Invisalign technology is the newest trend in orthodontics. It has many advantages over more traditional metal braces, but cosmetic appeal is high on the list. Invisalign uses a clear, plastic material. It starts with a trip to the orthodontist because each aligner is custom made. What goes into the development of these clear teeth aligners? Take a closer look at what makes Invisalign work.
A Little about Aligners
An aligner is a removable appliance custom fabricated to fit each patient’s teeth. You wear each aligner for 2 weeks before switching to the next one. It should be worn continuously throughout the day, only removing it to eat, drink or clean teeth. During the treatment period, the patient returns to the orthodontist regularly to check alignment progress and bite.
Alignment trays are clear – that is one primary advantage to this system. Few people realize you are straightening your teeth without braces. The manufacturer uses a clear plastic resin to create the devices. The other key feature is removability. Traditional braces stay in the mouth no matter what the patient is doing. This leads to some unpleasant hygiene issues. Food, plaque and other debris catches in the metal connections and can lead to decay and infection if not properly maintained.
It starts with the orthodontist getting images to send to the manufacturer. The technician takes an impression of the teeth then gets x-rays and photographs from every angle. The impressions go into a CT scan device to create a 3D image. The goal is to provide the manufacturer with a working model in order to build custom-made trays.
The designer manipulates the computer-generated model through realignment steps to manufacture a series of orthodontic aligners. The designer moves teeth one by one based on the criteria set by the orthodontist. This simulates the movement of teeth in each treatment stage to allow for creation of a new aligner.
After making a set of aligners, the manufacturer sends them back to the orthodontist for evaluation and fitting.
What are Attachments?
The orthodontist will use attachments to help the aligners control certain teeth better. The attachments are tooth-colored and made from dental filling material. The attachment also allows the aligner to gain traction and stay in place.
Invisalign manufacturing is a custom process with a new, distinct aligner for each treatment stage. The manufacturing is a work in progress. If the positioning of teeth is not optimal after several applications, the orthodontist orders new aligners to compensate. It is all part of the plan. This allows for refinement during the manufacturing of aligners.
Read more about how Invisalign can impact your dating life by reading this blog post.