Invisalign is the name of a proprietary teeth straightening system. The Invisalign system involves the wearing of a clear, removable dental device that wraps around the teeth and is very difficult to see. Invisalign braces are primarily targeted at adults who want to straighten their teeth without the appearance of normal metal braces in the mouth.
The plastic resin mouthpiece is nearly invisible when in the mouth. In cases where teeth need to be moved on different axis to be straightened, small clear knobs will be attached to the teeth so the brace can maneuver these teeth more accurately.
The procedure begins with an orthodontist who has been specially trained in Invisalign technology creating a mold of the teeth. This mold is sent to the Invisalign laboratories where it is scanned into a three dimensional software program. The teeth are manually moved to their final desired position, and the software calculates the path that the teeth must take to be straightened. From this information, a series of progressively tighter dental braces are created.
The patient must wear these devices for 22 hours a day or more in order to be effective. The device can be removed during meals. Every two weeks, the device is tightened to apply more pressure to the teeth. Once the device can no longer be tightened, the patient is graduated to the next tighter device and the process begins again. The time it takes to straighten the teeth can range from 20 weeks to two years.
Users of Invisalign will experience some aching or discomfort when the device is tightened. As the teeth move, this pain will lessen. After completion of the process, the patient will have to wear a standard retainer until the teeth have settled into their new positions.