Does Invisalign Work?
When most people hear what Invisalign promises, they are somethings slow to believe that it can actually deliver. Straighter teeth without pain or any metal bracket or wires?
Because Invisalign is relatively new, most people grew up either wearing those metal braces or seeing their friend wear the metal braces. Because of how much time and effort is put into the entire braces process, it can be difficult to believe that a few plastic trays can straighten teeth just as effectively. When it comes to answering the question, “Does Invisalign work?” there are a few factors that have to be taken into consideration.
Does Invisalign Work?
One of the most common stipulations about Invisalign is that the aligners only work for very minor issues. The truth is, however, that Invisalign can correct most of the minor, moderate, and even some of the severe issues that a set of metal braces can correct. Most of the more severe orthodontic problems aren’t actually solved by the braces themselves, but by other applications like spacers, expanders, or the dreaded headgear. Crowding, gaps, and even turned teeth can be corrected with Invisalign, often just as well as these issues can be corrected with brackets and wire.
There are now far more issues that can be addressed with Invisalign than when the aligners were first introduced. In the beginning, the aligners really were only able to treat a few problems, while most serious problems required more traditional treatments. Now, with attachments, movements, buttons, and even elastics, all of which can be applied to the aligner, orthodontists have many more options.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Unlike with traditional braces that use a wire to push or pull teeth into the most optimal alignment, Invisalign uses a series of plastic aligners to push the teeth into a better alignment. Another stipulation many orthodontists make while advising their patients about the difference between Invisalign and a more traditional treatment is that Invisalign usually takes longer than metal braces. Why? Because plastic just isn’t as strong as metal and the aligner system naturally progresses at a slower rate than metal braces.
This does actually have a number of positive benefits, however, including the fact that patients who choose Invisalign experience less discomfort than patients that choose braces. If the teeth are being pushed and pulled less, they will be less sore.
The aligners system itself provides a number of benefits, including the ability to take them out to brush teeth, eat, and to clean the trays themselves. They are also virtually invisible (hence the name), which can eliminate the self-consciousness a person wearing metal braces might feel about smiling or speaking. This is especially true of Invisalign teen systems, as teenagers often struggle with the hassle of wearing braces. Removing your braces just isn’t possible with traditional treatments, and the braces themselves can make it more difficult for the wearer to clean his teeth. Of course, using the right technique and even the special brushes provided to you by your dentist, can make keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces fairly easy.
Why Would Invisalign Fail?
One of the major downfalls of Invisalign is that it requires a very high level of patient compliance. Because a patient can take the trays out whenever they want, some patients forget to wear them or choose not to wear them for hours every day. Invisalign is most effective when it is worn for more than twenty-three hours every day. Patients that wear their aligners for twenty-two or fewer hours every day will not only see slower results, they may see no results at all. Enough time out of the trays during the day can undo any of the moving or shifting that the teeth have done while the aligners are worn.
Even people who have graduated from metal braces to plastic retainers will tell you that sometimes their retainers feel tight and uncomfortable when they put them on at the end of the day. That is because in less than twenty-four hours, the teeth have begun to shift back to their former positions, even years after the metal braces have been removed and the patient has been faithful about wearing his retainer.
If a person does not wear the Invisalign aligners for the vast majority of their day, they will begin to see slower and slower, and then no results at all. Aligners should only be taken out to eat and to brush and floss the teeth. Patients who have a hard time complying with this rule might be better off choosing metal braces, which cannot be taken out—though those patients usually do also have trouble complying with dietary restrictions and a cleaning routine. A better plan of action is to become the sort of patient who does comply with the rules given to you by your orthodontist.
Invisalign vs. Metal Braces: Which Works Better?
If your orthodontist believes that either Invisalign or metal braces will solve your alignment issues, picking a system will probably come down to how willing you are to comply with the rules of Invisalign. The treatments are close in price, and while braces may solve some problems faster than Invisalign will, the promise of less discomfort and the ability to remove the trays for cleaning and eating is very attractive to most patients and usually makes up for any slight discrepancies there may be in price.