Many people feel dissatisfied with their smile, whether their teeth cause problems with the way they eat, speak, and breathe or they simply wish their teeth looked more aesthetically pleasing. It can sometimes be a combination of these issues that puts a dent in people’s self-confidence.
Whatever the case may be, lots of people also find visiting an orthodontist a daunting experience – often worrying that if they want to fix their smile, they’ll have to get metal braces that will make them even more self-conscious about their appearance.
However, there are discreet alternatives available that can straighten teeth without traditional braces. Invisalign is one of the most popular solutions around the world for creating a straight and evenly spaced smile using clear plastic aligners.
Custom-fit to your teeth and made from flexible transparent plastic, nobody has to know that you’re using Invisalign aligners to improve your smile if you don’t want them to. You’ll simply wear the series of aligners for 20–22 hours a day throughout your treatment, taking the trays out to eat, drink, and clean your teeth before you put them back in.
Invisalign can treat a variety of orthodontic cases, from crooked or overcrowded teeth to gaps between teeth and moderately misaligned bites. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, read on to learn how Invisalign London could help you.
Invisalign to widen smile
A narrow smile typically means that your palate and upper jaw have grown into a tapered shape rather than the usual ‘U’ shape. This makes your smile look smaller, as only six front teeth or fewer will be visible when you smile naturally.
Narrow smiles are mainly caused by genetics, as the natural shape of your jaw is hereditary, like the other facial features you’re born with. They can also develop with age, as the maxillary arch narrows when teeth tip inwards over time, creating more space between the teeth and cheeks.
As a narrow smile is more likely to be caused by bone structure than misaligned teeth, cases where there is a severe tapering that affects speech and eating may require more intensive treatments to widen the upper jaw. This is usually done using palate expanders for children between 7 and 12 years old, as our facial bones begin to fuse permanently by 13 years old.
However, while Invisalign cannot change the shape of the jaw or palate, it can help to make cosmetic changes in less severe cases so your smile appears wider than before. Moving crowded upper teeth into a new position that straightens them out evenly, lining up and facing forward, can make your smile look broader.
Even shifting teeth by just a few millimetres can have a surprisingly visible impact on how your smile looks at any age. Your dentist can create an Invisalign treatment plan that will gradually spread out crowded teeth or turn crooked teeth inwards or outwards as needed, resulting in a straighter and wider-looking smile.
Invisalign to fix overbite
An overbite, sometimes called an overjet or deep bite, happens when the front teeth stick out in front of the bottom teeth. It’s common for most people’s top teeth to overlap their bottom teeth a little, but when the overlap becomes too large and the top teeth stick out too far, the resulting overbite can cause many issues.
Overbites result from genetics, bad habits like thumb-sucking in childhood, or a combination of both. Regardless of the cause, overbites can make it difficult to bite into food and chew properly, causing soreness and headaches from jaw strain. Overlapping teeth can also affect the way you speak, and uneven wear of the enamel can lead to gum disease and cavities.
This is why it’s important to seek orthodontic treatment for an overbite as early as possible. It can help to align the jaws, improving facial structure and creating a symmetrical smile, but it’s best to do this in childhood while your jaws are still growing.
Invisalign can be used to correct overbites in tweens and teenagers by using attachments instead of the standard clear trays. Mandibular advancement Invisalign adds precisely shaped wings to the sides of the aligners at the back to help move the lower and upper jaws into alignment, while shifting the teeth at the same time.
This method isn’t effective for adults, whose jaws will be completely developed, but there is another system available that can use SmartForce attachments to correct overbites caused by incorrectly positioned teeth. This does involve bonding attachments to some teeth to improve aligner grip, but these enamel-coloured ‘buttons’ are still less noticeable than standard braces.
Invisalign works for mild to moderate overbites, but very severe or complex cases may require other options such as traditional braces or surgery to reposition the jaw.
