How Do Invisalign Aligners Work?

On the invisalign web site they talk about Invisalign aligners custom-made for your teeth. How do these invisalign retainers work?

Doctor Answers 5

Invisalign - moving teeth with trays

Aligners work by putting forces on teeth in very small doses as dictated by trays resembling bleaching trays. Each tray can move a tooth an average of 0.2 mm and can also move individual teeth.

A computer CAD/CAM system visualizes the planned movement and figures out how many aligners would be needed to achieve the goal. A series of models are created, and these are used to create a series of trays, or aligners. each one is trimmed and polished and sent to the dentist or orthodontist, all at once.

Normally, 3 aligners at a time are dispensed, each one worn for 2 weeks. On average every 6 weeks the patient would return to the office and the doctor would monitor the progress, adjust the teeth as necessary, and dispense another 3 trays.

While the system allows much more precision in planning, teeth and bone do not always react the way the computer says they should, so Invisalign is not a magic pill that works for all cases.

Seattle Dentist
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Invisalign: How it gets its move on

Invisalign is a series of aligners that incrementally move teeth as prescribed by the dentist based on the required results of the patient.

The aligners are replaced every two weeks... each aligner moves the teeth a little more towards the goal of straightening the teeth.

In our office, once all the information is gathered, patients can view the final results of their alignment on the computer imaging program before committing to treatment.

Ryan Sellinger, DMD
Manhattan Dentist

Invisalign - how it works

Invisalign is a computer generated system. A dental impression is scanned into the system from which a series of steps are designed and one clear plastic tray is manufactured by the computer for each step. You wear each tray for two weeks moving the teeth small amounts. It works quite well for most situations but not all orthodontic problems. The time to completion varies from 3-18 months depending on the complexity of the case.

Mickey Bernstein, DDS
Memphis Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Progressively move teeth as you change aligners

After a treatment plan is completed by the doctor, the Invisalign company will fabricate aligners. These aligners progressively align your teeth as you switch them every two weeks. They must be worn for approximately 20-22 hours per day to be effective.

How Invisalign aligners work

Attached is a video showing how you go through a series of clear aligners with each one producing a small movement. The number of aligners depends on how much movement is needed. They are changed approximately every two weeks.

Doug Depew, DMD
Atlanta Orthodontist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.