Lately, it’s been a jolly good ride in orthodontics as Invisalign has put a smile on the faces of more than five million patients the world over. The cosmetic appeal of this plastic aligner system has been the best part of it. However, aesthetics is not the only objective of orthodontics. There are cases braces, not Invisalign can adequately fix. You wouldn’t know this except you consult a professional orthodontist – so it is important you get their advice. Go through our blog post to know what dental problem Invisalign can and can not treat.
What are the orthodontic problems treatable using Invisalign?
Some orthodontic patients may find relief from the following problems with Invisalign, though it comes down to how severe the problem is or whether the problems are complex:
- Misaligned teeth. This is one of the treatment options for crooked teeth if you have the issue.
- Overbite – By description, this dental problem is where the top teeth extend way further down and over the bottom teeth. Consequently, it doesn’t allow for proper chewing and biting down on certain foods. Invisalign can fix some overbite cases by shifting the teeth such that there is an asymmetrical alignment of the upper and lower teeth in a bite.
- Underbite. Here the bottom teeth extend over the top teeth causing faster teeth erosion and speaking difficulties. And of course, It can correct this problem by shifting the bottom teeth to their original back position. Where the issue is complicated, the orthodontist may combine braces and Invisalign for the treatment. However, there are cases of underbite that clear braces cannot treat.
- Crossbite. This happens when some of the top teeth are behind the bottom instead of in front. The consequences of this problem include gum recession, chipping and wearing down of the teeth. Most crossbite cases can be fixed with Invisalign as it can shift the poorly positioned teeth to sit correctly.
- Gaps in teeth. Some people have gaps between their teeth – the teeth are not close enough as they should be. Food particles easily get stuck between teeth leading to discomfort and diseased gum. Regarding if invisible braces can fix this issue, yes, it can. Invisalign can move the teeth together to create a more beautiful smile, but not all gaps can be closed.
- Open bite. The top and bottom teeth hang in mid-air in an open bite, hence the name. It can adjust the teeth to come in close as they should.
- Crowded teeth. Twisted and overlapped teeth happen due to the teeth being unable to fit into a small-sized jaw. This is what is referred to as crowded teeth. Less space between teeth encourages leftover food particles to hide, form plaque, tartar and eventually decay the teeth and disease the gum. It can treat some cases of crowding; it comes down to how serious and complex the issue is.
What Invisalign cannot do
Undoubtedly functional, but Invisalign lacks the strength braces have to move teeth. This means that for very severe orthodontic cases where teeth movement required is high, braces are better to get optimum results.
Under the following conditions, Invisalign cannot function so well as braces.
- Tooth shape. There are some types of teeth over which aligners do not fit: round, short, severely tipped or pegged teeth. In this case, the trays cannot hold the teeth firm enough to move them.
- Tooth position. For crowded teeth, rotation may be necessary to realign the teeth. Invisalign cannot rotate the molars into position if the rotation required is above 20 degrees. The degree of rotation may be higher for other parts of the teeth like incisors, premolars and canines.
A forward or backward tilt may also be required to reposition a tooth in a crowded mouth. Where the degree of tilt is more than 45 degrees, it will be difficult for Invisalign to realign such a tooth successfully.
- Wide gaps between teeth. Only gaps 6mm wide can be closed up by Invisalign on both arches (upper and lower). Anything above this gap size may not get fixed by clear aligners.
- Intrusion and extrusion. In orthodontics, increasing and decreasing teeth position is possible to achieve a uniform teeth height. With braces, teeth can be moved into the right place, but with Invisalign, little movement can happen in the front teeth, while the back teeth cannot be moved.
- Midline movements. Sometimes, there is a mismatch between the midline (the imaginary line running down the centre of the face) and the front teeth of some patients. With Invisalign, a difference in this match by 2mm can be corrected either to the left or right on both upper and lower arches. Any difference above 2mm will require the use of braces.
- Dental work done previously. This may not work for some patients if they have had certain types of dental work already done on them. For instance, if a dental bridge has been installed previously, it won’t allow the application of Invisalign. Orthodontic patients wearing crowns or porcelain veneers will find it difficult to have Invisalign attachments as the surface does not support any adherence.
- Recent dental work. If, after having Invisalign retainers designed, a patient gets porcelain veneers or crowns, the Invisalign won’t have a good fit or be functional in realigning the teeth. To be on the right track, the orthodontist will check any prior dental work to ascertain the suitability of Invisalign before they commence treatment.
- Remember that every other dental restoration must be put on hold for later use if aligners have been produced. It is only after Invisalign treatment that they can be applied. This is because as little as dental work on a single tooth can render Invisalign ineffective.
- If a patient needs extraction before or during treatment, Invisalign will not work.
- Clear attachments. Most times, the choice of Invisalign stems from its near invisibility. But some patients require attachments along with Invisalign. These appliances are quite noticeable.
The field of orthodontics is evolving
As a result of improving technology and the growing experience of orthodontists in the use of Invisalign, its inabilities are decreasing continuously. We now see Invisalign correcting complicated cases in a better way today than it did yesterday.
Would you like to have Invisalign but don’t know if you are an eligible candidate? Just book an appointment at our Harley Street Dental Clinic. It is obligation-free, and any of our qualified dentists will properly address your concerns.