In the 25+ years since its introduction, Invisalign has been used to successfully manage millions of patients. In addition to its ability to deliver successful orthodontic treatment, Invisalign offers several benefits–including its near-invisibility–that make it an in-demand treatment method. 

However, Invisalign is not for everyone. There are some situations where Invisalign just can’t deliver the results you need, and in these cases, we may recommend traditional braces or another orthodontic technique. At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Lee’s Summit, we offer many orthodontic treatment options. This allows us to match you with the approach that will deliver the results you want as well as the best experience possible.

When Invisalign Works

Invisalign is an excellent orthodontic treatment. It can accomplish a wide range of tooth movements, making it a great choice for most people looking to improve their smile for cosmetic reasons. Invisalign is a good choice for:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Tilted teeth

If you’re affected by any of these issues and looking to improve the appearance of your smile, Invisalign may just be the right option for you.

When Invisalign Isn’t the Best

Invisalign can adjust your smile in all the ways traditional braces can. However, the further your teeth need to move, the less predictable Invisalign becomes. For Invisalign, unpredictable results mean that you may go through your course of aligners only to find your teeth aren’t where you want them to be. You might even have to use extra aligners to achieve your results, or perhaps you won’t be able to achieve them at all. 

During your orthodontic consultation, our dentists will evaluate the amount of tooth movement you need and let you know if the amount required for your teeth exceeds the predictable amount for Invisalign. In the following cases, Invisalign can provide little or no improvement before it becomes unpredictable.

Midline Changes

The midline is the point between the two large, central incisors. If this part of your smile isn’t aligned with your facial structure or between the two arches of your teeth, you might want to move it. Invisalign can’t reliably move the midline of your smile very much. Anything more than about 1/12 of an inch is too much for Invisalign. If you want to move the midline of your smile more than this, you will want to look at other orthodontic treatment options. 

Movement of Molars

The molars are the large, square-looking teeth at the back of your mouth. These teeth do the bulk of chewing, with large, sturdy roots supporting them. This makes it hard for them to move, especially for Invisalign. If you need these teeth moved significantly, you will likely want braces rather than Invisalign. 

Expansion of the Jaw

Orthodontic treatment isn’t just about moving your teeth. Sometimes, we want to use orthodontics to expand and reshape your upper or lower jaw. This is especially true during orthotropic treatment, where the goal is to improve the function of your bite as well as its appearance. 

Although Invisalign does market palate expansion, it is less effective than other options for expanding your jaw. 

Moving the Tooth Back into the Bone

Sometimes, a tooth comes out of the bone more than it should. This is described as an over-erupted tooth, and it can occur for several reasons. You might have lost a tooth, which creates a space that the tooth in the opposite arch can erupt into. Or perhaps your teeth are so crooked that your teeth don’t meet, allowing some of the teeth to erupt more. In this case, achieving a healthy bite means forcing the over-erupted tooth back into the jaw. Invisalign is not good at achieving this, and if you need it as part of your orthodontic treatment, you will want to use a different approach. 

Functional Bite Changes

If you want to change how your bite functions, not just the appearance of your teeth, consider something other than Invisalign. This includes orthodontic treatment to help with sleep apnea or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD)

Invisalign isn’t great for these functional bite changes because they often depend on movements that Invisalign isn’t good at, such as moving molars or expanding your jaw.

Invisalign Isn’t Right If You’re Not Committed

In addition to asking if Invisalign is right for your tooth movements, it’s important to ask whether Invisalign is right for your personality.

First, make sure you’re capable of following Invisalign’s guidelines. Invisalign is removable, but to get good results, you must wear the aligners for at least 20 hours a day, and 22 hours is best. If you know that, given the option, you might not wear them for the recommended amount of time, either because you forget or make bad choices, then fixed appliances, including braces, might be better for you. 

Also, Invisalign is more convenient in most ways, but it requires removing your aligners whenever you eat or drink anything but water. Then, you have to brush and floss your teeth before putting the aligners back in. If you don’t think you can do this, Invisalign might not be right for you.

Find the Right Orthodontic Treatment in Lee’s Summit

At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, we offer multiple options for orthodontic treatment. We will never push a particular solution because it’s the only one we offer–we work hard to match every patient with the best orthodontic treatment for them. 

If you want to talk to one of our dentists about orthodontics, please call (816) 795-1000 or use our online form today to request an appointment at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Lee’s Summit.