All You Need To Know About Invisalign
By Dr. Todd Moore - Certified Specialist In Orthodontics at PDG Dental
Amazing! How did they do that? I can’t believe it. Those are some of the comments we are hearing from patients who are undergoing tooth alignment with clear aligners, more specifically, Invisalign treatment. The orthodontists at PDG Dental have broadened their scope of Invisalign treatment to include what was traditionally considered treatment too complicated for tooth aligners. Why is this? Let’s take a moment to talk about Invisalign treatment.
Invisalign has been a treatment option to straighten teeth for more than 20 years. Like any system, Invisalign has been refining their product and learning what works and what doesn’t. Invisalign has aligned teeth in over than 8 million cases and they have used the data from all of those cases to improve tooth movement with their aligner trays. An explanation of how Invisalign works would help to illustrate where the systems have improved to a point where we are confident that Invisalign will effectively and fully align our patient’s teeth.
How Does Invisalign Treatment Works?
Treatment starts with an intraoral photo scan that does not use any x-rays. We have recently upgraded all of our offices to have multiple scanners. From the scan, a computer model of the teeth is generated. A scan takes 3-5 minutes. Invisalign uses proprietary software that they have developed to position the teeth into an ideal relationship. Invisalign has improved the software considerably to allow us to quickly deliver the aligner trays to patients. The software distributes the tooth movements in increments that can be accomplished every week. A model of the teeth is 3D Printed for each increment and a plastic tray is made. It may take 40-50 increments to move the teeth to their final position. It is like how Google maps can map out a bike trip from Vancouver to Toronto and every stage can be predicted.
What are the Tooth Attachments?
To improve the efficiency of tooth movement, attachments are added to the teeth. We have learned what attachments work best and have our own systems to improve tooth movements. The attachments are like door handles that help to hold the tooth tightly in the plastic tray. The material is tooth coloured and they are minimally visible. Sometimes the teeth are too difficult to hold on to and small metal or tooth coloured buttons are added to the teeth. These buttons allow patients to wear rubber bands similar to the rubber bands that are worn with braces.
Treatment is ready to begin when the teeth have been aligned digitally, attachments have been designed, and the rubber band movements have been prescribed by the orthodontist. Aligners are fabricated and there will be varying numbers of aligners based on the amount and difficulty of tooth movement. Delivery of the aligners is simple and the attachments are glued to the tooth using template aligner trays.
The Duration Of The Invisalign Treatment
Each tray is worn for 1-2 weeks as prescribed by your orthodontist. We used to only ask patients to change their trays every two weeks. Changing the trays weekly has allowed us to more efficiently move the teeth and cut down on treatment time. Trays are worn for 20-22 hours per day and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. Tooth movement is tracked every 6-10 weeks and the team at PDG will check your attachments and progress when you visit the office. If an attachment falls off, we will reattach the attachment at this appointment.
When the set of aligners is finished, the position of the teeth will be re-evaluated and remapped to the final tooth position. We can efficiently accomplish this with the intraoral scanners and you can continue to wear your trays as new trays are being made. In very rare cases, a single set of aligners is needed to straighten the teeth. Usually 2-4 sets of aligners are used to align the teeth. Refining the final tooth position is an important part of the process to ensure an amazing result and allows you to work with your orthodontist to achieve the best result for you.
When Invisalign treatment is complete, retainers are worn similar to braces. This means that the retainers may be removable or fixed in behind the teeth. Clear retainers can be used, however, traditional retainers are best to allow the teeth to settle and these retainers last decades. You will never stop wearing a retainer if you want to keep the orthodontic result. The goal is to wear your retainer once to twice a week at night long-term.
Kids, Teens and Adults' Invisalign Results
I hope this helps to explain Invisalign and makes you excited to come in for an evaluation. We treat all ages of patients at PDG Orthodontics. Many parents are very excited to explore treatment at PDG and we are more than happy to explain treatment options for them. We offer a FREE initial consultation so you can have all your questions or concerns about Invisalign/Orthodontics answered before starting the treatment.
We hope to see you soon!