Invisalign® is an aesthetic orthodontic technique that uses a series of doctor-prescribed, clear aligners to correct malaligned teeth, bites, and smiles for teens and adults. It has been around since the late 1990s and has been used by over 4 million patients, including celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Justin Beiber, and Katherine Heigl. The idea of using removable appliances to move teeth has been around much longer. However, Align Technology has developed an extremely precise, 3-D, digitally controlled way that allows doctors to move teeth with aligners that are clear, comfortable, and effective.
The aligners are made of an FDA approved, medical grade plastic that is customized to fit your teeth. Your doctor determines how teeth move in terms of speed, order, and direction. About every two weeks, there is a new aligner that fits your teeth slightly differently from the previous one to gradually improve alignment. Just like regular braces that place pressure on the teeth all the time, Invisalign must be worn for as close to full-time as possible. The general rule is for 22 hours per day, allowing two hours for brushing, flossing, and eating. The average treatment time with Invisalign is about one year, ranging from about six months to a few years, depending on treatment planning, compliance, and severity of the malocclusion.
The following is a list of the types of Invisalign available. There are various reasons for the use of each product, but keep in mind that they will not change the rate at which teeth can be moved.