How Invisalign Works
Invisalign is one of the great advancements of modern dentistry. Developed in the late ’90s, Invisalign became an increasingly popular orthodontic method. It is estimated that over 2.4 million Americans have been treated with Invisalign’s clear aligner system and it is currently one of the most popular orthodontic devices.
Although much of its popularity is due to its discreet and non-invasive treatment mechanism, another key reason for its popularity is the simple fact that it works. Various studies have shown that Invisalign produces and retains results at a rate comparable to traditional metal braces. Simply stated, this means that when Invisalign treatment is used to treat appropriate cases, the end result is basically the same as what it would have been with metal braces.
At this point, skeptics may be wondering how two completely different orthodontic treatments could yield highly similar results. Even if you’re not a skeptic, you may be wondering this same thing. After all, how is it possible that clear aligners can actually move teeth?
However, to understand how Invisalign works, you first need to understand the basic premise of orthodontic treatment. The main goal of orthodontic treatment is to correctly align the teeth and bite so that the jaw can function properly. In order to move the teeth, orthodontic devices are designed to apply a gentle, constant pressure to the teeth that eventually results in tooth movement.
During orthodontic treatment, whether it be metal braces or Invisalign, the teeth can be moved in a variety of ways to improve the anatomy of the bite. Orthodontic appliances can shift teeth from side to side, move teeth slightly up or down, and rotate them in a variety of directions. All these movements are the result of certain pressure applied to a specific location.
Therefore, Invisalign works by using clear aligners to exert pressure on the teeth in order to encourage gradual tooth movements. In order for this to work, however, the aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day and the aligner must be switched out about every 1-2 weeks as the treatment progresses. Each new aligner is made in a slightly different shape than the last one and represents one step close to the end of treatment.
In addition to clear aligners, Invisalign treatment may sometimes employ the use of Invisalign attachments called SmartForce Attachments. These are small, composite resin shapes adhered to the front middle area of the tooth. Their main purpose is to concentrate pressure to one location in order to encourage the correct movement. Invisalign attachments are not required for all treatments, and are generally only used to treat more complex cases that may require more tooth movement.
When Invisalign attachments are used, they are often not used for the entirety of the treatment, however, some few cases may need the constant use of attachments. The good thing about Invisalign attachments, however, is that they won’t interrupt the discreteness of the treatment. In fact, Invisalign attachment are barely noticeable due to their size and color.
Overall, Invisalign works in a similar way to other orthodontic treatments. However, it uses clear aligners that apply gentle, constant pressure instead of the brackets or wires associated with traditional metal braces. These aligners are worn full-time and are only removed to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Ultimately, treatment with Invisalign, patients can easily and discreetly accomplish the smile they’ve always wished for.Back to Blog Articles Page