By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

Would you believe that the technology exists today to straighten teeth with braces that are virtually invisible. Increasingly, more adults are opting for that form of treatment. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, there has been an increase of almost 25% in adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment from 1989 to 2004. Invisalign is becoming very popular among adult patients. In fact, it is ideal for them because it allows them to have the work of traditional braces done discreetly.

Invisalign is a series of clear removable plastic aligners that are custom-made for your teeth. Each pair of aligners is worn for a two-week period, allowing your teeth to gradually and comfortably move into its proper position. Treatment lengths vary depending on your dental condition and the severity of your case. Most cases take between 12 and 18 months to complete. Because Invisalign is clear, most people can’t tell when someone is wearing them. They are comfortable because there are no wires and brackets that can irritate your mouth. Adults find them very convenient because they can be removed when eating, drinking or for special events like a business meeting. And for those who are also concerned with the shade of their teeth, the aligners nab be used in conjunction with bleaching products if tooth whitening is desired.

Being able to remove them makes it much easier to maintain good oral hygiene and periodontal health while undergoing treatment. The downside is that they must be worn in order to work and compliance is very important. Invisalign is not a good choice for a child or teenager who may forget to wear them or may even lose them.

These clear molds are custom-made with advanced 3-D computerized technology. They are created to apply a precise amount of pressure to the teeth incrementally over a two week period. The pressure applied to the teeth is usually well tolerated as compared to that which you may often experience when you have your wires tightened with conventional braces. Your teeth can be pretty sore at times with conventional orthodontics.

The cost of Invisalign is comparable to traditional braces usually ranging from $4500.00 to $6000.00. Many dental insurance companies will pay 50% of the cost of Invisalign the same way they would pay for any orthodontic procedure; however, not all insurance companies cover adult orthodontics. No matter how busy you are, your schedule will not be weighed down with visits to the dentist or orthodontist. Depending on your personal case and on your provider’s preferences, you may have visits as little as once every 6 weeks. These visits are fairly brief because in most cases you’ll be picking up your new set of aligners and your doctor will be checking on your progress.

If you’ve always wanted to improve your smile, Invisalign is a great treatment option. Ask your dentist if you can benefit from this service and if they are a provider. It is never too late to have the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

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