In the year 2000, when Align Technology began its commercial production of custom computer-generated clear aligners – the product known then and now as Invisalign, the orthodontists of the nation were skeptical [and I include myself among those skeptics at the time]. In fact, our skepticism was entirely justified. At the time it was introduced, the Invisalign product was extremely limited in what it could deliver to the average patient in need of orthodontics. The primary limitation was that it could not expand dental arches so any space requirements had to be achieved through “slenderizing” the patients teeth [removing a thin layer of enamel on the sides of select teeth for the purpose of creating space].
As you can imagine, the amount of enamel an orthodontist can safely “shave” off the sides of a tooth without enhanced risk of cavities or sensitivity is limited so the number of Invisalign eligible cases in the average orthodontic practice was probably less than 1%.
“We are seeing most Invisalign patients finishing their treatment 6 months faster than had they been treated with traditional braces”
But within 5 years, Align Technology made the technological advancements necessary to allow the orthodontist to expand a patients dental arches in both growing patients and adults. This not only led to a broader base of patients able to receive Invisalign treatment. It also had the surprising, unexpected and happy consequence of delivering treatment in a gentler and faster manner! The reasons for the rapid speed of Invisalign treatment over traditional braces are still being discussed, but one theory [to which I subscribe] is that the forces applied to the teeth using the Invisalign product are more favorable for tooth movement than those applied by metal or even clear braces. These forces are of a “push” vs. a “pull” nature. There are also less negative “reciprocal” forces – no wasted energy!
I never thought I would be able to say that Invisalign can do a better job in straightening teeth, but for the second time since its inception, Invisalign is making a believer out of me. Week after week I continue to see remarkable results with this method of straightening teeth.
Regardless of the reasons for the effectiveness, the results speak for themselves! We are seeing most Invisalign patients finishing their treatment 6 months faster than had they been treated with traditional braces! Truly amazing.
Joanne Age 56
Align Technology is renowned for how much money the company spends on research and development. The materials they use are superior to those of other clear-aligner companies. They have other methods for enhancing tooth movements not available through other companies much less by on-line tooth straightening services. We orthodontists are thankful and have every reason to expect that the quality of their product and service will improve.
Looking forward to the future of Invisible orthodontics!