Invisalign

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Invisalign is a trademarked name for a proprietary method of orthodontics developed by Align Technology, Incorporated. It is billed as an "invisible" way of straightening teeth without using traditional braces, instead using a series of custom fabricated aligners designed using 3D technology to gradually and sequentially move teeth to their desired positions.

The product initially met with resistance from many orthodontists who criticized the manufacturer for rushing the product into production and concentrating too heavily on marketing at the expense of product quality. The company claims that preliminary issues have largely been remedied in the last several years. Now over 70% of all US orthodontists are certified to treat patients using Invisalign.

The primary advantage of Invisalign is cosmetic; the aligners are difficult to detect, rather than invisible per se, and therefore has become particularly popular among adults who want to straighten their teeth without the unflattering look of traditional metal braces, more commonly worn by children and adolescents. Another advantage over traditional braces is that the aligners can easily be removed for eating and brushing teeth. The treatment typically requires fewer visits to an orthodontist as well. However, Invisalign treatment is typically more costly than traditional braces, though cost of treatment varies considerably depending on the mark-up applied by the orthodontist. Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces unable to correct orthodontic issues such as severe crowding, openbites, overbites or underbites. In addition, being removable, the aligners are at risk of being lost or damaged, and they must be worn constantly to avoid delaying the treatment process. Because of this potential, many orthodontists do not use this treatment for children or teenagers whose second molars (12 year molars) have not erupted.

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