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In the past few years, Invisalign has quickly been gaining popularity in the orthodontic world. Though many people thought it was too good to be true at first, the results of patients who used the process speak for themselves. This method of correcting teeth without using metal braces is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after orthodontic procedures. Here are the answers to all of the questions you may have had about the aligner method.
What Is Invisalign?
This treatment gets its name from the first company that started producing them, but there are actually a few different brands of clear aligners. They all consist of a set of clear trays that snap over the teeth. The trays are shaped to the patient’s individual mouth, and they are very thin and lightweight. Most orthodontists recommend that patients wear them for at least 22 hours each day to get the desired effect. They normally need to be removed before eating or drinking. Over time, these trays help to realign teeth into the preferred positions. Many people prefer them because they are not that visible, and they can be removed for certain occasions.
How Was It Developed?
Two Stanford business students, Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth, were the inventors who started Align Technology in 1997. The company was started under the theory that it ought to be possible to shift teeth by just applying gentle pressure instead of gluing brackets and archwires into a patient’s mouth. They decided to use 3D computer modeling methods to develop a new method for straightening teeth. Though they had trouble gaining funding at first, the team impressed investors by revealing they were wearing aligners at the end of a business meeting. Investors and orthodontists quickly realized the potential behind the idea of an invisible method of straightening teeth, so the business quickly expanded.
What Is it Made of?
Many people say that the aligners are made of clear plastic because the lightweight, smooth material does feel like basic plastic. However, the material is far stronger than the basic plastic that we encounter daily. Aligners are made from a high-grade medical polyurethane. Though the exact recipe is not public knowledge, it is known to be created from biocompatible methylene diphenyl diisocyanate and 1.6-hexanediol. The end result is a strong yet comfortable material.
How Do Aligners Move Teeth?
The aligner process moves teeth through a very gradual process that relies on regularly switching trays. An orthodontist takes a 3D model of a patient’s teeth and then comes up with a treatment plan designed to slowly shift the teeth to a straighter configuration. The aligner trays are made in a manufacturing facility where robotic lasers are used to create a custom set of trays that gradually shift from crooked to straight. Every two weeks or so, the patient will change their tray for a slightly straight tray.
How Do You Take Care of Aligners?
Dental hygiene is important while wearing aligners because you can otherwise stain your teeth or get cavities. You will normally need to remove aligners before eating, drinking sugary or alcoholic beverages, or chewing gum. You should rinse your aligners before placing them back in your teeth, and they can be brushed gently with a soft-bristle tooth brush. Many aligner companies provide cleaning and sanitizing solutions specifically for aligners.
How Long Will You Need to Wear Aligners?
The precise amount of treatment time will vary slightly depending on your case. Generally, a person with an average amount of misalignment is roughly twelve months, and patients normally need a new set of trays every two weeks. However, each individual case requires a unique approach. Some people may need to wear aligners for a longer period or take more time between new trays. If you do not wear your aligners enough each day, it may set back your treatment process.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Aligners?
Like any other orthodontic procedure, you will need to consult with an orthodontist to see if this treatment will work for your specific situation. They can only shift teeth, so they cannot correct overbites or other major jaw issues. Aligners were originally only used for very mild teeth misalignments. However, new advances are making them more effective for severe cases. They can be used to fix crossbites, teeth crowding, and teeth gaps, and are generally recommended for patients 13 and up. Aligners are ideal for patients who want to correct teeth issues without wearing metal orthodontic equipment.
Contact Us to Schedule Your First Orthodontic Appointment
If you live in Minnesota, then you can have an expert examination from a knowledgeable orthodontist at McDermott Orthodontics. Dr. Michael McDermott offers appointments at several facilities, including:
• Baxter – 218-829-1630
• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Pequot Lakes – 218-568-5600
• Delano – 763-972-4444
Dr. McDermott has been caring for adults, teenagers and children for 15 years, making sure to provide customized orthodontic devices that include:
• Invisalign – clear plastic aligners for teenagers and adults
• Braces – ceramic, metal and Damon
• Retainers – worn after orthodontic treatment ends
For patients who want to reduce their treatment time, we recommend using the AcceleDent Aura system at home for 20 minutes each night. Schedule an appointment today.
708 Elm Ave. E.
Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.