Invisalign may seem like magic. All you have to do is show up to your appointment with your dentist, get some scans of your teeth, then come back a few weeks later, get your aligners, and start correcting your teeth. Compared to other orthodontic treatment options like braces, Invisalign may seem much more simple and “hands-off.”
However, what this actually means is that you simply don’t see most of the work that goes into manufacturing your aligners. It goes on “behind the scenes” – as your dentist and Invisalign collaborate to create unique, custom-built aligners just for you. Curious about the process and want to learn more? Get the details about how Invisalign braces plastic aligners are manufactured now.
1. It Starts With Your Consultation
First, you will need to see an experienced Invisalign dentist for a consultation. During your appointment, your dentist will see if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. Then, images of your teeth will need to be collected, to design the aligners.
Depending on the office, you’ll need to get dental molds taken, or your teeth may be scanned using an advanced tool like the iTero digital scanner. X-rays may also be taken. Photographs of your teeth and face will also be taken.
Once your dentist has collected all of the necessary records and data, it is sent off to Invisalign, with detailed information about your smile, and the desired position of the teeth.
2. Your Teeth Are Scanned And Modeled By Invisalign
At Invisalign, a technician will scan all of the data collected by your dentist into a special computer program, creating a unique 3D model of your teeth and mouth. Then, using this model and the instructions provided to them by your dentist, they will begin moving the teeth, step-by-step, into the final, desired position. After this, the information is sent back to your dentist for a review.
3. Your Dentist Analyzes The Scans And Model And Makes Corrections
Once the technician at Invisalign has developed the initial treatment plan, your dentist will view the 3D model and the plan. This allows your dentist to provide more input, and ensure that your treatment is perfect.
After they make recommendations, the technician at Invisalign will make changes to the 3D model and treatment plan. This process is usually repeated several times, to ensure that the teeth are moved properly.
4. Your Aligners Are Built, Sculpted And Trimmed, And Sent To Your Dentist
Once your treatment plan has been finalized, Invisalign will begin manufacturing your aligners. Your aligners will be made out of patented SmartTrack® plastic, a special type of flexible, durable thermoplastic.
A mold is built for your aligners and is made out of a special, photo-sensitive liquid resin, which hardens when exposed to a laser. Then, the SmartTrack® plastic is heated and injected into the mold. As it cools, it hardens into a retainer-like shape, custom-fit to your teeth and mouth. Each aligner is manufactured to move your teeth by about .25 to .33 millimeters.
After the aligner cools, it’s trimmed to fit your gum line perfectly and remove any excess material. Then, each aligner is checked to make sure that it’s clear and strong, and free of any imperfections. Then, it’s sent to your dentist, and you’ll start wearing it! The entire process of designing your Invisalign treatment usually takes about 4 weeks, from the initial scans/impressions of your teeth to the first set of aligners being received by your dentist.
Begin Your Treatment, And Wear Your Aligners (For At Least 20 Hours Per Day)
As you can see, creating an Invisalign treatment program is quite an involved and complex process. This is why it’s so important to wear your Invisalign aligners properly – for 20 hours per day, at a minimum. Ideally, you should wear them for 22+ hours per day.
If you don’t wear your aligners properly, your treatment plan will be completely thrown off. You may have to delay wearing a new set of aligners or go back to an old set because your teeth haven’t moved enough to wear your new aligners. In extreme cases, your treatment may need to be restarted completely.
So, once your plan has been developed, wear your aligners religiously. It will save you time, money, and headaches, and ensure that your treatment goes smoothly. See your dentist to get started, and begin working towards your dream smile!
This content is sponsored by Ben Obirek.