 3D Computer imaging technology.
- You can view the expected outcome from different angles and approve the plan once the initial planning is complete.
- On approval, the entire sequence of aligners will be produced in a computer assisted process and three aligners will be issued every six weeks.
- Once the sequential fitting of aligners have done their job in straightening the teeth, retainers are provided for you.
Why choose Invisalign over traditional metal braces?
Invisalign is a naturally beautiful and healthy way to straighten teeth. It is comfortable, convenient and more importantly benefits oral health during and after treatment.
Both invisalign and metal braces offer excellent results. They cost the same. They can treat a wide variety of cases such as overcrowded teeth, incorrectly spaced teeth, under bites and overbites.
However, there are some advantages in using aligners as opposed to metal braces:
- They are virtually invisible and unnoticeable.
- They are removable thus facilitating eating, brushing and flossing.
- You will be able to visualize the outcome exactly, even before your treatment commences. The unique Clincheck software makes this possible.
- They are comfortable and convenient to use.
- They can be removed for short periods of time for special occasions.
- They are easy to keep clean and fresh.
How do Invisalign aligners improve oral health?
It is very easy to keep the mouth clean during treatment. Removal of the device before eating ensures there is no build-up or trapping of food particles in nooks and crannies of teeth and mouth. Thus bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease can be prevented. There are no brackets to hold the aligners in place and so teeth will not get stained or marked.
Apart from cosmetic benefits, there are many other benefits from having teeth correctly aligned. These include:
- Healthier gums – crowded teeth make it impossible to floss, therefore allowing plaque to build up and this can cause gum disease and affect your overall health.
- Improvement in tooth function – When teeth meet together correctly the biting forces will be well distributed, minimizing the chances of fractures and chipped teeth. Further there will be less stress placed on the temporomandibular joints which assist in joint movement like opening and shutting of the jaw. Thus the condition known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) can be averted, as will the unpleasant symptoms like facial pain, headaches and even surgery be avoided.
- Improvement in eating and speech – Patients will be able to enjoy eating a variety of foods. Also, those with the speech problem such as lisps can find a solution.