We all want to have great looking teeth, but the truth is that plenty of us are far from confident of our smiles. Unfortunately, we’re not all blessed with perfectly aligned pearly whites. It’s not just genetics that is to blame. Lack of oral care, childhood habits, and misuse can all take their toll on our teeth.
The Long Term Effects of Crooked Teeth
The problem is that the unaligned, crooked or unevenly spaced teeth that result can seriously affect our health and wellbeing. First and foremost, a crooked smile can be hugely damaging to our self-esteem and overall happiness. Those of us who are self-conscious about our smiles are likely to smile less. This can increase our stress levels, reduce our happiness further and be pretty socially and psychologically damaging. On top of this, crooked teeth can be harder to clean which can lead to gum disease, bad breath and more.
More often than not, professional intervention from an orthodontic trained dentist is needed to correct teeth and jaw misalignments. Fortunately, there are several orthodontic options available to treat the problem and straighten those smiles. The traditional solution is wire braces; however, they can cause irritation, limit diet and require regular maintenance.
More than this, the typical image of a set of train tracks is often not the most aesthetically pleasing. There is a growing trend in Sydney, more and more adults, as well as young people, are open to teeth straightening devices to help turn their lives around. Thankfully there are now alternatives to traditional braces that use smart modern technology to help keep you smiling while your smile is straightened.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a modern type of orthodontic treatment that is able to straighten teeth without using traditional metal braces and wires. Invisalign is a leading treatment in Sydney offering a comfortable, removable and almost invisible alternative to braces.
The procedure involves wearing a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that snap into place over the teeth. The aligners are interchanged approximately every one to two weeks for a period of six to eighteen months.
In the same way that a dental retainer keeps teeth from shifting out of place, the aligner works to gradually move teeth into the correct position. The aligner is clear, almost invisible, and is generated from a mould of each patient’s teeth; making each aligner entirely unique. Made from clear, smooth and durable plastic the aligner offers a refreshing change from traditional treatments.
The Advantages of Invisalign Over Braces
Invisalign is a worthy alternative to conventional braces. As with any medical treatment, the best way to assess the best option is to consult with a dentist. However, Invisalign does offer several advantages:
The aligners can be easily removed enabling patients to floss, eat and drink as normal. The treatment involves only minor life changes compared to cumbersome metal braces that are prone to damage when eating certain foods. This also makes them a great option for patients who have difficulty with oral hygiene. Traditional metal braces reduce the ability to gain access to the full gum and tooth area, being able to remove aligners completely resolves this issue.
Due to their nearly invisible nature, the aligners have less of a social impact and are less embarrassing to wear. Unlike metal braces, they don’t take away from the natural look of a patient’s smile. The aligners easily blend in with surrounding teeth, making them almost unnoticeable and treatment much more anonymous. It’s worth noting, however, that it is now possible to pay extra for enamel or coloured metal braces, which can make them more aesthetically pleasing.
The aligners’ plastic material is gentle on cheeks and gums in comparison to metal braces that contain sharp edges and can scrap or cut the inside of the mouth. This is especially relevant for patients with extra sensitive palates that can’t withstand contact with metallic objects.
Faster Treatment Times
The average treatment time for Invisalign is shorter than for traditional braces. Treatment lasts from six to eighteen months depending on patient needs whereas metal braces tend to be worn for an average of two years. With the possibility to now change aligners weekly, it’s possible for patients to complete treatment in as little as three months.
The Disadvantages of Invisalign
In spite of the clear advantages, there are a couple of disadvantages of Invisalign, which certainly need to be taken into account before deciding on the best treatment:
As patients have the ability to take the aligners out, Invisalign treatment requires a lot more compliance than traditional braces. The aligners should only be removed when eating and for cleaning teeth, if they are left out for long periods of time the treatment will either take a lot longer or will not be effective.
