The Science of Invisalign

While it provides amazing cosmetic results, Invisalign from our Clayton dentist is a highly scientific process that straightens teeth quickly, comfortably, and conveniently. 

Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic trays, or aligners, which move teeth to a more desirable location within your mouth. The aligners can move teeth in nearly any direction by applying gentle and consistent pressure that pulls, pushes, rotates, tips, or pivots each tooth.  

Each tray is slightly different. The first tray in the series looks like your teeth before you begin treatment, for example, and the last tray will look like your teeth at their final destination on your jaw. The trays in between the first and final trays will move your teeth in tiny increments: about 0.25mm. Your teeth will have moved up to about 1 mm by the fourth tray. Not all teeth will move equally, though, depending on each tooth’s original location and final destination – one tooth might need to move only 1 mm but require a slight twist, for example, while another tooth might need to move 1.5 mm in a straight line.

Invisalign Straightens Teeth through the Science of Bone Remodeling

Like other types of teeth straightening approaches, Invisalign straightens teeth through a scientific process known as bone remodeling. 

Your jawbones and the rest of your skeleton are living tissues that use bone remodeling to keep your bones strong. Remodeling involves replacing old and damaged bone tissue with newer, stronger bone. 

A tooth has two main parts: the white crown that is visible above your gum line and the root that holds the tooth in your jawbone. There are other types of connective tissue that support your teeth. For example, the periodontal ligament is an elastic band that sits between the tooth’s root and its socket. 

The main job of the periodontal ligament is to connect the tooth to the jawbone, but the tissue also contains different types of cells that do specific jobs. One type of cell, known as an osteoclast, breaks down the old bone cells. Another type, known as an osteoblast, forms new bone tissue and adds growth to the existing bone. 

The Invisalign trays apply gentle, consistent pressure to the crowns of your teeth. This pressure travels down the tooth to the root and then into your jawbone. The pressure is greater in front of the tooth, in the direction of the tooth’s final destination; the pressure is less behind the tooth. 

The osteoclasts and osteoblasts in the periodontal ligament respond to the pressure: the osteoclasts break down the bone tissue in front of the tooth, which allows the tooth to move in the right direction. The osteoblasts behind the tooth rebuild the bone tissue to hold the tooth in its new position. 

The Science of Getting Invisalign from Your East Bay Dentist

Getting Invisalign is a highly scientific process that uses advanced technology to straighten teeth. We use 3D imaging technology to scan your teeth and create a “roadmap” for your teeth straightening treatment. Technology allows us to customize your treatment by mapping out the path each tooth will take, the amount of force needed to move each tooth, and other factors to ensure that each tooth arrives in its final destination at the right time and in the right order. We’ll also use this software to show you what your smile will look like after treatment, and to monitor your treatment to ensure you are getting the results you desire. 

We’ll arrange to have your new aligner trays sent to you at the exact right time in your treatment. Simply throw away the old aligner trays and start using the new one. 

The teeth-straightening process of Invisalign is also scientific. To optimize the results of treatment, you’ll need to wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day, taking them out only to eat, brush your teeth, and floss. Depending on how much straightening your teeth need, you can expect your treatment to last for 6 to 18 months.

Invisalign imparts the perfect amount of force to move the teeth. If there isn’t enough force, the teeth do not move enough and treatment takes too long. Too much force can actually damage the surrounding tissues and structures.

Invisalign Uses Advanced Materials

Invisalign is made from technically-advanced materials. All Invisalign aligners are made from medical-grade, thermoplastic polymers (plastics) that the FDA has approved for use inside the human body. The plastic, known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), makes the Invisalign aligner trays lightweight, comfortable, and nearly invisible. The materials and technology also help keep Invisalign cost down and make it one of the most comfortable and effective ways to straighten your teeth.

For more information about the science of Invisalign, consult with Austin K. Brown, DDS. Our dentist in Clayton is an area leader in providing Invisalign. Schedule an appointment to learn more about Invisalign in Clayton today.

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