The Invisalign system is an alternative to traditional braces that uses clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth. These aligners are custom made and replaced every few weeks with a new set to slowly move your teeth into their new position.
Invisalign clear aligners can correct a wide range of orthodontic issues with a high success rate, but it's important that your treatment is provided by an experienced professional and that you follow their instructions to get the most from the treatment.
What conditions can Invisalign treat?
Your Invisalign dentist will carry out an orthodontic assessment to determine the type of alignment issue you have and whether Invisalign treatment could be effective.
Invisalign can treat most mild to moderate orthodontic problems, but a more severe condition may require another treatment such as traditional braces. Invisalign is generally an option for:
- Open bite
- Crowded teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps in teeth
Read more about these conditions and arrange an appointment with your dentist to find out whether Invisalign might be an option for you.
In a normal bite, the top front teeth cover between one third and one half of the lower teeth. Overbite or deep bite is when they cover more of the lower teeth than normal.
Overbites are often an issue with jaw development or they may be caused by thumb sucking in childhood or missing lower teeth. An untreated overbite can sometimes damage teeth and gums or lead to problems with eating, speech or jaw movements.
Invisalign aligners can usually correct overbites in 12 to 24 months, depending on the individual case.
Underbite happens when the lower jaw protrudes forward more than normal. This can mean that the lower front teeth are in front of the upper teeth.
Underbites may be hereditary or can happen over time as a result of eating habits, tongue thrusting or mouth breathing. Complications can include a higher risk of tooth damage and wear, misaligned teeth, bad breath and problems with chewing, swallowing or speaking.
Invisalign can sometimes be effective at treating underbite. This depends on the underlying cause and how severe the underbite is.
Crossbite can be a combination of overbite and underbite, with some teeth sitting in front of the opposing teeth and others behind. Crossbite can affect any teeth and may lead to teeth growing in different directions.
Crossbite may be genetic or caused by premature growth of adult teeth, thumb sucking or mouth breathing. Having a crossbite can increase your risk of oral health problems, tooth damage, injuries to the mouth and jaw problems such as TMJ disorders.
Invisalign aligners can fix some crossbite cases, but this depends on factors such as your age and what caused the bite issue.
An open bite is when the front upper and/or lower teeth slant outwards and don't touch when the jaws are closed. This may be caused by abnormal jaw development, thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.
Open bites in primary teeth may resolve on their own if a child changes their habits or undergoes behaviour modification before getting their permanent teeth.
Open bites in teenagers and adults can usually be corrected with Invisalign or braces.
Teeth crowding is when teeth are forced closer together than normal. This may cause them to shift forwards or backwards and disrupt your bite.
Crowding may happen during the eruption of teeth if you have a small jaw, cleft lip or palate or too many teeth. It can also happen later as a result of poorly fitting dental restorations, wisdom teeth or prolonged thumb sucking or dummy/bottle use.
Crowded teeth can often be treated without braces using Invisalign, depending on the cause and severity of the crowding.
Teeth can go crooked for various reasons, whether it's early loss of a baby tooth, bone loss in the jaw due to natural ageing, advanced gum disease, teeth being pushed out of alignment by crowding, adjacent teeth shifting after a tooth extraction or other causes.
Crooked teeth may be harder to keep clean, increasing your risk of tooth decay and other dental disease. They may also affect chewing and increase wear and tear on teeth.
Invisalign may be an option for straightening a single crooked tooth or multiple teeth, though more severe misalignment may need braces.
Gaps in teeth
Gaps between baby teeth are normal, but these usually close together as the teeth and jaws grow. Gaps may persist if the jaw size and teeth size don't match or if the tissue between the front teeth (labial frenum) is oversized, among other reasons.
Gaps between teeth are common and are usually only an aesthetic concern, but widely spaced teeth may affect the growth and alignment of other teeth or may collect plaque deposits, increasing oral health risks and bad breath.
Invisalign can usually close gaps between upper teeth and is sometimes effective for gaps between lower teeth.
How does Invisalign work?
If you're interested in straightening your teeth or fixing another issue with Invisalign clear aligners, your dentist or orthodontist will first examine your teeth to find out if you're a candidate. They will then explain what the process involves and how much Invisalign costs so you can decide whether it's the right choice for you.
Invisalign treatment involves four main stages:
- Designing your new smile
- Making your custom aligners
- Straightening your teeth
- Maintaining your smile
1. Designing your new smile
Rather than taking old-fashioned and messy physical moulds, your Invisalign dentist will scan your mouth using an iTero intraoral scanner. This creates an accurate 3D model of your teeth.
Your dentist will then use Invisalign software to design your series of custom aligners. They can also show you a preview of what your straighter smile could look like if you wear your aligners as instructed.
2. Making your custom aligners
Your series of custom aligners will be manufactured by an Invisalign laboratory before being individually trimmed and inspected to ensure their high quality.
On your next visit to the dental clinic, your dentist will provide your first few sets of aligners, check that they feel comfortable and give you advice about how to use them safely and for the best results.
3. Straightening your teeth
It can take some time to get used to wearing aligners, but you should adjust in a few days to a few weeks. Your dentist will schedule regular check-ups every 6 to 8 weeks where you can also pick up your next sets of aligners.
You need to wear your Invisalign aligners at least 22 hours a day for them to work most effectively. They should be removed when you eat or drink and when you brush and floss your teeth.
4. Maintaining your smile
Invisalign treatment usually takes 1 to 2 years on average, but this timeline may be shorter or longer depending on your case and whether the treatment was interrupted.
After the treatment is complete, you will need to wear a retainer to keep your new smile in place and stop it from reverting. Invisalign retainers are as discreet as the aligners.
Your dentist will let you know how often and how long you should wear a retainer for.
Our dentists at Face Value Dental offer a choice of Invisalign treatments in Brisbane for patients of different ages and needs. The three options are:
- Invisalign Full
- Invisalign Go
- Invisalign Teen
The full version of Invisalign treatment is designed for older teens and adults who prefer a more discreet or convenient alternative to braces.
Treatment with Invisalign normally takes 12 to 18 months using around 30 sets of aligners, or more if you have a more complex case.
Invisalign Go is a faster option than standard Invisalign that may be suitable if you only need minor teeth straightening or corrections.
This treatment usually requires under 20 sets of aligners and may be completed in as little as 4 to 6 months, depending on your needs.
We'll let you know if Invisalign Go is an option during your consultation, or if you require a longer term treatment.
Invisalign Teen has been developed specifically for the needs of teenagers whose teeth and jaws may still be developing and who may have issues with compliance.
As Invisalign aligners are removable, unlike fixed braces, there is more responsibility on the patient to wear their aligners as often as our dentists recommend. Invisalign Teen encourages compliance with coloured indicators that show dentists and parents how much the aligners have been used.
Book an Invisalign consultation in Brisbane
Face Value Dental is a certified Invisalign provider in Brisbane CBD. Make an appointment to talk with our dentists if you or your child want to know more about Invisalign clear aligners or you want to take the first step to a straighter smile.
Invisalign® aligners are a registered medical device. Always read the label and follow and instructions for use from your dentist.