Invisalign has become a popular alternative treatment to conventional metal braces for a few reasons. The main draw to this treatment is that instead of wires and brackets, Invisalign uses a series of hard plastic aligners to gradually move your teeth into the correct position. But does Invisalign work?
Invisalign works in most cases, but its ability to offer the same treatment as metal braces will not be the same for everyone. In this article, we break down the mechanism of Invisalign to help you decide whether this treatment is a viable alternative to braces for you or your child.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What is Invisalign?
Invented in 1998 by college students, Invisalign uses a series of progressively tighter plastic aligners to move your teeth. Though its effects are similar to braces, rather than a tightened archwire connected between brackets, Invisalign uses a new aligner once every two weeks to incrementally correct the patient’s teeth.
The thermoplastic is called “SmartTrack.” Its main draw is that, unlike normal braces, Invisalign is mostly invisible. When properly cared for (see below), Invisalign aligners allow you to be treated for many of the same conditions as braces without the inconvenience of having a visible metal appliance.
What Conditions Does Invisalign Treat and Does it Work?
Invisalign treats many of the same conditions as metal braces, including most mild malocclusions. These include mild to moderate crowding or spacing issues and bite problems such as open bite, underbite, overbite, and crossbite.
The clear plastic aligners are strong, but they can’t apply as much force to a person’s arches as traditional metal braces. This means that while Invisalign can treat many of the same conditions, it cannot treat them all at the same severity that braces can.
Advantages of Choosing Invisalign
Invisalign comes with several advantages over braces, the biggest of which is the ability to hide your treatment. Whether you lack confidence in school or hold a professional job that requires person-to-person contact, you may not want to have conspicuous metal braces in your mouth.
Invisalign solves this with its clear plastic aligners, which can even be removed to eat and play sports, another convenience that it has over metal braces.
Disadvantages of Choosing Invisalign
As mentioned, Invisalign may not be able to treat some oral health issues, such as a severe overbite. But beyond that, Invisalign can also be more expensive than braces, with a minimum cost of around $3,000. The high end of the price can only be determined by your orthodontist based on your needs.
Invisalign is also a self-directed treatment, which may not work for all users. You must wear your appliance for 22-24 hours per day or face potentially costly delays in treatment. Invisalign aligners can also be lost, leading to potentially expensive replacement costs.
Invisalign is also not always covered by insurance policies in the same amount as metal braces. Speak with your insurer to learn more about your coverage options for various treatments.
Caring for Invisalign
Unlike braces, Invisalign aligners can be removed and cleaned. You should get in the habit of doing this 1-2 times per day, preferably whenever you brush and floss. A soft-bristled toothbrush and warm water can be enough to remove the daily saliva and bacteria buildup.
However, if you let your appliance get too dirty, bacteria can accumulate, leading to a foul taste or even a misshapen, ineffective appliance. If you’re not careful, your invisible appliance could even become visible due to this buildup.
In that case, you may want to soak your aligner using warm water and Invisalign cleaning crystals or non-colored, non-scented anti-bacterial soap.
Alternatives to Invisalign
Since Invisalign can be expensive and can’t treat every oral health issue, you may need to consider alternatives. Lingual braces, which are attached to the back of the teeth, can offer the treatment of metal braces without the visibility. Ceramic braces are another near-invisible treatment option in the form of braces made from clear ceramic material.
Speak with your orthodontist about your financial situation and treatment needs to see if Invisalign is a viable treatment option.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.