Invisalign is a revolutionary method of moving teeth utilizing a series of clear aligners. As a result of this treatment, patients gain improved occlusion and better function. Since the teeth alignment gets improved, most patients achieve better hygiene, which contributes to improved gum health.
The principle of this method lies in taking a mold of patient’s teeth and recreating a computerized version from that model. A sequence of clear aligners based on software that shows the entire movement of teeth into their desired positions, are then manufactured by the Invisalign Company utilizing modern technology. The patients are required to wear each aligner for two weeks at a time until the treatment is completed. Patients must wear the aligners for 22 hours a day, only taking them out for eating, which makes the hygiene easy and predictable. They are virtually pain free and not noticeable. The process is supervised by Invisalign trained and certified doctors.
Invisalign benefits anyone who has misaligned teeth. Patients with crowded teeth and uneven spaced teeth are amongst those who benefit most from this treatment. Invisalign can treat a wide range of misaligned teeth. However, every case needs to be carefully examined by the treating doctor to determine if Invisalign is the proper treatment for the patient. Any patient that has misaligned teeth can become a candidate for Invisalign, whether it is an adult or teen.
The idea of Invisalign was originally invented in 1997 by a computer scientist, who completed his traditional braces treatment, and was required to wear clear retainers on a daily basis. While wearing his retainers, he noticed that every time he would stop wearing them, some of his teeth would shift out of alignment. As soon as he would continue to wear them, his teeth would move back into their perfect position. The student then thought, “What if we created a series of those aligners and each one will have a memory of affixing one misaligned tooth or doing certain movements? And what if we can implement a series of those aligners and create proper aligned teeth?” His idea was professionally developed and a revolutionary method of aligning teeth was brought to life. By 2012, two million patients worldwide have been successfully treated with this method. Invisalign firmly confirmed its success and became undoubtedly one of the powerful appliances used in orthodontics.
A choice of appliance is best determined during the patient’s orthodontic examination. The doctor will determine their needs and give them the options of different appliances.
For complicated misalignment cases, major forces need to be applied, so Invisalign may not be the best choice. However, 80% of patients can benefit from Invisalign. During orthodontic consultations our team collects records of the patient and the needs and expectations are discussed.
After Invisalign makes a 3-D model on the computer, we get a movie that allows us to preview how the teeth shift from their original position into a better, or ideal, position. The doctor works with the technician throughout this process before deciding on the best course of treatment for the patient. We want to make sure that all teeth are properly aligned, and the final result is what we want to see in the mouth. Patients are often made part of the design process, which helps them understand what to expect.
The company will then start manufacturing clear aligners. The aligners are an easy fit for both the upper and lower arches of the teeth and go on painlessly. Patients will go home with a couple very detailed instructions on how to wear their aligners, which are nearly undetectable. Additionally, patients have the flexibility to remove them if they have some major social events and do not want anything at all in their mouth. Unlike fixed brackets, which can cause a lot of staining and gum inflammation around the teeth, Invisalign’s removable factor allows the patient to maintain excellent hygiene.
Each aligner comes in a numbered pouch and has to be worn for two weeks. It is recommended that patients come for a follow up visit every six weeks to make sure that the movement is according to the projected movie we have. Doctors will sometimes make certain adjustments depending on the case.
In recent years, the Invisalign company started offering Invisalign Express which is suited for patients who need only slight adjustment. This allows doctors more flexibility in their pricing.
The price difference between traditional braces and Invisalign is minimal or about the same, depending on the doctor. It comes down to individual doctor pricing. Invisalign runs from $4000-$6000, which is based on the average estimate for the Los Angeles area.
Insurance covers Invisalign exactly the same way as it would cover braces. If a patient has coverage for braces, then they should reasonably assume that it will also cover Invisalign.
Invisalign is a great solution for patients to correct their misaligned teeth easily and painlessly. Its application has helped many patients, including those who have had previous orthodontic work done, improve their appearance and is highly recommended.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Gohar Hovsepyan of CyberDent in Van Nuys, CA.