Like all good things, Invisalign has continued to evolve over the years and today can effectively correct most orthodontic problems. Invisalign can be used to correct crowding, spacing, cross bite, over bite and over jet.
Crowding is caused by a shortage of jaw space for all your teeth to fit properly. When left untreated, this condition will get worse with time creating an oral hygiene problem. Plaque buildup in hard to reach spaces can lead to caries as well as advanced periodontal issues. After a comprehensive examination that reveals you do not have any structural conditions that would require additional procedures, you are able to discuss your treatment expectations and be sure Invisalign will exceed them. Invisalign works with a series of aligners to first upright teeth to create space and/or widen the arch. This not only creates space to then align the crowded teeth, but also creates a broader buccal corridor. Sometimes, IPR (interproximal reduction) is necessary to create small amounts of space as well. This is a simple procedure that removes a small (0.5mm or less) amount of dental enamel interproximally (in between) to create space as needed.
Spacing, gaps, or diastemas occur for several reasons. It is often caused from abnormal continued growth of the jawbone, however can also be caused by microdontia (abnormally small teeth) and/or missing teeth. Spacing is harmful to the teeth because they are no longer protected by the adjacent tooth, allowing for an increased risk of periodontal problems and shifting of the teeth. Invisalign works diligently to close spaces easily and upright teeth in order to create space for future fixed prosthesis such as a dental implant. Teeth should always be properly aligned prior to moving forward with restorative treatment.
Overbite is another name for overjet. This occurs when the maxillary (upper) teeth bite over the mandibular (lower) teeth. Looking in the mouth you will mostly see the maxillary teeth and little to none of the mandibular (lower) teeth. This can be the result of many conditions such as genetics, overdevelopment of the bone supporting the teeth, or bad oral habits (ex. thumb sucking) to name a few. Invisalign can effectively re-align the teeth to reduce the amount of overjet to ideal. In some cases it may be necessary for the provider or orthodontist to place a bracket or composite attachment for elastics. Your provider will discuss this option if it is needed. Not treating this condition properly can lead to harmful and painful jaw and joint conditions as well as extensive wear on the posterior teeth that will be costly in the future.
Underbite occurs when the mandibular (lower) jaw protrudes over the maxillary (upper)jaw. This is what some refer to as the “bulldog bite”. This is a result of undergrowth of the maxillary jaw or overgrowth of the mandibular jaw. In some cases missing upper teeth can also result in an underbite. Severe cases are usually treated with orthognathic surgery if interceptive orthodontics (phase I) does not take place. Invisalign can effectively treat minor cases of underbite as well. It is a more complicated case for Invisalign so a Premier provider or orthodontist would be the best choice. If left untreated an underbite can lead to severe wear and jaw pain, along with extensive and costly restorative treatment.
Open bite is just as it sounds, the teeth do not make contact with the opposing teeth for a proper bite, leaving an “open” space. It makes it difficult to bite into foods and/or rip using your incisors. Most cases this is a genetic condition causing abnormal jaw structure, but can also be caused be extreme thumb sucking. Invisalign is able to extrude and intrude teeth using small composite attachments to help the teeth move within the aligners. Severe cases may call for surgical procedures as well. Not correcting an open bite can cause pain, speech impairments, and TMJ complications.
Crossbite occurs when the mandibular and maxillary arches are both out of alignment. One side of the teeth will bite on the inside of the opposing arch and the other side with bite on the outside of the opposing jaw. This occurs on the sides and in the front of the mouth. Such wear if left untreated can lead to occlusal wear, bone loss and gum disease. Invisalign can effectively treat this condition with a combination of aligners and sometimes the use of elastics as seen with traditional orthodontics.