The only way to straighten misaligned teeth is to wear braces for an extended length of time, and that can be a problem for some people. Having bulky, metal brackets and wires in your mouth can be unattractive and uncomfortable, and also make it difficult to brush and floss correctly. Invisalign has changed dental treatment radically. Invisalign is not like traditional metal braces, treatment is through a series of aligners that look a bit like a teeth whitening tray, or a slimline mouthguard and fit snugly over your teeth. They are almost invisible and are easily removed, and may be the ideal solution for patients who require dental braces, but don’t want the difficulties associated with wearing traditional metal braces.
Back in 1945, orthodontists found that aligners similar to modern dental aligners could successfully reposition teeth. Unfortunately a fresh mould of the patient’s teeth needed to be completed each time a new aligner was needed, and this proved impractical, and far too costly to be a mainstream option.
Zia Chishti had suffered through wearing metal braces as an adult so when the computer age arrived, he was ready to take look at producing clear dental aligners in a more cost-effective manner. By combining computer generated three-dimensional images with conventional dental x-rays and photography, Chishti and his business partner Kelsy Wirth created the modern dental Invisalign aligner system.
Although the business partners didn't have any formal training in dentistry they used their extensive knowledge of computers to develop their design and founded the company, Align Technology, in 1997. Three years later, the first Invisalign dental aligners were made available to orthodontic patients.
Invisalign aligners work the same way as traditional metal braces, but without the stainless steel brackets and wires. Each clear tray is less than a millimetre thick, and uses gentle pressure to slowly move your teeth. Typically, each aligner is worn for around two weeks before being discarded, and replaced with a new, slightly different tray, in a custom made sequence. Invisalign aligners are removable, so everyday tasks such as eating, brushing teeth and flossing can easily be accomplished.
It’s becoming increasingly common for adults to improve their smile by straightening their teeth, which has led to leaps and bounds in dental brace technology. If you work in a position where appearances count, or even if you just want your dental brace treatment to be unobtrusive, consider Invisalign.