Invisalign® is an exciting new alternative to traditional orthodontics that has changed the way that we think about moving teeth. Beginning in 2002, my practice was one of the very first non-orthodontist offices to provide orthodontic treatment with Invisalign® in Portland. We have seen Invisalign® go through several innovations and improvements over the years and after successfully treating dozens and dozens of patients, we have the advantage of being one of the most experienced Invisalign® practices in Portland.
Whereas traditional braces use metal brackets and wires bonded to the teeth, Invisalign® is comprised of a series of custom fabricated clear plastic aligning “trays” that snap down over your teeth. While the metal brackets and wires remain fixed in place for the duration of the treatment, the plastic aligners are removable. The advantages of being able to take your braces off go without saying. The minimum requirement is that you wear the aligners for an average of twenty two hours per day. You can take them off to eat and drink, or leave them at home if you just have a big date or a photograph you don’t want them to be seen in. Each aligning tray in the series is worn for two weeks.
Another advantage of Invisalign® is that unlike treatment times of 20 to 24 months with traditional braces, average treatment lasts only 6 to 14 months. Like all orthodontic tooth movement, there is a required retention phase after the treatment is completed to prevent the teeth from moving back to their starting position.
Another one of the exciting advantages of Invisalign® is that we can see what the final position of the teeth is going to look like before we place the first aligning tray in the mouth. The way this works is that when a patient begins treatment, we take molds and photographs of their top and bottom teeth which get scanned into a computer to generate a 3D cyber model of their teeth. After the patients teeth are in the computer we can manipulate the positions of the teeth until we achieve the desired alignment and appearance of the smile. We can then review the final smile with the patient to be sure that the final esthetics will satisfy their expectations.
If revisions need to be made, we can provide instructions to Align Inc. and review the proposed smile with the patient again as many times as we need. After we agree on the final positions of the teeth, it takes about three weeks for the aligners to be fabricates and delivered to the patient. We provide six weeks worth of aligners, or three pairs, at a time to patients and meet together for about ten minutes every month and a half to dispense the next set of trays.