Invisalign straightens teeth by using a series of clear aligners that are worn 24/7 except at meal times and during toothbrushing.
Each aligner is designed to apply specific forces to the teeth to move them to the right position in a gradual manner. Each aligner is to be worn for a minimum of 1 week. The number of aligners used will vary from case to case. The aligners are custom-made for each patient. A scan or impression of the patien's teeth must be obtained at the start of treatment for the aligners to be generated.
To help with tooth movement, invisalign treatment usually also requires the use of attachments and IPR (Interproximal reduction)
What are attachments?
In order to move the teeth efficiently and in the right direction, attachments made of resin material are often necessary and are bonded to the teeth at the start of treatment. These are small blobs of tooth-coloured material that are placed at specific sites on the teeth to engage the aligners and allow the desired tooth movement. Attachments are not visually noticeable when placed on the teeth. However, it can take some time for patients to get used to them. They can get stained if a diet high in staining foods is consumed or oral hygiene is poor.
What is IPR (Interproximal reduction)?
IPR is the removal of a very thin layer of enamel on the sides of particular teeth during Invisalign treatment. The thickness of enamel to be removed is usually no more than 0.5mm. This is carried out by the dentist using fine polishing strips. There is no harm caused to the tooth and there is no noticeable change in the appearance of the tooth.
IPR is necessary to provide additional space into which teeth can be moved to obtain the right alignment when there is crowding.