What to Know about Invisalign Aligners and Their Effectiveness

4 mn read

Clear aligners are now a popular teeth-straightening option, with more people opting for aligners instead of braces. Over the past ten years, different brands of clear aligners have become available, but the oldest and arguably the best clear aligners are Invisalign.

Align Technology first introduced Invisalign aligners in 1998, and since then, more aligner brands like Clear Correct, Spark and uLab have become available.

As you read on, you would know the dental conditions Invisalign can correct, its effectiveness, pros and cons.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a brand name for clear, thin aligners used for correcting orthodontic issues. Invisalign clear aligners aim to make orthodontic treatment less obvious. Although the aligners are not entirely invisible, they fit tightly on the teeth and are less noticeable than the wire and brackets of traditional braces.

What dental issues can Invisalign correct?

Invisalign can correct different orthodontic issues, including teeth spacing, crowding issues, and moderate and mild bite problems.

Invisalign corrects the following;

  • Crowded teeth
  • Open bite
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Underbite
  • Gap teeth

Invisalign may also correct other orthodontic issues, but the evidence is limited to support this. A study in 2017 showed that Invisalign could align arches but unsuitable for correcting severe bite issues.

What does Invisalign treatment involve?

To get Invisalign, you need to visit an orthodontist to create a 3D image of your jaw and mouth. The image will help in making your treatment plan. Your orthodontist will use the treatment plan to create a series of custom-made plastic aligners.

The aligners will apply subtle pressure on your teeth to gradually move them to the correct positions. Depending on your condition, your orthodontist will advise you to switch to new sets of aligners every one or two weeks. You have to wear the aligners for about 20 – 22 hours daily during the treatment.

How effective are Invisalign aligners?

Although some people have had a good experience using Invisalign, sufficient evidence is not available to determine the effectiveness of these aligners.

A review in 2015 of people using Invisalign showed that its effectiveness is limited. All studies carried out have been with a small number of people, and most did not include a control group for comparison.

However, available evidence shows that Invisalign is more effective than other clear aligner types. The newer versions produced from 2010 are more effective as they exert more pressure to shift the teeth gradually.

What affects Invisalign’s effectiveness?

Invisalign is more effective when worn for up to 20 – 22 hours every day. You should only remove your aligners in the following situations;

  • When drinking anything besides water and eating
  • Cleaning the aligners
  • Flossing or brushing

Cleaning your aligner is essential, but you have to be careful while cleaning them. Using hot water to clean your aligners can distort their shape, affecting how they fit and the effectiveness of the aligners.

The complexity of your orthodontic condition also affects the effectiveness of the aligners as it takes longer for Invisalign to correct complex orthodontic issues. A study of 30 persons showed that the wearer’s age affected tooth movement, so age and sex may also be factors affecting the effectiveness of Invisalign treatment.

This study also showed that the rate of teeth movement increases slightly in people between 35 – 50 years, meaning Invisalign may be more effective for people in this age group. The study showed that teeth movement in women between 50 – 70 years did not reduce compared to men in the same age bracket.

Invisalign Pros and cons

To determine whether Invisalign is right for you or not, you need to know its pros and cons.

Pros of Invisalign

  • Aesthetics

Invisalign is usually a suitable option for people who are concerned about their appearance during orthodontic treatment. The aligners are less noticeable than braces.

  • Removable

You can take out your aligners during the treatment, when necessary.

  • Ease of cleaning the teeth

Since you can take out your aligners, cleaning your teeth will be easy. You don’t have to work your way around brackets and wires to floss or brush your teeth. You also have a reduced risk of periodontal disease because aligners reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.

  • Fewer potential problems

Unlike traditional braces, you won’t deal with wires or brackets breaking off, requiring an emergency visit to the dental clinic.

Cons of Invisalign

  • Less effective for complex cases

Although research is limited, it suggests that Invisalign is more suitable for people who need slight teeth movement. If you have a complex orthodontic issue, your orthodontist may suggest other treatment options. Invisalign may also be unsuitable for people who have bridgework on some teeth.

  • Requires discipline

To get your desired result, you need to wear the aligners for about 20 – 22 hours daily. If you think you can’t wear the aligners as recommended, Invisalign may not be the best teeth-straightening option for you.

  • Removal when drinking or eating

Before you eat or drink anything asides from water, you need to remove your aligners. This prevents drinks and foods from getting stuck in your aligners. If food or drinks accumulate on your aligners, bacteria can breed on your gumline or teeth, leading to cavities.  The food and drinks may also stain the aligner, making them more obvious.

  • Food limitations

When you take out the aligners, your teeth may feel sore, preventing you from eating certain foods, especially hard foods.

What is the cost of Invisalign?

The cost of Invisalign is similar to that of traditional braces, ranging from £2500 – £3500. The cost of Invisalign treatment usually varies, depending on several factors such as duration of treatment, location, and complexity of the orthodontic issue.

Most dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of Invisalign treatment, so you have to check your insurance provider before your treatment. However, there are several payment options and plans for Invisalign treatment.

Your orthodontist may offer you a suitable interest-free payment plan, so ask the practice for the payment plans they offer before your treatment.

Is Invisalign suitable for you?

If you have an orthodontic issue and considering Invisalign, asking yourself the following questions can help you determine if Invisalign is the right option for you.

  • Will I wear my aligners for the recommended number of hours daily?
  • Can I afford the aligners?
  • Is my bite issue or misalignment mild?
  • Do I feel self-conscious about wearing traditional braces?
  • Will I care for the aligners properly?

If you have a teenager who wants Invisalign to straighten their teeth, assess whether the person will wear and care for the aligners. If your child always loses things, Invisalign may not be the right option because it is easy to remove the aligners and misplace them.

Takeaway

Invisalign is suitable for different issues like bite problems, spacing and crowding issues. It may be a suitable orthodontic treatment for you if your orthodontic issue is not a complex one. Consulting your dentist or orthodontist can help determine whether Invisalign is right or not for your orthodontic issue after a dental examination.

If you want a less obvious treatment for your orthodontic issues, visit this site to book a free consultation for Invisalign in London.

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