Will Invisalign Work to Straighten My Teeth?
Invisalign can fix multiple simple and more complicated orthodontic problems but it may not be the best treatment in every case.
Invisalign plastic aligners are generally effective in addressing issues such as crooked, gapped and crowded teeth, and correcting bite abnormalities – when your upper and lower teeth don’t come together properly.
However, Invisalign applies less pressure than conventional braces, which may be more suitable to treat complex problems – a combination of different issues, for example – and/or when the substantial movement of teeth is necessary.
What Problems Can Invisalign Fix?
Invisalign can typically treat the following problems, depending on severity or complexity:
People who’re self-conscious about showing their smile because of crooked teeth are increasingly turning to the Invisalign alternative to standard braces.
Invisalign straightens your teeth in a series of precisely regulated and timed movements. Only some teeth are gradually moved during each stage of the process, providing far greater control than conventional braces.
Overcrowding of teeth happens through lack of room in the jaw and can cause teeth to overlap and become twisted, increasing the risk of cavities and gum infection. Invisalign can work in some cases of crowded teeth, depending on how serious the problem is.
Excessive spacing between teeth can trap food debris and provide a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease. Unless the problem is severe, Invisalign can close these gaps to create a healthier mouth.
Overbite (Protruding Teeth)
Upper front teeth that overhang the lower teeth can present several problems, including:
- Increased risk of injury.
- Serious jaw problems.
- Impaired facial appearance.
- Difficulty eating.
Invisalign can generally move your teeth so the top and bottom rows align correctly as you close your mouth.
An underbite occurs when the lower teeth project beyond the upper teeth. This can result in:
- Excessive wear on your teeth.
- Speech difficulties.
- Jaw pain.
In all but extreme underbite cases, Invisalign can usually move the lower teeth back so they sit behind the front teeth, sometimes with the help of regular braces.
A crossbite – when some upper teeth bite on the inside of lower teeth – can cause issues such as:
- Chipping and wearing down of teeth.
- Gum recession.
Invisalign can fix crossbite in many cases.
Open bite means the upper and lower teeth don’t come together properly. It can lead to:
- Pain when eating.
- Impaired speech.
- Jaw disorders.
Invisalign can fix an open bite by moving the upper and lower teeth so they close together properly.
Limitations of Invisalign Treatment
In some situations, Invisalign may not work as effectively as standard braces because of the shape or positioning of teeth.
For instance, short teeth or teeth with pronounced tips may not fit properly inside the aligner trays. In other cases, Invisalign may not be able to achieve the desired level of tooth rotation.
Certain previous dental work such as a bridge can also preclude Invisalign treatment, and veneers or crowns may prevent bonding of Invisalign attachments to your teeth. A bad misalignment of the jaw may also need traditional braces to reposition crooked teeth.
The limitations of Invisalign are being constantly reduced, with more difficult cases becoming treatable through advances in technology, which have already made it the most advanced clear aligner system in the world and the most popular removable type of braces.
What’s the Difference Between Invisalign and Standard Braces?
The Invisalign system uses a series of clear plastic trays to straighten teeth. Each aligner should be worn 20 to 22 hours a day for one to two weeks. You can remove your aligners for meals and snacks and to clean your teeth.
Traditional fixed braces move your teeth with metal brackets that have a metal wire threaded through them. They stay in place until treatment has finished, and are particularly effective in correcting severe teeth crowding.
For most patients, the result of Invisalign and braces treatments will be similar.
Advantages of Invisalign
Invisalign has become an increasingly popular alternative to conventional fixed braces because of factors such as:
- Faster, more comfortable treatment.
- Convenience of removability.
- The aligners are virtually invisible.
- Low maintenance.
Advantages of Regular Braces
While Invisalign focuses pressure on part of a tooth, conventional braces exert equal force on the whole tooth, moving it into the correct position from top to bottom, including the root.
Traditional fixed metal braces are the least expensive type of braces and are more comfortable and less conspicuous than in the past.
Other advantages of conventional braces include:
- Advances in technology, such as heat-activated archwires.
- Unlike aligners, there’s no possibility of forgetting to wear your braces.
- Capable of fixing almost any severe orthodontic problem.
Invisalign or Traditional Braces?
As we’ve seen, Invisalign and regular braces both have their pros and cons, so deciding which teeth straightening system is right for you can be difficult.
If you’re looking for generally straighter teeth to enhance your smile, the chances are Invisalign can do the job effectively and up to 50 percent faster than traditional braces.
The best person to advise you whether Invisalign will work to straighten your teeth is an orthodontic specialist with experience in both Invisalign and regular braces.
They’ll be able to tell you which is the best teeth straightening system to give you the outcome you’re looking for while fitting in with your lifestyle.
Your orthodontist will also check any previous dental treatment to make sure Invisalign is right for you.
Both Invisalign and standard braces are designed to straighten your teeth and safeguard your oral health and your smile – improvements in appearance go hand in hand with lessening the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Another point to bear in mind is that any dental restoration work – replacing or repairing damaged teeth – must wait until Invisalign treatment has finished.
Invisalign treatment tends to be slightly more expensive than getting standard braces but both systems are covered by most dental insurance plans.