There is no doubt that the advent of Clear Aligner Therapy (e.g. Invisalign, 3M Clarity, ClearCorrect, etc.) has changed the way that orthodontics is done. It is so appealing; patients love that we can now move teeth without the need for braces and wires! People often ask if they are a candidate for Invisalign, and the goal of this blog is to help answer that question.
It is important to keep in mind that clear aligners, like braces, are tools for moving teeth. At Shine Orthodontics, we know how to use all of the tools and we are pretty good at all of them, too. Like other tools, though, there are some situations where one might be better than the other, and other situations where it does not really matter.
We usually prefer Clear Aligner Therapy for the cases that would be considered mild to moderate. These are the cases where there is some crowding, and maybe a little bit of a bite issue. The severe cases are when there is severe crowding, the rule of thumb is if the crowding is more than the width of one entire tooth, or if we need to erupt an impacted tooth, etc. In those cases, braces may really be a better option.
When we start talking about overbite versus open bite, the choice between clear aligners and traditional braces becomes more interesting. Overbite is the amount that the front teeth overlap each other, and an open bite is when there is no overlap at all of the front teeth. One of the biggest differences between aligners and braces has to do with the ability to control the vertical position of the front teeth. Aligners will naturally cause a deepening of the bite, or in other words, will increase the amount of overlap of the front teeth.
Conversely, braces almost always cause a slight opening of the bite or a decrease in the amount of overlap of the front teeth. For this reason, people who have a slight open bite are a GREAT candidate for aligners. The natural deepening of the bite from aligners is very useful to correct an open bite. Conversely, patients who have a deep bite (too much overbite) become a very difficult case to treat with aligners, because the natural bite deepening that occurs is the opposite of what you want.
Your best move is to simply ask the orthodontist. A consultation does not cost you anything but an hour of your time! But, I hope that these basic guidelines can help you to get an idea of what this discussion with the orthodontist might look like for you.