There are many different kinds of braces and aligners, and some such as Invisalign®, come with clear advantages.

In the last few years, braces have been readily embraced as more and more teenagers and adults opt for orthodontic treatment to improve their appearance. After all, a perfect smile may turn out to be your most effective calling card - nor only will it light up your face, it will also give you renewed confindence. Beyond aesthetics, though, there are also dental health-related reasons to undergo long and sometimes uncomfortable periods of corrective dental treatment.

Whatever the reason, given the choice between a standard way and an easier way to achieve the same results, you'd choose the easier way. And that may lie with a revolutionary product called Invisalign®.

How it works

Invisalign® is a series of transparent removable aligners that are custom-built to fit directly over your teeth, similar to the way a retainer does. The difference is that these aligners don't have metal brackets or wires that need to be tightened every month by your orthodontist. The straightening process is more gradual with Invisaligh® as the aligners apply pressure to certain teeth, gradually moving them into a straighter position. Every aligner is designed according to a treatment plan that predicts and plans the movement of your teeth based on digital 3D model of your teeth developed from a composite of X-rays, photos and moulds taken before the treatment.

The aligners should be worn at least 20 to 22 hours every day, though patients are advised to take them out before meals and before brushing their teeth. Patients can change aligners approximately every two weeks with no other intervention required from an Invisalign-trained orthodontist.

What it's best for

Invisalign® is most effective in treating open-bite, a condition in which the upper and lower front teeth don't touch when the mouth is closed. In cases like this, the aligners have proven tos how better results than treatment with braces. Aligners are also effective in treating other common conditions like crowding, spaces, cross-bite, overbite and underbite. Though aligners may understandably work more slowly than braces in some cases, the former is a less painful and tiresome form of treatment.

The length of treatment varies from patient to patient. For adults, the treatment usually takes about a year, while for teenagers it might be twice as long, similar to or slightly longer than the duration required for brace treatment.

Clear advantages

There are many, which far exceed those of braces.

  1. The aligners are made from smooth, thin plastic that causes little-to-no discomfort, as opposed to traditional metal brackets and wires which tend to cause minor cuts and irritations in the mouth.
  2. The aligners perform the same functions as braces do but with significantly less pain and restrictions. Being able to take them off means you can enjoy your normal diet without having to stay on soft foods as your would need to at some point during braces treatment. When you are attending a special occasion, you can remove the aligners, and place them back in when you're done.
  3. Teeth-cleaning becomes much easier with Invisalign®. Because they are removable, you can brush and floss your teeth normally with them off. This means that you are less susceptible to plaque build-up, and tooth discolouration and tooth decay are significantly reduced.
  4. Since you can change the aligners yourself, visits to the doctor can be minimised to once every four to six weeks with no need to worry about having to make a last-minute appointment to replace a broken wire or bracket.
  5. Invisalign® lets you experience near-invisible orthodontic treatment. You can achieve straight, nice-looking teeth without ever having that embarrassing 'food-caught-in-your-braces' moment. The transparent nature of aligners and their tightly-shaped design means that they go unnoticed, making for a clear smile in photos or in person.
  6. These aligners allow you the freedom to play any musical instrument you want and participate in your favourite sports and outdoor activities. Your chosen lifestyle will not be disrupted by this treatment, nor will you need to change your daily life to suit Invisalign®.

That's how modern corrective dental wear should be: perfectly suited to you and your needs. If you're already considering braces or another form of orthodontic treatment, adding Invisalign® to your list of options might help you make up your mind. That's because the cost of Invisalign® need not be significantly different from other options, depending, of course, on the severity of the situation and your doctor's recommendations.

Ultimately, you must decide whether these benefits can make a difference in terms of comfort and ease of treatment. In the end, it's mostly about choosing what works for you from the best possible options available.