Barely There

An inside look at invisible aligners.

Illustration by Andrew Joyce

To someone who remembers the days when orthodontic braces came only in silver metal, invisible aligners are a huge step up.

The process for attaining clear aligners begins with a digital scan, which can predict the treatment results and provide patients with a 3D rendering of their future teeth. “It is really cool technology. It will give you a very good idea about what you can expect, although it is not always exact,” says Dr. Graham Gardner, a Richmond orthodontist who has completed more than 3,000 Invisalign cases to date.

From the scans, a series of custom-made aligners are created and sent every week or two to the patient, until the treatment is completed. The aligners gradually move the patient’s teeth into place—no metal brackets or wires to contend with. The patient only needs to visit the orthodontist every eight to 10 weeks. According to Gardner, the pricing is the same as traditional braces.

Patients often ask when they can use invisible aligners instead of braces. “Invisible aligners can be used to treat mild to severe crowding, spacing issues, open bites, overbites, underbites, skeletal problems, and many other situations with aesthetic, functional, and health concerns,” he says. “Some orthodontists are able to treat almost every case with Invisalign because of their level of education and experience.”

“Invisalign is another way of moving teeth,” he adds, “and if you understand the concepts and risks of moving teeth properly, then you can expect excellent, healthy results.”


Want to read more on dental health? Pick up a copy of our August 2019 issue.

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