Few people are lucky enough to be born with a set of perfectly aligned teeth. This fact and the pursuit for beautiful smile led to the development of braces. Traditional braces did help realign teeth, but are uncomfortable and affect a person's appearance while they are in use. Ceramic braces are less noticeable as the brackets are clear or tooth coloured. Invisible braces are the latest in dental realignment therapy. They are virtually invisible and are not associated with any dietary restrictions unlike the earlier forms of braces.
Invisible braces are also known as aligners. Aligners are similar to mouth guards in appearance, but are custom built to fit tightly around the patient's teeth. These slip over the teeth and are designed to be removed and replaced every fortnight. Aligners may also be removed for eating, brushing and flossing. Each set of aligners vary slightly so as to move your teeth forcefully and correct your bite.
Treatment time of invisible braces depends on how much the teeth needs to be moved. In most cases, treatment takes between 10 months to 24 months. Aligners are also often used by adults who wore braces as children to correct slight displacement of teeth. In such cases, treatment could take as little as 10 weeks.
However, not everyone can get invisible braces. Aligners are custom built to fit tightly over teeth. This makes them unfit for use on children teeth as their teeth are constantly growing and developing. This is typically used for patients suffering from mild to moderately crowded teeth or those who have minor spacing issues between teeth. It can also be used as a follow up form of treatment for traditional braces.
Invisible braces are also slightly more expensive as compared to traditional braces as they are custom fitted.
The first step towards getting invisible braces is an X-ray, dental photographs and impression of the patient's teeth, gums and bite. These are then used to create a digital 3D representation of the patient's teeth in their current positions and their desired positions. The in-between stages are then created by moving the teeth .25 to .33 millimeters in each stage. The number of intermediate stages depend on the extent teeth need to be moved. Each stage is representative of an aligner to be worn for 2 weeks. If a tooth needs to be pulled away or rotated, a small, composite attachment may be bonded to the tooth.
The biggest advantage with invisible braces is that they can be worn without making a person self-conscious.