We see a lot patients here at Windy City Orthodontics who come to us to improve their smile, but may not be excited about wearing braces. A common question they ask is whether Invisalign clear aligners will work for them. Some even come see us after another dentist or orthodontist has told them they can’t treat them with Invisalign.
(In case you aren’t familiar, Invisalign is a clear aligner system where a 3D digital model of the teeth is constructed and then the tooth movement is simulated. Once the doctor is satisfied with the simulation, a separate aligner is made for each step, or “stage,” in the simulation, and each aligner is usually worn by the patient for a week or two.)
My view is that Invisalign is another tool in the orthodontic toolbox, along with braces, arch wires, rubber bands and the rest. Over the last several years, Align Technology has introduced a lot of refinements to the Invisalign system that both increase its versatility – like a stretchier and more flexible aligner material that can grab onto the teeth better without exerting too much force – and the doctor’s ability to customize the aligners using the ClinCheck software. This in turn allows me to build a more customized and complex plan for each patient, including adding in additional orthodontic techniques if necessary. I sometimes tell my patients that we are building a custom appliance for each case. Sometimes we use components we have on hand like brackets and wires, and sometimes we customize it using the computer, like with Invisalign. And like with every tool, the results you see depend on the skills and training of the person using it.
So, the question isn’t whether someone is a candidate for Invisalign; the question is “How can we customize aligners to move your teeth?” While there are still some situations where braces will make tooth movement more predictable, in many cases Invisalign can work just as well or better – if customized appropriately.
If you’re curious whether we can customize Invisalign aligners for your teeth, please get in touch to schedule a free consultation. We’d love to meet you and show you what we can do!