Invisalign is a proprietary method of orthodontic treatment which uses a series of clear, removable teeth aligners used as an alternative to traditional metal dental braces. As of April 2008, more than 730,000 patients have completed or are currently in treatment.
Invisalign is designed, manufactured, and marketed by Santa Clara-based medical-device company Align Technology, Inc. Align says that over 35,790 doctors are trained to provide Invisalign treatment in the U.S., with 48,130 doctors worldwide.As of January 29, 2008, Align Technology has 1,307 employees worldwide, and has manufactured more than 32 million aligners. The company has 133 patents.
The most obvious advantage of the treatment is cosmetic: the aligners are completely transparent, therefore far more difficult to detect than traditional wire and bracket braces. This makes the method particularly popular among adults who want to straighten their teeth without the look of traditional metal braces, which are commonly worn by children and adolescents. In addition, the aligners are marketed as being more comfortable than braces. Due to the removable nature of the device, food can be consumed without the encumbrance of metallic braces.
Clinically, aligners avoid many of the side effects of traditional fixed appliances,for example the effects on the gums and supporting tissues.Almost all other types of orthodontic treatment will cause the roots of teeth to shorten (root resorption) for most patients,and demineralisation or tooth decay occurs in up to 50% of patients because (unlike Invisalign) they cannot be removed for eating and cleaning, and because they prevent accurate x-rays from being taken. Patients “graduate” to a new set of aligners in their treatment series approximately every two weeks. The aligners give less force per week and less pain than do fixed appliances (traditional metal braces). Fixed appliances are adjusted approximately every six weeks and apply greater forces.
Dr. David Lloyd Complete Dental Care 10425 W. North Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226
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