Invisalign to correct bite
In addition to correcting overbites, Invisalign can also correct a range of other bite problems. For example, underbites, which are the opposite of overbites – an underbite involves the lower jaw jutting out too far, with the bottom teeth sticking out in front of the top teeth.
Underbites can cause the same health issues as overbites, including difficulties with eating, speaking, and breathing properly, which can also result in low self-esteem. The same treatments also apply – with it being easier to correct jaw-related underbites during childhood to adolescence, but still being possible to correct mild to moderate underbites caused by tooth positioning in adulthood.
When you close your mouth or bite down, your upper and lower teeth should come together evenly with equal pressure. This isn’t possible with bite problems such as crossbites, where several teeth overlap on the top and/or bottom instead of resting together comfortably.
This can cause jaw pain, irregular enamel wear, and receding gums, and can also affect the appearance of the facial structure. Correcting crossbites with Invisalign involves moving the teeth into the right position to meet evenly without sticking out, just like straightening crooked teeth.
Another problem that often occurs when children suck their thumbs or use dummies too much in childhood is an open bite. In this case, the top and bottom rows of teeth don’t meet at all when the mouth is closed, leaving an open gap between them.
This makes it difficult to eat and causes speech problems, along with increasing the risk of uneven wear and breakage. However, Invisalign can correct open bites, too – using careful ‘staging’ that moves individual teeth at specific times until they’re all in the right position.
Invisalign to close gap
Gaps in between teeth, known as diastema or diastemata, can occur anywhere in the mouth, but gap teeth most commonly present as a space between the two front teeth. Some people embrace this as a unique feature, while others want to close their gaps for aesthetic and health reasons.
Gaps create extra space for food debris to get trapped and plaque to build up, with the gum in between more exposed. This can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, as well as overcrowding and bite problems from unevenly spaced teeth growing in.
It’s possible to fix gap teeth using veneers or composite bonding, which build up the tooth using colour-matched, bio-friendly materials to restore the function and appearance of the teeth on either side of the gap without actually moving the teeth.
However, if there are further spacing issues or crooked teeth involved, it would be better to straighten the teeth and move them into alignment using braces or aligners. Invisalign typically moves one tooth at a time until gradually your teeth have all moved into a new position, closing the gap without leaving gaps between other teeth.
This works best on gaps 2mm wide or less, though Invisalign can be used to close gaps up to 6mm wide. Of course, the bigger the gap, the longer the treatment schedule will be to close it. Invisalign treatment is always followed by prescribing a retainer, which is especially important to wear at night to keep your teeth in place and prevent the gap from reopening.
If your gap is larger than 6mm or occurs in conjunction with a jaw-based bite problem, you may be recommended to use traditional braces and auxiliary appliances to align the teeth and jaws.
Book your consultation for Invisalign London
Everyone’s teeth and jaws are different, so there isn’t an off-the-shelf solution that can correct every type of tooth or jaw placement problem. That’s why, to find out whether Invisalign would be suitable for improving your smile, you must book a consultation with a qualified Invisalign dentist.
Factors such as the shape, position, and rotation of your teeth, as well as your age and any other dental work you’ve had, can all affect your eligibility for Invisalign. When you attend your consultation, we’ll examine your teeth and make 3D scans to map a possible treatment plan that can move your teeth into the best position over a scheduled period of time.
Your Invisalign plan will involve wearing a series of custom-fit thermoplastic aligners for 20–22 hours a day, switching aligners every 1–2 weeks to target different teeth, and visiting us every 4–6 weeks to monitor your progress. Mild problems could be fixed in as little as 3 months, while more severe issues could take up to 2–3 years – though the average Invisalign treatment takes 12–18 months.
To learn more about what Invisalign can do to treat different bite problems, get in touch with The Dental Centre by calling 020 7380 0034 or emailing [email protected]. As expert providers of Invisalign in London, we’ll gladly help you to improve your smile with Invisalign.