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How do Invisalign braces work?

Gregory J. Jorgensen, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

The Invisalign system is a series of clear plastic aligners that sequentially move the teeth each time you change them. Your orthodontist first corrects your smile on a digital model of your teeth and then a computer calculates the sequence and speed of tooth movements to be incorporated into a set of customized aligners. These aligners are shells that snap very tightly over your teeth. You wear each set of aligners for two weeks full-time and then move on to the next set. The computer constructs the aligners so that your teeth are in a slightly different position in each set. When you seat them, the plastic puts pressure on individual teeth causing them shift until they fit perfectly into the aligner. Two weeks later the old set is replaced with a new set and the process continues until your teeth are in the position your orthodontist prescribed at the beginning of treatment.

Invisalign braces correct orthodontic problems by moving teeth slowly into an improved position. Orthodontic problems include bite problems and crowded, misaligned, or poorly spaced teeth.

Invisalign braces are clear trays that are placed on the teeth. The braces look similar to a plastic retainer or bite guard and are virtually invisible.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.