Limited Use Cases
Unfortunately, Invisalign doesn’t currently solve all of the problems that metal braces do, and in severe cases, traditional braces may be the better option. For example, if a patient needs their entire arch widened, a metal bridge is the most effective way to achieve it.
The aligners must be removed before eating or drinking anything but water. On top of this, teeth also need to be brushed after eating to avoid staining. Patients will need to adjust how much coffee and red wine they consume, those who are unable to do so will need to remove the aligners too often. The same goes for smokers who risk staining their aligners, making them much more visible.
Traditional braces tend to be a little less expensive than Invisalign. However, the price does overlap with that of metal braces, so it comes down to the complexity of treatment required. Also, it’s worth noting that the Invisalign treatment is often covered by insurance companies which increases its viability as a competitively priced option.
As with all braces, your treatment isn’t over once you’ve worn your full set of aligners. Once the force is removed from your teeth, they tend to want to move back to where they were. Teeth aren’t frozen in place, the alveolar bone regenerates, periodontal ligaments sink back into place and bite naturally changes with age. The solution to this is the retention phase of orthodontic treatment.
The dentist makes a final scan of the patient’s teeth from which a retainer is developed to give the perfect fit. Patients will need to wear a retainer to hold the teeth in the desired position and minimize changes.
Generally, retainers are required full time for a short while and then only while sleeping after that. However, patients will need to wear a retainer at night time for the rest of their lives. It’s also vital for patients to continue with good oral hygiene, to clean their retainer accordingly and to make regular appointments with their dentist.
The Invisalign Technology: The Reason Invisalign is so Good
Invisalign is the world’s most advanced clear aligner and, with twenty years of research behind it, uses some pretty impressive technology. Research has involved over 900 patients, using the world’s largest 3D printing operation and analyzing data from 5.5 million smiles. The result is an industry-leading treatment that continually improves every aspect of its service, making Invisalign a top-selling treatment in Sydney and throughout Australia.
Aligners Are Made From SmartTrack Material
Invisalign uses Stereolithography 3D printers to make its advanced, medical-grade polymer aligners. Made from specially engineered SmartTrack material, the aligners are highly elastic and able to deliver gentle yet constant force to control tooth movements.
The flexible material adapts more accurately to tooth morphology, attachments and interproximal spaces, which makes for not only better movement but a more comfortable fit. The addition of SmartForce attachments, small pieces of enamel-coloured composite that are attached to the teeth, help the aligner grip to teeth more accurately and apply force in the right direction.
The Digital Imaging
The innovative iTero scanner enables doctors to create a 3D image of a patient’s teeth in just minutes. The scanner takes 6,000 images per second and allows each patient to see a high-resolution, interactive image of their teeth. The leading digital scanner is incredibly accurate, resulting in fewer redos and a better aligner fit. As well as creating 3D images, the technology includes an outcome simulator which can help patients visualize their treatment outcome. Regular scans, every four to six weeks, enable progress to be tracked and scans to be compared to treatment plans, ensuring everything is on track.
ClinCheck software allows doctors to map out every step of their patients’ treatment. There is no guesswork involved; a 3D visual interface allows for customized treatment while algorithms help calculate the optimum amount of force for every tooth movement. With the power of data from five million smiles, ClinCheck is able to ensure every tooth moves in the right way at the right time.
The clever technology behind the Invisalign method allows patients to have personalized treatment plans that outline every step in the journey towards their perfect smile. Advanced digital dentistry has replaced manual processes with fast 3D imaging and 3D printing. Highly innovative materials keep emerging, allowing Invisalign to surpass their already high-standards and to create more and more functional and biocompatible parts. With the continual digital transformation of the dentistry industry, metal braces look set to be a thing of the past.
Ready to find out if Invisalign is right for you? Call us on (02) 9567 4151 to schedule your FREE 30-minute Assessment with Bexley Dental. Alternatively, visit our Bexley Dental Invisalign webpage for more details.