How Does Invisalign Work? – The Science Behind Teeth Straightening

how does invisalign work sydney

It is an ideal system if you don’t want to wear ‘bracket and wire’ style metal braces. Instead, patients get to wear a series of removable clear aligners over their teeth, and at the end of the Invisalign treatment, the result is a straighter, healthier, and more beautiful smile.

So, How Does Invisalign Work? Let’s Find Out

For anyone who doesn’t know, It is a form of orthodontic treatment that uses removable clear aligners to straighten teeth as opposed to fixed braces. As the name suggests, treatment is discreet which is why it is very popular among adults.

The Process – What to Expect 

The process starts with a consultation with your Invisalign provider (dentist). This is to assess if the treatment is right for you.

Assuming that everything is good, our dentist will then perform a digital scan which is transferred to the Invisalign ‘ClinCheck’ software.

The 3D interface helps us to customise your Invisalign treatment. The program calculates the right amount of force needed for every tooth movement and,  along with input from our dentist, helps ensure every tooth moves at the right time and in the right order.

The good part about this stage of the process is that the computer simulation lets you see how your teeth will look at the end of the Invisalign treatment. Then presuming that you are happy with your new smile design, your aligners are ordered.

Once the aligners have arrived at the dental clinic you’ll be shown how to insert the first one. The fit will be checked and our dentist may need to apply some attachments.  These act as anchors helping the aligner to fit closely against the teeth to move them more effectively.

The aligner is changed every 1-2 weeks, depending on your dentist’s instructions and must be worn in the mouth for a minimum of 22 hours a day, only being removed to drink, eat, and brush your teeth. The longer the aligners are kept in the mouth, the faster teeth will move.

On average, the treatment takes around 12 months but it can be quicker. Once the last aligner has been worn, teeth will appear straighter but do bear in mind that you will need to wear a retainer to keep them in place.

  1. Consultation:
    • The journey begins with a consultation with an orthodontist. They will assess your teeth, discuss your goals, and determine if Invisalign is the right fit for you.
  2. Custom Treatment Plan:
    • Based on the digital model, a customized treatment plan is devised. This plan outlines the gradual movements your teeth will undergo to achieve the desired alignment.
  3. Creation of Aligners:
    • A series of custom-made clear plastic aligners is crafted specifically for your treatment. These aligners are designed to fit comfortably over your teeth while remaining virtually invisible.
  4. Wearing the Aligners:
    • You wear each set of aligners for a specified period, usually 1 to 2 weeks, as recommended by your orthodontist. The aligners apply controlled pressure to shift your teeth gradually.
  5. Progressive Adjustments:
    • Over the course of treatment, you will progress through a series of aligners. Each set addresses specific tooth movements, contributing to the overall alignment goals.
  6. Regular Check-ups:
    • Periodic check-ups with your orthodontist are scheduled to monitor progress. These appointments also involve providing you with the next set of aligners to continue the treatment process.
  7. Removability:
    • Invisalign aligners are removable, allowing you to take them out for eating, brushing, and flossing. This feature enhances oral hygiene and eliminates dietary restrictions associated with traditional braces.
  8. Treatment Duration:
    • The overall duration of Invisalign treatment varies based on individual needs. Your orthodontist will provide an estimated timeline, which may range from several months to a couple of years.
  9. Retainers:
    • Upon completing the active phase of Invisalign treatment, your orthodontist may recommend retainers. These help maintain the achieved alignment by preventing teeth from shifting back.
  10. Enjoying Your New Smile:
    • Once the treatment is complete, you can enjoy the benefits of a beautifully aligned smile. Regular dental check-ups and following any post-treatment instructions are essential for long-term success.

So that’s a brief overview of how it works but we also promised to explain the science behind the technology, so here’s what you need to know.

How Does Invisalign Work? The Science Behind the Technology

treatment how does invisalign work sydney

As you now know, It uses a series of clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth. This is done either by rotating, tipping, pivoting or pushing the teeth into the gums or pulling them further out.

Each aligner or tray varies in appearance. For example, the first tray in the series will look like your teeth now but the last tray will appear straighter. The trays in-between move your teeth closer to their final desired position. Each tray differs by 0.25mm and will therefore move the teeth this distance. So for every 4 trays worn, your teeth will have moved by 1 mm.

Bone Remodelling 

The teeth have to be moved to straighten them but you’re probably wondering how they move through solid bone. We’ll explain …

The tooth roots are located in the bone, but between the bone and the root, there is a ligament called the periodontal ligament which acts as a kind of elasticated support.

This ligament contains cells which perform different actions – some remove bone in the direction that the tooth is moving while others add new bone in the space left behind by the tooth that has moved out. The procedure is triggered by the pressure of the trays pushing against your teeth and you may find that when you wobble your teeth during Invisalign treatment they feel loose. Don’t worry because this is perfectly normal.

Once treatment is complete the bone will take time to harden around the teeth and this is why a retainer needs to be worn straight away.

In order to learn more about Invisalign aligners, Talk to Macquarie Dental.