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It is the purpose of this article to present the pro’s and con’s of Invisalign in equal measure. The Invisalign system is an aesthetic alternative orthodontic system that makes use of individualized thermoformed polycarbonate overlay appliances called aligners.

To obtain best results, your D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) will plan your treatment in advance. Before your treatment commences, the fabrication of a series of aligners corresponding to the desired treatment is your first initial step towards straight teeth.invisalign - invisible alternative to braces

Invisalign treatments bring together the best qualities of removable and fixed appliances to control and minimize imperfect or misaligned tooth movements.

A qualified D.D.S. will have a thorough understanding of teeth movements and the biomechanics of aligners. More severe forms of dental work may require you to wear traditional metal braces. Direct bonding metal braces have been around since the mid 1970s, this was the common way to straighten most peoples teeth for several decades before Invisalign was introduced.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign uses custom made aligners made specifically for you. Aligners trays are made of a smooth, comfortable nearly invisible plastic that fit over your teeth. The function of the aligners is to gradually shift your teeth into place, based on a schedule designed by your D.D.S. There are no protruding metal brackets to bond to your teeth and no wires to tighten. Your dental practitioner will provide multiple aligners on a weekly or monthly basis until your teeth are straightened out.

The Inner Workings of Invisalign Aligners

Not all dentists and D.D.S.’s work with custom made aligners like Invisalign. Finding an qualified practitioner that is trained in both traditional braces and Invisalign is the first step on your journey to having aligned teeth. These doctors will best be able to determine whether Invisalign or traditional braces is best for you.

Your D.D.S. will take X-rays, pictures and impressions of your teeth. A digital 3D image will then be used to manufacture the correct Invisalign fit for you. Your dental care provider will use the 3D image to show how your teeth will appear at each stage of treatment. The duration of time per Invisalign wearer varies from person to person. Treatment times can take a year for adults, for teens the duration of time is comparable to traditional braces.

Individual treatment plans differ from person to person, a series of custom made clear aligners are manufactured per individual.

For those people concerned about the byproducts of plastic there is no need to worry. The plastic used in clear aligners is non toxic and will not irritate the inner lining of the mouth.

Your D.D.S. will schedule when your aligners need to replaced based on your specific requirements. Each set of individual aligners will advance your next stage of treatment. For optimum results aligners should be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day, for the duration of your treatment.

The Plus and Minuses of Invisalign Treatment

Clinical Research of Invisalign

Only two clinical trials have been published. The first trial was a feasibility study with 38 patients. It had with methodological limitations concerning patient selection (nonrandomized and limited sample size per group). The researchers also failed to report precise malocclusion characteristics with respect to the amount of crowding and other parameters. Nevertheless, they concluded that patients whose permanent dentition has mild-to-moderate malocclusions may benefit from this treatment. They also suggested that prospective, controlled clinical trials with adequate sample sizes, increased record base and the use of objective assessment methods such as occlusal indexes should be used to evaluate outcomes with Invisalign.

- Manuel O. Lagravere, D.D.S., M.Sc. and Carlos Flores-Mir, D.D.S., M.Sc., Cert. Orth., Ph.D

Comfort and Near Invisibility

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) stated that Invisalign therapy should be considered an alternative for esthetically demanding patients. People who experience speech impairments from other oral care alignment therapies  are recommended to use Invisalign.


Looking and feeling great is the main reason for seeking out Invisalign. Being able to see the gradual progression of your teeth straightening also gives patients a self esteem boost. Invisalign therapy is not right for treating severe forms of malocclusions but it can treat mild to moderate cases.

The new SmartTrack aligner material being used in Invisalign trays has the following features: more constant force, higher elasticity, a more precise fit and improved comfort over the former material used.

The evolution of Invisalign aligners continue to evolve as the technology advances. Most of the findings regarding aligners are from published case studies. Individual results vary from person to person, for an accurate assessment consult your dentist or D.D.S. Non medical peer journals are not evaluated based on quantifiable data that is backed up by experts.

Prime candidates for Invisalign differ from person to person. If you are already a good candidate for traditional braces Invisalign therapy may be right for you. Give us call or send us an email to book your complimentary consultation.

About Dr. Michael Layton

Dr. Michael Layton - South Surrey DentistDr. Michael Layton (DDS) is the dentist for Peace Arch Dental, a dental office in the South Surrey/White Rock, B.C. area. He has been in the dental industry for the last decade and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. He takes pride in providing positive and caring dental solutions (including Invisalign) for people in the South Surrey/White Rock area. You can follow him on Google+.

If your teeth require alignment should you go with braces or Invisalign? This is the question we'll delve into today. The bottom line for most people deciding between traditional braces and invisalign comes down to cost and convenience and comfort. Before deciding to get a procedure, you may want to have several consultations with a qualified board certified orthodontic dentist or dental surgeon.

Straight Teeth: More Than Just Aesthetics

In layman’s terms, having straight teeth is good for your health. Proper oral health goes beyond taking great pictures for Facebook or Instagram - straight teeth are a matter of good health. People from impoverished economic backgrounds and diabetics gave themselves a self assessment score of 29 percent for poor oral health according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 survey.

