Invisalign® ‘Invisible Braces’
What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® ‘Clear Braces’ straighten teeth using custom-made aligners like transparent gumshields, rather than metal braces. They fit perfectly over your teeth and most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them, unless you tell them! You can talk, smile and socialise as normal, but still have all the benefits of a fixed brace.
Is Invisalign® for me?
Whether your smile needs minor improvements or more extensive adjustments, Invisalign® can help. It can successfully treat overly crowded teeth at one extreme or widely spaced teeth at the other.
It can also relieve more complex issues, including overbites, underbites and even crossbites. In fact, an Invisalign certified dentist can use Invisalign in all or just part of any treatment plan. For cases of minor crowding of the front four teeth only, the Inman™ ‘Speed Brace’ is another alternative. Please see our teeth straightening page for further details.
How does Invisalign® work?
Invisalign® works in the same way as a traditional brace, applying constant, precise pressure on each tooth to produce the desired movement. You must wear the aligners throughout the day and night, only removing them for eating and cleaning. Every two weeks, you switch to a new set of aligners, which has a shape closer to the end goal.
Who does Invisalign® work best on?
Two main types of patients:
- Those who’ve had train-tracks in the past and whose teeth have moved back through not wearing a retainer
- Patients with minor crowding in both arches and for patients over the age of 16.
What happens first?
Following a thorough consultation to understand your expectations and assess your suitability, photos and impressions are taken and a clinical analysis made. The aligners are not made straight away, however. Instead, you come back 2-3 weeks later to see a virtual, 3D simulation of the planned tooth movements and treatment time.
So, you get a chance to see the likely finished effect before starting treatment. Once you’re happy, each set of aligners is then manufactured for your specific teeth.
What happens during treatment?
There needs to be consistent supervision, particularly in the early days. We prefer to see patients at least every four weeks to begin with. To allow teeth to align, small adjustments may need to be made to create space between certain teeth.
What about results?
You’re likely to see a visible difference within the first two weeks. However, teeth will move back if the aligners aren’t used as directed. As with some fixed braces, you may have to wear a retainer at night at the end of the treatment plan, as otherwise teeth can move back. See the results for yourself in our Cosmetic Dentistry Before & After Gallery.
How long will it take?
Generally it should take less than a year. It depends on the amount of movement required, but treatment times are usually from about 28 weeks, although they can be as little as 12 weeks.
Are there any other benefits?
Invisalign® is a conservative treatment and does not usually require teeth to be removed, as can be the case with fixed braces. It can also cut down on the number of veneers needed to align teeth. In fact, after treatment, you may not need any at all.
As you can take aligners out means it’s much easier to clean your teeth with than a fixed brace. It also means you can remove them, if you wish, for a special occasion or meeting.
An added benefit is that the aligners can often be used, under supervision, as whitening trays for home whitening, so please ask if this may be of interest to you.
Are there any limitations or downsides?
Invisalign® is not suited to cases of heavy crowding. Also, the aligners can take a couple of days to get used to initially and speech can be a little affected for the first couple of days – but then things tend to settle back to normal. It may be necessary to extend the course if some teeth are reluctant to move.
How much does Invisalign® cost?
Please refer to our Price List for costs.
Please visit the Invisalign® website for further details, and to see Invisalign Braces in action.