Animations showing basic orthodontic techniques that are often used with Invisalign®.

This page contains pre and post-treatment simulations showing some of basic orthodontic techniques that dentists use to straighten teeth.

And although the ones we've illustrated were chosen because they're frequently used with the Invisalign® system, they're also routinely used with all other types of dental braces too.

A) Using Invisalign® to close spaces between teeth.

Removable braces are typically considered to be an appropriate treatment choice for closing relatively small tooth gaps.

Closing tooth gaps with clear braces.

As a general rule of thumb, the total amount of spacing involved, cumulatively, should measure no more than 6mm per arch.

Here're some digital smile makeovers that illustrate the types of tooth gaps that Invisalign® might be used to close.

B) Crowded teeth are sometimes narrowed first, and then realigned.

Crowded teeth can be narrowed, and then realigned using Invisalign®

Some cases that involve tooth crowding can be transformed into, and then treated as, a case where the bulk of the tooth movement involves space closure.

With this approach, the dentist will shave down the crowded teeth just slightly using their dental drill or a diamond-coated strip (a process termed "tooth stripping").

It's then possible to use braces (Invisalign® or traditional) to realign the teeth within the same amount of space that already existed.

C) Tooth crowding can sometimes be resolved by "expanding" the patient's dental arch.

Crowded teeth can be realigned by expanding the dental arch.

Another approach that can be with the Invisalign® system is to resolve tooth crowding by expanding (flaring out) the patient's teeth just slightly.

The slight amount of arch expansion created (typically no more than 2 to 4 mm) provides the space that's needed for straightening the teeth.

D) The space needed for orthodontic treatment may be gained by extracting teeth.

One way to create the space that is needed to realign a patient's teeth is to extract one, or a few, of them. "Extraction" cases are commonplace in the orthodontic world. In most cases, they usually only involve the extraction of back teeth (usually bicuspids), often in pairs.

Space needed to realign teeth is sometimes created by extracting teeth.

An example that involves front teeth.

This animation illustrates a case where a single crowded front tooth is extracted. Philosophically this approach may seem to stray from the ideal. But, from a practical standpoint, it is sometimes chosen.

When it is used, it almost always involves the realignment of lower front teeth. And yes, the patient will end up only having three lower incisors (positioned in a space that's normally occupied by four). But the vast majority of people who see this smile will never notice.

Rotated teeth can be realigned using Invisalign®.

E) Rotated teeth can be realigned with removable braces.

Cases involving minor tooth rotations can be suitable candidates for Invisalign® treatment.

It's usually considered best suited for cases where the teeth have a rotation that's less than 20 degrees from normal.

["Attachments" (strategically placed lumps of dental bonding) may be needed for those teeth that have a shape, angulation or positioning that interferes with effective aligner-to-tooth interaction.]

A comparison of the appearance of Invisalign® vs. traditional braces.

F) A patient's treatment might involve both Invisalign® and traditional braces.

It's possible that Invisalign® might be used for just a portion of a patient's total treatment plan.

Their case might be started with traditional braces, so to accomplish those types of tooth movements that can be difficult for removable aligners to make. And then, once that stage has been completed, their case finished by wearing invisible braces.

Since both types of braces are involved, the total cost for this type of treatment plan would be expected to be greater than if it was treated with traditional braces only.

Invisalign® Braces
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Digital makeovers that feature orthodontic treatment.