What is it about traditional ‘train track’ braces that seem to give people an irresistible urge to ask personal questions about what you’re up to and how long and how much etc.? It can get quite tedious, especially as teeth straightening, by its very nature, takes a few months to complete. One way to avoid months of answering the same questions over and over is to use Invisalign nearly invisible aligners. Dentists are specially trained to fit these. One of the UK’s most experienced dentists is Graham Tinkler in London.
How does it work?
Invisalign clear aligners work in a somewhat different way from the traditional brackets and wire braces system most often associated with teeth straightening. Invisalign uses transparent plastic trays, rather like mouth guards, that slide snugly over the teeth and push them, rather than pull, into alignment. With a thickness of only 0.3 millimetres, they are almost impossible to see once they are in place.
Each series of aligners are custom-made for each patient, from impressions taken by their dentist, in a laboratory in the USA. The lab also uses information sent by the dentist to calculate the precise movements that the teeth need to make in order to become aligned. The laboratory makes a series of aligner trays. The first are slightly different from the current position of your teeth. The next a bit further on from the first, and so on, with each aligner marking another step along the journey towards straighter teeth. The pressure from each slight move forward in tray design is what nudges the teeth along their trajectory.
The patient wears each aligner for about 2 weeks before moving on to the next one. The number of aligners needed varies between about 12 and 48.
Another great advantage that Invisalign has over traditional braces is that the aligners are removable. This makes keeping them and the teeth clean much easier. It also means that, if you have to attend an important social or professional event, you can leave them off entirely for a few hours. The aligners should, however, be worn for at least 20 hours a day every day if you want to keep on schedule.