For over two decades, Invisalign has been the go-to treatment plan for misaligned teeth. Invisalign uses clear, plastic aligner trays that are custom-made for every patient. The trays are exchanged as your teeth shift and move into their proper place. Invisalign is comfortable, painless and just as the name implies, practically invisible. Before the year 1997, if you wanted straight teeth, you either had to be one of the lucky few born with them or you would need to get metal braces. Metal braces were bulky, painful, clearly visible, and had to be worn for years!
The creator of Invisalign came up with the idea of plastic aligner trays when he noticed the retainer trays that most people wear after their braces are removed. If these plastic trays can help to keep teeth straight after treatment, why couldn’t they be used as the treatment itself? This is how Invisalign was born.
Adult vs. Teen Invisalign
At first, Invisalign was tailored to adult orthodontics patients. It was deemed totally ordinary for a teenager to have braces, almost like a right of passage. But for adults, it was embarrassing to be seen with braces in a business meeting or on a date. Invisalign was created to help adults get the straight teeth they wanted without the embarrassment.
Since it’s difficult to keep a good thing confined to just one specific group, Invisalign now offers Invisalign Teen. These are specially formed trays that are designed for teenagers. They have made it easier for scatterbrained teenagers to follow their treatment plan by placing an indicator strip inside the trays that reveals whether they are wearing the trays for the prescribed amount of time.
As with most medical advancements, Invisalign is always looking for new ways to make their aligners better. Over the last eight years, Invisalign has been working on SmartTrack material – an innovative plastic that fits better, speeds up treatment time, and improves the control of the movement of the teeth by 75 percent! Take a look at how Invisalign has changed over the last twenty years:
In The Beginning
- When Invisalign was first developed, the average length of treatment was 12 months or longer.
- The patient would change aligner trays every two to three weeks.
- The material used in the beginning was less forgiving and not quite as predictable as the latest technology.
The Latest Advancements
- The average length of treatment is 6 months, depending on severity.
- The trays are changed weekly so that the teeth can move faster without altering the end results.
- The SmartTrack material and the SmartForce features allow more predictability in the tooth movement and are way more comfortable than aligners of the past.
Advancements in 3D Technology
In the early phases of Invisalign, teeth impressions were made by using a substance similar to silly putty. Although it was totally safe, it was kind of gross! The problem with using the putty-like substance is that it was hard to get a perfect impression. If your jaw moved, if you had too much saliva in your mouth, or if the technician mixed the powder substance incorrectly, then the impression came out wrong. They can be redone, but innovative technology has made it so much easier!
In 2007, 3D scanning became available as a new and improved way to get impressions of teeth for Invisalign. Since then, these scanners have undergone immense enhancements, making them incredible tools to help you get the best smile possible. With 3D scanning, you are able to see your dental impressions immediately on the screen. The scanner takes over 6,000 images per second, which gives you a precise view of every angle. During each visit, you can see the new image of your teeth and compare the difference. It is so easy to track your progress, which is something that wasn’t available with traditional braces.
Invisalign offers so much to patients who are looking to correct teeth malalignment. Over the years, Invisalign has continually improved the comfort and accuracy of their product. Invisalign offers much more than traditional braces, including the opportunity to see your new smile before you even begin your treatments! They even extend their care after your new smile is complete by offering long-term retainers that help you keep your teeth right where they are supposed to be! Invisalign works for most people, so schedule a consultation today!