How Are Invisalign Aligners Made?

In recent years, Invisalign has become extremely popular as a method of tooth realignment without the look or feel of metal braces. Many are discovering the numerous advantages that Invisalign offers in comparison to traditional metal braces and are enjoying the benefits.

But if you are like many people, you want to know more. You want to “get behind the scenes” and understand what this dental product is made of, how it is made, and what makes it work the way it does.

If so, read on, because we are going to take a look at how Invisalign aligners are made to better understand why they have all the benefits they have.

Invisalign Is Made Out of SmartTrack© Material

Did you know that Invisalign trays are manufactured out of a special, patented material dubbed SmartTrack? SmartTrack is a kind of acrylic plastic that has been formulated to offer very specific features. 

For example, SmartTrack material is ideal for applying a consistent but gentle force to teeth to gradually nudge them in the direction they need to go. It is strong, yet soft, and exercises pinpointed control over tooth movements over time.

Also, SmartTrack is comfortable to wear, easy to put on and take off, fits snugly around teeth, and works faster than would other materials. This makes it easy to remove Invisalign trays during meals or to clean them and then re-place them without difficulty.

Why is it called SmartTrack? Good question! The name comes from the tiny blue indicators built into the aligner tray. These serve to “track” the progress of teeth as they realign but without making the aligners easily visible to anyone who doesn’t already know you are wearing them.

And of course, this material is completely safe, non-toxic, and BPA-free. It will not release any undesirable chemicals or the like – it’s 100% safe to wear!

Finally, note that SmartTrack is very lightweight. That way, your mouth won’t feel heavy while you wear your Invisalign trays. That’s a big contrast compared to metal braces.

Here’s How Invisalign Trays Are Made!

Unlike braces, Invisalign is not manufactured at a factory and then simply adjusted to the individual patient. Each Invisalign tray is custom made just before your treatment plan begins.

Your orthodontist will take a detailed digital scan of your mouth – teeth, gums, and all, that will show three-dimensional contours. It will indicate the way your bite pattern currently is, and this will then be compared to what you want it to be. 

High-definition images then map out the projected progress of your teeth as they are to be realigned from current to desired position. This allows for the manufacture of a series of aligner trays that correspond to each step along the way. You wear each tray for about two weeks before switching to the next tray in your customized series.

An experienced orthodontist will have your Invisalign aligners made at a lab or in-office. Typically, this is done via a 3D printing process, which is itself an amazing technological breakthrough. Your orthodontist will fit the tray to your mouth to make sure it fits snugly like it’s supposed to and may need to trim away a small amount of material so the aligner will be more comfortable on the gumline. But basically, the trays are just printed up based on scans and fit perfectly.

You can literally get your full set of aligners on the same day and then just switch them out at two-week intervals for as long as your treatment plan lasts. Usually, that will be from 6 to 18 months, but this varies greatly based on the condition of your mouth.

Is Invisalign Right For Me?

There are many distinct advantages to choosing Invisalign to correct various forms of tooth malocclusion (misalignment), including:

  • No one will know you have them on because they are clear and almost “invisible.”
  • More comfortable to wear and will not hurt your teeth, gums, or inner cheeks like metal braces’ brackets and wires sometimes can.
  • Easier to clean and you can take them off for normal dental and oral hygiene.
  • Can be taken off briefly to eat, making them much more convenient and less restrictive than traditional braces.
  • The cost is comparable to braces and may even cost less since you need fewer dental visits during treatment. Dental insurance will often cover Invisalign.

One way to get a better idea of whether Invisalign is right for you is to listen to customer reviews of those who have worn them. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, most people being satisfied with the process and the results. You should also talk to a local orthodontist who offers Invisalign services to gain further information and answers to all of your questions about Invisalign.

Invisalign is especially popular with teenagers and young adults who are often “smile-conscious,” but it is certainly not restricted to these groups. The system can work for just about anyone. There may be a few exceptions where metal braces would have to be used based on the type or severity of tooth misalignment involved, but that is relatively uncommon.

To learn more about Invisalign and how it works, contact Lecompte Orthodontics today for a free consultation and to schedule an in-person interview!

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