A mouthful of braces isn't any fun when you're in middle school - and even less so when you're middle-aged. Invisalign braces will straighten your teeth without filling your smile with metal studs.
Align Technologies introduced Invisalign in 1999 as an inconspicuous way to shift teeth into position gradually without the use of visible braces. The removable bite trays, called aligners, are less than one millimeter thick and are placed on both the top and bottom rows of teeth.
What It's Good For
Invisalign trays are worn over the teeth to improve the appearance of overcrowded or widely spaced teeth over time. Invisalign can also correct overbites and crossbites. Aside from bite irregularities, the aligners can also be used, much like a retainer, to fix future tooth-shifting.
Who it works for: Only mild to moderate dental misalignments can be corrected with these clear bite trays. You'll have to speak with a dentist who can assess your teeth and tell you whether you're a good fit for Invisalign.
Recommended age range: Invisalign is for adults. However, in order to better fit teenagers' constantly growing bones and shifting teeth, Invisalign Teen was introduced, which accounts for the new teeth and molars that can grow in during the course of the treatment.
When will I see results?: Your teeth may become sensitive each time you switch to a new set of aligners. Each new tray gradually shifts the teeth, usually around .25 to .33 millimeters per set of aligners. On average, it takes 20 to 30 aligners to achieve a straighter smile over a period of nine to 18 months. Small results may be noticeable along the way.
How long it lasts: Like traditional braces, Invisalign won't continue working once you've tossed your last trays. You'll need to continue using trays for maintenance every two to four weeks.
Key benefits of Invisalign: Invisalign straightens crooked teeth without braces.
Who's Done It?
Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl confessed to using Invisalign in 2007, calling it "Netflix for your teeth."