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  • Dr Mohamed Tarek Galal

The beauty of INVISALIGN Braces

Nowadays, we live in the digital age of dentistry. Dentists all over the world rely on computers and software to do pretty much everything, from photography to diagnosis and treatment planning, and even manufacturing of certain dental items such as CAD\CAM crowns and surgical guides. One of the main aspects where the digital dental industry could be shown is the newly founded invisible braces, otherwise known as INVISALIGN.

The technology is truly remarkable, and it has opened the field of braces and orthodontics to new horizons. In the old days, where only metal braces existed, a number of limitations arose, particularly the looks of them, making them unappealing for people with cosmetic preferences and they were especially unsuitable for adults, but not anymore. The INVISALIGN technology has made it possible even for adults to seek out that smile they have always dreamed about, and not to be embarrassed to place braces on their teeth and seek out orthodontic treatment.


This is What INVISALIGN looks like

How it Works


The idea is quite simple: It is all done by the computer. All the dentist has to do is take an accurate impression (or mold) of your teeth, and send it to the INVISALIGN lab. The lab scans this impression with a special camera and a highly sophisticated software formulates a treatment plan, and generates a video showing all the phases of the treatment from beginning to end, and this video can be viewed by the patient even before beginning the treatment. This software then gives an order to a milling machine that begins to “carve out” the so called aligners (these are plastic transparent molds that accurately fit the teeth and are practically invisible – hence the name-and apply pressure to specific areas to move them; either closing spaces or opening them, or correcting crooked teeth. They also can be removed at mealtime). Each case needs about 20-25 aligners for completion, and each one last from 1-2 weeks.


Advantages

As you can probably guess, there are multiple advantages and virtually unlimited applications of this technology such as:

· The plastic molds are transparent and all but invisible, making it possible for the patient to “have braces without having braces”, in other words, correcting the crooked teeth without embarrassing metal stuck to their teeth.

· The video generated by the software enables the patient to see the outcome of the treatment even before beginning.

· Fewer appointments are needed compared to normal braces, as you only need to go only once a month or even every other month as opposed to having to go every 2-3 weeks, and the appointment itself is quite short since all the dentist has to do is take an impression.

· The whole process is generated and controlled by computers, minimizing the margin for errors and making the experience of the dentist not so important.

· They can be removed at mealtime, making eating easier and cleaning the teeth much more efficient, unlike normal braces where gum problems are quite common.


Disadvantages


But what about disadvantages? Nothing is without drawbacks. Unfortunately, their biggest advantage may well be their biggest disadvantage as well, which is being removable. This means that if the patient is cooperative and complies to the dentist’s instructions, the results would be as expected and more, but if he\she fails to wear the aligners for the specified time period, it not only prolongs the treatment time but also could have unwanted effects on the teeth. Second, these aligners are made of plastic that is thin and transparent, and therefore not particularly strong, and it is expected if they crack or break. Finally, this type of treatment takes a bit longer than normal braces, but not that much longer.

As you can see, the advantages clearly outweigh the drawbacks, and the use of the INVISALIGN technology is practically unlimited. It makes no difference if you are an adult or a child, as long as you have all permanent teeth and no baby teeth left.



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