Malocclusion is the medical term for crooked teeth, the improper alignment of the teeth and jaws may leave excess space or too little space in the jaw. Crooked teeth or malocclusion left untreated can lead to periodontal disease.

The misalignment of teeth places undue stress on the teeth and jaws. Common types of misalignments include: crowding, spacing, deep bite, open bite, cross bite, edge to edge bite and excessive overbite. Unnatural stress and pressure leads to premature wear, teeth that are subject to excessive pressure develop chipping and notches of the gum line. Over a period of time flattened and worn down teeth result in chipping and fractures at the edges of teeth. Incorrect biting down may lead to pain in the jaw the end results are earaches and headaches.

Premature wearing down of teeth leads to gum recession and poor bone support at the root, teeth can loosen and eventually people end up losing their teeth.  Crooked teeth can affect periodontal health because it is difficult to perform plaque removal from crowded area in the oral cavity. Bacteria that is not properly removed will multiply and trigger periodontal disease. The first signs of periodontal disease are gum inflammation, and redness and bleeding while a person brushes and flosses. Gum inflammation left untreated becomes a chronic infection that can cause soft tissue damage, receding gums, periodontal pockets, bone loss and eventually having teeth fall out.

Damage gum tissue cells can invade blood vessels that lead to coronary arteries increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke and illness. Proper correct alignment of teeth will prevent future dental problems and make significant difference in your health. If you don’t recall anything else from this article keep in mind that any oral cavity problems should be treated immediately to prevent future costly orthodontic treatments.


Traditional braces are made of stainless steel or titanium. The parts that comprise braces are the brackets which are attached to the the teeth using a special bonding agent that adheres to the tooth surface. The second component is called Nitinol developed by NASA that reverts back to its original shape after its heated. Another name for archwire is called memory wire - it adjusts to its original straight shape influenced by your bodies temperature. The ligature elastic nicknamed “rubber bands” are the coloured ties that hold the archwires to the brackets.

Braces work by applying consistent pressure to the teeth, this constant pressure helps move teeth into their proper alignment. After initial consultations are finished your orthodontist will ensure your teeth are dry before sterilization of the oral cavity. A special glue is than applied to the teeth. There are 6 different brackets for the upper arch and 5 different brackets for the lower arch of the mouth. Each bracket gets measured and a special light is used to harden the special glue to the teeth. Arch wire can be composed of stainless steel, nickel titanium or beta titanium.

The disadvantage of stainless steel wires is the lack of flexibility, if the wires are bent too much during the procedure they will not return to the original position. Nickel titanium wires have the advantage of being elastic with the ability to return to their original shape. Beta titanium wire came after nickel titanium wires, Ni-Ti wires have both elasticity and strength. Your orthodontist will decide what wire is best for the patient to use. Follow up checkups to your dentist, orthodontist or dental surgeon and changing of the archwire will vary from patient to patient until the end of treatment.

Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces

After the application of braces the patient must subsist on soft food or liquids for at least 3 to 4 days after having the braces applied. Dental professionals and traditional brace wearers recommend the following foods be avoided or limited for the duration a person is wearing braces.

Avoid Caution Tolerable foods
pizza crust bagels pasta
chewing gum apples (cut into small pieces) eggs
gummy bears nacho chips pudding
chocolate chips soda ice cream
skittles refined sugar french fries
potato chips soups pretzels
ice cubes chili dairy
chicken wings (bones should be removed) mashed potatoes and gravy smoothies


Invisalign or Braces?

The first thing strangers will not notice about an invisalign wearer is that they are not wearing anything until they get really close, the main reason for this is the aligners are transparent and custom made to fit the persons mouth. Invisalign is “Teeth Straightening for Dummies”. The ease of use and maintenance sets invisalign miles apart from traditional braces. Food lovers will rejoice in the fact that you can eat whatever you want. Simply remove the aligners before eating and after you have brushed and flossed pop them back in.

Depending on the patient, every 2 or more weeks, new aligners replace the old ones to achieve the correct alignment. If you decide to get invisalign you will not have to go through the 3 or 4 day discomfort period from having metal bonded to your teeth. Many long term wearers of braces frequently report discomfort and soreness. Having foreign metallic substances in your mouth takes a period of time to adjust to, some people report chaffing of the inner lips and sides of the mouth. Invisalign could be the right alternative for you.

The transparency of this application gives people back their confidence while their teeth are gradually positioned into alignment. Looks are sometimes everything to people. Not having people stare at your mouth instead of looking you in the face goes a long way in making people feel and look good. Invisalign is available for adults and teens. On average traditional braces are more affordable ranging in price from $3000 to $7000 whereas invisalign ranges in price from $4000 to $7400. Most health plans do not cover treatments like these. Payment plans may be available for patients if they can not afford the full upfront rate.

Simply put, Invisalign is the clear alternative to braces. You can get straight teeth while looking your normal self without the discomfort of traditional braces. Give Invisalign a shot - contact your local dentist or dental surgeon today.

About Dr. Michael Layton

Dr. Michael Layton PostsDr. Michael Layton (DDS) is the dentist for Peace Arch Dental, a dental office in the South Surrey/White Rock, B.C. area. He has been in the dental industry for the last decade and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. He takes pride in providing positive and caring dental solutions for people of every walk of life - this includes Invisalign! You can follow him on Google+.

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