Diastema is a malocclusion (misaligned bite) that results from gapped teeth. Invisalign clear aligners are a trendy way to treat this condition. The aligners gradually shift teeth into the appropriate positions, eliminating gaps. It is best for treating teeth gaps of approximately 6 millimeters. If patients have larger gaps, there may be other treatments that are more appropriate. If you live in Arlington, Virginia, or the surrounding area, come visit the professional team at Arlington Dental Excellence. We have the knowledge and training to fix a variety of dental issues, including teeth gaps.
What is Invisalign and How Does it Work?
Invisalign is a clear dental aligner made by Align Technology. It was first introduced to the market in 1998. Since that time, more than 3 million people have used this treatment, making it the leading in-office aligner on the market.
Clear aligners offer several advantages over traditional braces, including:
- More comfortable
- Almost invisible
- Easier to clean
- No metal wires/brackets tearing up your mouth
- Removable, so it's much easier to eat, brush, and floss as usual
Invisalign treatment will begin with a consultation. At that time, a layout of your mouth and bite will be digitally mapped out. Then, an aligner will be made to fit your mouth.
The aligners are made from a patented, flexible plastic known as SmartTrack. It is a polyurethane resin. It has been FDA-approved as a medical device and is free of BPS and BPA.
According to the manufacturer, Invisalign clear aligners are 75% more accurate and 50% faster than the other aligners on the market. Additionally, they claim Invisalign is more comfortable and durable.
Invisalign clear aligners should be worn 22 hours per day for approximately 2 weeks. In that time, the aligner will move the teeth 0.25 to 0.3 millimeters. Every 2 weeks, you will geta new aligner, with each one being constructed based on the expected progress of the treatment.
What Types of Teeth Gaps Can be Fixed by Invisalign?
Teeth gaps are caused by a variety of things. Invisalign clear aligners are able to fix the following teeth gaps:
Midline diastema refers to a gap between your maxillary or mandibular incisors, or upper and lower teeth. This is most often referred to as "gap tooth" because these teeth are the most noticeable.
Some people push their tongue against their top teeth when swallowing, which can cause a gap to appear.
Children who suck their thumb may end up with gapped teeth.
If you are missing teeth due to genetics, it can result in gaps-especially in your front teeth.
The frenulum is the soft piece of tissue that runs between your lips and gums. In some cases, this tissue becomes inflamed, which can disrupt normal development of your two front teeth. Invisalign can correct this if used with a oral surgery procedure known as a frenectomy.
What Types of Teeth Gaps Can't be Fixed by Invisalign?
If you have exceptionally large teeth gaps, Invisalign clear aligners cannot fix these. You will need to seek alternative treatment, such as traditional braces to fix this issue.
How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?
In most cases, Invisalign can close tooth gaps in 3 to 6 months. In some cases, it may take longer- up to 18 months. This depends a lot on the extent of the tooth gap as well as your compliance in wearing the aligners as instructed.
Benefits of Using Invisalign for Gapped Teeth
There are two primary reasons people decide to use Invisalign clear aligners:
- They are transparent
- They are removable
Invisalign is transparent. In fact, it's almost invisible. This means you don't have to worry about being embarrassed by unattractive braces.
Since they are removable, you can take them out when eating or drinking. You don't have to limit your diet because there's no worry about food getting stuck in metal brackets.
In addition to looking better than traditional braces, here are a few other benefits of Invisalign clear aligners:
Traditional braces require a lot of visits to the dentist to check progress. However, this isn't the case with Invisalign treatment.
Patients with traditional braces must visit the dentist every 4 to 6 weeks- but Invisalign patients only have to come in every 10 to 12 weeks. In fact, one study indicated that patients with Invisalign spend 67% less time in the dental office than those with traditional braces.
Additionally, Invisalign is faster. Studies indicate that Invisalign treatment takes approximately 4 to 6 months less than traditional braces.
Easier to Keep Teeth Healthy
If you have traditional braces, good oral hygiene is complicated- it's hard to brush and floss properly. Plus, food can get lodged in metal brackets or wires, which can potentially lead to tooth decay.
This isn't the case with Invisalign. You can remove the aligners so that you can properly brush and floss your teeth- and clean the aligner itself.
In one study, it was found that Invisalign promotes better oral hygiene and periodontal health. In addition, it reduces the accumulation of plaque and the development of white spot lesions.
There are several other benefits offered by Invisalign clear aligners:
- Improved smile
- Bruxism prevention
- Medical-grade material/safe
What is the Cost of Invisalign Clear Aligners?
According to their website, the national average of Invisalign treatment is between $3,000 to $5,000. This is comparable to traditional braces. Of course, the exact cost is based on how long treatment takes and the dental issues that are involved.
Most insurance plans do cover Invisalign, and you can use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for it.
How to Know if Invisalign Treatment is Right for You
If you have a mild tooth gap, Invisalign treatment may be an option for you. Many people believe traditional braces are distracting, embarrassing, and even unprofessional. Plus, traditional braces take a lot longer than Invisalign. The only way to know for sure is to schedule your consultation with one of our skilled and experienced dentists. If your tooth gap is wider than 6 millimeters, Invisalign may not be the best option. Instead, you may need traditional braces.