Invented in the late 1990s, Invisalign has since become a mainstream alternative to traditional metal braces. This treatment system involves wearing a series of clear aligners over different phases or months, with each set of aligners slowly moving teeth to their proper position. Due to their transparent colour, Invisalign aligners are barely noticeable to others unlike metal braces. It is precisely this characteristic that makes Invisalign so popular across different ages.
How does a typical Invisalign treatment process look like?
In general, patients are advised to wear their aligners about 20-22 hours a day for 2 weeks. Following which, they’ll receive another set of aligners and so on. Unlike traditional metal braces, patients with Invisalign do not need to adhere to a soft diet and are allowed to eat whatever they want. This is because patients are required to remove their Invisalign when they eat or drink anything apart from water.
Some patients might see improvement in their teeth in as little as 10 weeks or even two — this is not rare. Everyone’s teeth and condition is different, so there’s no hard set timeline on how long Invisalign treatment will last. But in general, the average treatment process takes about 12 to 18 months
After treatment is complete, patients will need to wear retainers to allow the bones around their jaw to get used to the new teeth placements. You may opt for a wire retainer or a product from Invisalign known as Vivera. Vivera retainers are a little thicker and more durable, but they are not meant to be changed bi-weekly as with Invisalign trays. It is recommended to wear a retainer months immediately after treatment to prevent your teeth from shifting. Ideally, you should also wear a retainer a few times each week for the rest of your life.
What age groups can wear Invisalign?
While Invisalign treatment accounts for 31% of adult orthodontics, it is available to individuals across all age groups including children. In fact, children as young as 6 can start wearing Invisalign as long as they are under the watchful eye of an orthodontist. There is no specific age requirement for wearing Invisalign; rather, it depends on the development, maturity and arrangement of teeth.
Here’s how Invisalign works differently for different age groups.
Invisalign for young children
Invisalign First is a treatment plan designed specifically for young children aged 6-10. According to Invisalign, orthodontic treatment in this age group is known as Phase 1. Under Phase 1 treatment, the goal is to treat a broad range of teeth straightening issues like crowding and making space for existing and incoming permanent teeth. Phase 1 treatment can also stop pre-existing bite problems and assist with habits like thumb sucking. Eradicating these will shorten the time required for future orthodontic treatments. As with regular Invisalign aligners for adults, Invisalign First aligners are removable for hygiene and designed without wires or brackets for comfort.
Invisalign for teenagers
As a teenager’s teeth aren’t as fixed in position as an older person’s teeth, Invisalign for teenagers can be a highly effective treatment method. It comes with a mandibular advancement feature and precision wings to fix overbites in teens and gradually move the lower jaw. That being said, for teens to undergo Invisalign, they must have most of their permanent teeth around and the discipline of an adult.
For Invisalign treatment to be effective, the clear aligners must be worn for at least 20 hours a day, though 22 hours would be the best. If a teen does not have the discipline to wear their aligners for the stipulated number of hours daily, then Invisalign might not be the best course of treatment. Fortunately, Invisalign for teens comes with a built-in safeguard for parents to monitor if their kids are wearing their aligners long enough everyday.
Invisalign for adults
Invisalign for adults may take a longer treatment time to yield desirable results compared to younger patients. This is not a universal rule but a noticeable trend as younger mouths are typically healthier. Regardless of the time taken, Invisalign has helped many patients in their 20s and above and even seniors achieve a beautiful smile. There’s even been cases of patients in their 80s who experienced life-changing results because of Invisalign. Often, bone density is what determines whether an adult is suitable for Invisalign. As older individuals tend to have problems with bone density, some teeth may have problems or move very easily. A good dentist will do the necessary checks to ensure Invisalign can produce fruitful results.
Invisalign can benefit almost anyone
So long as an individual meets the necessary criteria and wears the aligners as instructed, they will definitely benefit and see desirable results. The longer the retainers are worn, the faster the teeth move and the cleaner the results. If you considering waiting till you are older to get Invisalign, be careful not to wait till your bone density or mouth health declines and risk missing out on the window of opportunity to get a beautiful smile.
What sort of retainers are best for me?
After your smile is corrected with Invisalign, you will need to wear a night retainer in order to maintain your new straightened teeth. At Dental Designs, we highly recommend you use the Zendura retainer. It boasts the benefits of having:
- Proven resistance to stains
- Improved durability against trauma
- Safe and non-toxic polyurethane (PU) material
- Haouili, N., Kravitz, N. D., Vaid, N. R., Ferguson, D. J., & Makki, L. (2020). Has Invisalign improved? A prospective follow-up study on the efficacy of tooth movement with Invisalign. American journal of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics : official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists, its constituent societies, and the American Board of Orthodontics, 158(3), 420–425. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajodo.2019.12.015
- Kuncio D. A. (2014). Invisalign: current guidelines for effective treatment. The New York state dental journal, 80(2), 11–14.