Invisalign For AdultsYou may have heard of the revolutionary teeth straightening system called Invisalign but think it’s just for kids. In fact, Invisalign also provides adults with a highly effective alternative to braces. Invisalign is great for adults because it means you’re never too old to get the smile of your dreams – without lengthy treatment with traditional braces.

Invisalign clear plastic aligners are the most popular removable orthodontic devices and offer many advantages over regular braces. Invisalign provides a high level of convenience and comfort, and the appliances are practically invisible. They are also healthier than standard fixed braces.

An estimated one-quarter of Invisalign users in the U.S. are adults. The American Association of Orthodontics1 (AAO) says the number of people over 18 getting orthodontic treatment more than doubled from 1994 to 2010 to over a million a year. This may largely be due to the introduction of Invisalign in 1999. Crooked teeth don’t just look unsightly; they pose health issues such as tooth enamel erosion and jaw problems. Adults may have misaligned teeth for several reasons, including general wear and tear and facial injuries.

Health Issues of Misaligned Teeth

An abnormal bite caused by crooked teeth increases the likelihood of a build-up of food particles, bacteria, plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums. This can result in cavities and gum disease (periodontitis). The risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease rises as you get older.

Orthodontic issues can also cause Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome, which can result in:

  • Jaw pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Earache.
  • Neck pain.

Why Adults Get Crooked Teeth

Research suggests adults are just as likely to need orthodontic care as children and teens. Several factors can cause adults to find themselves with misaligned teeth.

You’ve never had braces. As a youngster, you may have had orthodontic problems that went untreated, for whatever reason. This can cause your teeth to grow more crooked with time.

You didn’t wear your retainer as instructed. If you had braces as a child, you may not have worn your retainer as directed by your dentist. In these cases, teeth can shift back out of alignment, making further orthodontic care necessary.

Teeth aren’t locked in place. Even if you wore your braces and retainer as instructed during earlier orthodontic treatment, your teeth can still move out of alignment in adulthood. Teeth don’t move much but neither are they locked in position.

Accidents and injuries. Physical trauma resulting from accidents such as traffic collisions and sports mishaps can knock your teeth out of position instantly or cause them to shift later.

Wisdom teeth problems. When wisdom teeth begin to emerge, they can nudge other teeth out of alignment, even if you’ve previously had orthodontic treatment.

Benefits of Invisalign for Adults

The American Dental Association2 (ADA) says straightening misaligned teeth can significantly improve oral health.

Teeth that are abnormally crowded or gapped can cause gum disease – the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. When teeth are positioned correctly, it allows your gums to fit better around them, reinforcing resistance to potential periodontal problems.

Invisalign holds several advantages over traditional braces, including:

Unique customization. Invisalign appliances are custom-made for each patient, with the help of state-of-the-art digital imaging. This unique personalization can solve a broad range of issues, including bite abnormalities that can result in serious jaw disorders.

Appearance and confidence. While regular braces are conspicuous, Invisalign appliances are so discreet they’re virtually unnoticeable. A 2016 survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S. found 80 percent believed orthodontic treatment had significantly boosted their self-confidence.

Comfort. Invisalign devices have smooth edges, which cause less irritation in the mouth. The Invisalign process also embraces 3D computer imaging that avoids old-style, messy impressions.

Convenience. Unlike conventional braces, Invisalign devices can be removed for sports, eating and special occasions. They can also be taken out for brushing and flossing, which avoids oral hygiene issues associated with the brackets and wires of fixed metal braces.

Nutrition. Invisalign appliances, being removable, allow you to maintain a healthy diet. With fixed braces, it can be difficult to eat certain foods.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign aligners3 are made from medical-grade polyurethane resin (clear plastic). They reposition teeth horizontally and vertically, and can even rotate them, in a series of precise movements. Not all teeth are moved at the same time, which provides far greater control than conventional braces.

Each aligner in the Invisalign series is worn 22 hours a day for about two weeks. Each alignment gradually shifts your teeth closer to their proper position. The entire process generally takes about 12 months. Traditional braces may need to be worn for up to two years.

Invisalign can treat both simple and complex orthodontic problems. It features a SmartTrack system for more controlled and predictable realignment of teeth, with results that are easy to see at every stage of the process. Invisalign treatment costs around the same as conventional braces and is covered by many orthodontic insurance plans.

Is Invisalign Right for Me?

Many adults previously balked at orthodontic treatment and the idea of having to wear the awkward metal braces common in their younger days. Invisalign has changed all that, and this ground-breaking orthodontic treatment has proven to be a hugely popular choice for adults seeking the smile they’ve always wanted.

Compared with traditional fixed braces, Invisalign makes it far easier to get on with your everyday life, in comfort, and with confidence. Invisalign can restore your smile while playing a key role in addressing the many health issues that misaligned teeth can cause.

If you’re considering Invisalign treatment, see an orthodontic specialist who is an accredited Invisalign provider with experience in treating adults4. They can help you to make an informed decision about whether Invisalign is the best course of orthodontic treatment for you.

If you decide that Invisalign is great for adults like you, your dentist will be able to guide you through the entire process and produce a customized treatment plan to rejuvenate your smile – and your dental health.