Invisalign® – Are Clear Aligners Right for You?

What is Invisalign®?

Along with a variety of other orthodontic solutions, our office has prescribed Invisalign clear aligners for many years. Invisalign is a product of Align Technology, a U.S. company with its lab and laboratory technicians in Costa Rica. Align Tech makes clear aligners that apply forces on teeth per an orthodontist’s instructions and treatment plan. As with any technology or product, effectiveness is directly related to the orthodontic expert directing the plan.

How well do Invisalign and similar products work?

By now you may have heard about straightening teeth with clear aligners, and in particular, the Invisalign system. You may have already discussed it with me at my office. To its credit, Invisalign has done an excellent job of marketing its product. So what are the advantages? Are there any disadvantages? And what type of patient will respond favorably to the use of this type of “invisible” treatment?

Because a patient can remove a clear aligner, it allows him/her to eat a wider variety of foods than traditional braces. Of course, brushing and flossing is easier for the same reason. Some patients find the clear aligners more comfortable, and many consider them more attractive.

But not all patients benefit from clear aligners. Some situations require a more traditional approach. A recent study measured the efficiency and effectiveness of these clear aligners by reviewing the results of patients treated with Invisalign at the University of Illinois. Virtual 3-D models of the patients’ teeth were superimposed to allow measurement of the correction that was obtained using Invisalign. This provided a unique and precise way of measuring the accuracy of tooth movement. The study found that the most accurate correction was achieved when moving front teeth back (that stuck out too far), while the least accurate type of correction was extrusion (moving the upper teeth down toward the lower jaw or moving lower teeth up toward the upper jaw, in order to allow the teeth to reach contact). The accuracy of a third type of correction that we seek – rotating, or turning, the canine teeth – was significantly less than that of all other teeth, with the exception of the maxillary lateral incisors (the teeth adjacent to the two front teeth).

Clear Aligners versus Traditional Braces?

We know that clear aligners can move teeth into straighter positions, but not always as accurately as other appliances and techniques. In addition, using clear aligners requires orthodontists to carefully select only certain patients to treat with this orthodontic product in order to achieve a predictable result. People with well-aligned jaws and less severe teeth alignment problems are the best candidates for Invisalign and similar products.

When an individual has a more complex tooth and jaw relationship, techniques other than clear aligners may be needed to achieve a proper bite and a beautiful smile — which is always the goal of every orthodontist. Only orthodontists receive the American Association of Orthodontics accreditation, including 2-3 years of additional post-dental school training, that allows us to specialize in the correction of misaligned teeth and jaws, no matter how mild or severe the case may be.

Invisalign at Our Orange County Office

We have used Invisalign since its introduction over 10 years ago – we have enjoyed excellent success, and many happy patients. If you are interested in orthodontic treatment and are wondering if Invisalign or any other treatment modality is right for you, contact our office. As board-certified orthodontists, we will review with you all of your orthodontic treatment options and help match your goals and needs with the best, safest, most comfortable and effective treatments available.

To help you determine whether Invisalign will improve your smile, call us at (949) 831-5500, or send us an email, for a complimentary consultation at our office.

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