NHS Orthodontics » Invisalign
What is Invisalign?
Introduced in 1999 by Align Technologies, Invisalign incorporates a series of invisible (clear) plastic aligners that fit comfortably over your teeth and are designed to move your teeth gradually into the desired position. Today, Invisalign is a leading brand of orthodontic appliance, primarily because the removable aligners (less than one millimetre thick) are designed to be more esthetically pleasing than conventional wire-and-bracket dental braces for treating certain types of minor misaligned tooth problems.
Will it work for me?
A confident smile and increased sense of esteem isn't the only benefit of correcting your smile with Invisalign - your oral health can be positively enhanced as well. Learn more about several common issues below that an experienced Invisalign-certified dental practitioner can work with you to correct.
- Widely spaced teeth occur when you have extra space within your jaw. This could be due to small sized teeth, abnormal growth of jaw bones, genetics, missing teeth and/or tongue protrusion. When teeth are missing, this can also be caused by the other teeth shifting due to extra space. Spacing issues can cause some periodontal diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis, that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.
- Overcrowded teeth occur when there is simply a lack of room within your jaw for all of your teeth to fit normally. When left untreated, overly crowded teeth can cause an increased chance of gum disease as your teeth are harder to clean and can prevent the normal function of teeth.
- Overbites occur when the upper teeth overlap significantly over the lower teeth. It's typically caused by either genetics, bad oral habits, or over development of the bone that supports the teeth. This issue can lead to gum problems or irritation, and/or wear on the lower teeth and can cause painful jaw and joint problems
- Crossbite's occur when the upper and lower jaws are both misaligned. It usually causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, and can happen on both the front and/or the sides of the mouth. This issue can cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.
- Underbite's occur when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth, usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. It can also be caused by missing upper teeth. This issue can prevent the normal function of front teeth or molars which can lead to tooth wear. It can also cause painful jaw and joint problems.
And of course, there are other considerations when making the decision to straighten your teeth. Think about how Invisalign can fit in your life by providing a virtually invisible option to getting the smile you want.
What is the procedure?
- After an initial consultation and assessment of your smile and teeth alignment, your Invisalign dentist will take an impression (mould) of your teeth using a special “dental putty” and take several photographs of your teeth and smile from different angles.
- A 3D digital model of your teeth is then created at the Invisalign laboratory using a CT scanner.
- Using the latest patented software, the model is used as a basis to generate a simulation of your teeth movement from their current position to the final desired position.
- This simulation is then used as the basis to design your aligners, which are custom-made for your teeth and will be changed every two weeks as your teeth move little by little.
- Your newly fabricated aligners will then be sent back to your dentist, along with the 3D simulation, so that you can see for yourself the expected movement of your teeth over time.
- Your dentist will give you strict instructions on how to use the aligners. They must be worn for a minimum of 20 hours a day; the success of the treatment is highly dependent on your compliance as a patient and requires dedication.
- You will have regular checkups with your dentist to ensure that your treatment is going as initially planned.
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