How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign at Burch Dental in Rockford Illinois is a nearly invisible appliance that gradually aligns teeth that are crooked or otherwise improperly placed, just like conventional braces. These clear plastic aligning trays are removable and fit snugly over the teeth. Made of BPA-free plastic that softens when heated and solidifies when cooled, Invisalign aligning trays are based on a 3-D model of each patient’s mouth, providing a custom fit. Each custom tray is replaced on a set schedule, usually every few weeks. The trays are each progressively closer to the ideal alignment and apply steady yet gentle force on the teeth to slowly shift them into the optimal position. While this pressure is usually uncomfortable, it doesn’t tend to be painful, and it can be reassuring to know the aligners are working as they should.
In order for Invisalign aligners to work, they need to remain in the mouth for at least 20 hours at a time. It’s imperative to remove the aligning trays for eating and drinking, and they should also be removed for cleaning, of both the aligning tray and the teeth and gums. Cleaning the teeth during an invisalign treatment is exponentially easier than cleaning the teeth while wearing braces, and Invisalign treatment also doesn’t last as long as conventional braces. Some severe alignment issues can only be treated with conventional braces, which allow the orthodontist to precisely control the application and extent of force on the teeth throughout treatment. In some cases, where the misalignment is severe but can still be corrected with Invisalign, Invisalign treatment could take as long as 18 months to two years, but the average treatment time for Invisalign that is correcting mild dental alignment problems can be under a year. The patient’s behavior also affects the duration of Invisalign treatment; when aligners are worn for less time per day, overall treatment takes longer.
Following Invisalign treatment, most patients will be required to wear a retainer while they sleep; in many cases, this retainer can be introduced for nighttime use while the Invisalign trays are still used during the day. Patients who straighten their teeth with Invisalign aligners tend to have better gum health than patients with conventional braces, due to the increased ease of cleaning the teeth and gums with removable appliances like Invisalign. The invisalign trays themselves should be cleaned regularly by soaking them in a specialized cleaning solution and brushing them regularly. While removable aligners like Invisalign can help people eat a wider variety of foods, since they don’t have to navigate the brackets and wires that make up conventional braces, avoiding sugary and starchy foods can help prevent gum disease and keep the bones in the jaw healthy while they help the teeth relocate.
Invisalign treatment varies in cost depending on the duration of the treatment and the clinical complexity of the misalignment, but in most cases, Invisalign costs about the same as traditional braces. The average cost of Invisalign treatment is in the $5,000 range, though simpler treatments don’t cost as much. In many cases, dental insurance will cover at least a portion of Invisalign treatment. Invisalign could be a good choice for people who want to correct gaps in the teeth, bite problems, and crowding in the teeth. Historically, more complex alignment conditions may have required conventional braces, but as new technologies and techniques are developed, Invisalign becomes more and more able to create the same effects as braces.