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Provided that you haven’t been in hibernation for the last 20 years, you’ll no doubt have heard about Invisalign. This revolutionary treatment has transformed how we feel about obtaining a straighter, healthier smile. But without the brackets and wires of traditional orthodontic treatment, how does Invisalign work?
Let’s take a closer look.
The science behind Invisalign treatment
While traditional fixed braces incorporate brackets and wires to straighten teeth, Invisalign utilises a series of custom clear plastic aligners known as trays shaped to fit your teeth.
Each aligner is slightly modified from the previous aligner to apply just the right amount of controlled force to move the teeth (typically just 1/10 of a millimetre).
When that aligner has done its job, it’s discarded, and the subsequent aligner takes over. Clear aligners are changed every 1-2 weeks until your teeth are in perfect alignment.
So far, so good, but how does Invisalign work in conjunction with the body. In other words, how does the body know to move teeth?
To answer this question, we need to get a little technical. According to Newton’s third law of physics – every action initiates an equal and opposite reaction.
When force is applied, the bone tissue within the supporting jaw breaks down to allow the tooth to move. This action is known as osteoclastic activity. Once the tooth has shifted from its original position, the backspace is refilled with new bone tissue – Osteoblastic activity.
It’s the action and reaction of osteoclastic and osteoblastic activity that helps to shift and straighten teeth.
So how long does this process take?
The timeframe surrounding osteoclastic activity takes between 48 and 72 hours to initiate but only 4 hours to stop and explains why clear aligners need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day to ensure treatment remains on schedule.
Timing also explains why most tooth movement occurs within the first few days of wearing a new aligner.
So that’s the science bit, but how does Invisalign work for a standard case?
Invisalign treatment involves designing bespoke clear aligners developed using computer-generated impressions taken directly from your mouth. In fact, with the help of clever 3D imaging technology, individuals can see precisely how their smiles will look before they undergo treatment, so there are no surprises with Invisalign.
Once the Invisalign trays are made, your dentist will give you instructions on when to change your clear aligners. Then it’s just a case of swapping them out regularly for a straighter, healthier smile.
Timescales to complete the process can vary depending upon the complexity of the condition, but on average, Invisalign takes 12-18 months.
What about the advantages of Invisalign clear aligners?
The biggest advantage is that treatment is discreet. Unlike conventional fixed metal braces, most people won’t even know you’re wearing them.
The other advantage is they are removed from the mouth when eating, so there is no need for food restrictions often associated with traditional orthodontic treatment.
Also, maintaining the teeth and gums is easy because there are no brackets and wires to trap food particles.
Finally, and to a certain extent, you remain in control of when and where you wear them.
So now you know the answer to the question, ‘how does Invisalign work?’, you may want to give it a go. If so, contact the team at Smile First Dental in Northmead. We are experienced Invisalign dentists who can set you on the right track towards a healthy, straighter confidence-boosting smile.
Call us on (02) 9000 1138 or go online and request an Invisalign consultation with our dental team.