Types of Braces: Invisalign

Invisalign Aligner tray

Continuing our series on different types of braces, this week we’re talking about Invisalign. This is one of the newest types of orthodontic treatment and is one of the most convenient to use.

Created by a College Student

In the late 1990s, a young Stanford student named Zia Chishti was going through orthodontic treatment to straighten his teeth. After braces, he kept wearing his retainer, but had been struggling with it. He had the idea that the retainer should be used throughout the entire orthodontic treatment process.

With his friend, Kelsey Wirth, and other partners from Stanford University, Chishti created Align Technology, which later developed the aligners for the Invisalign process.

How Does It Work?

Invisalign is the closest option to invisible braces out there. You don’t have to wear hard brackets or wires across your teeth because Invisalign uses clear, plastic aligner trays to push your teeth into the correct place.

Your orthodontist will take digital 3D scans of your teeth and send them off to the Invisalign laboratories. The technicians there then take your measurements and the plan that your doctor has prescribed and create a set of aligners for you that gradually shift your teeth into a straighter position.

The orthodontist will give you five aligners to start. You then swap one out every two weeks to slowly start shifting your teeth. Eventually, you’ll go through every aligner in your set and will end up with a beautiful, straight smile.

Different Types

As if there weren’t enough options to choose from in braces, Invisalign offers four different types of treatment: Express, Lite, Complete, and Teen.

Invisalign Express is perfect for treating cases with minor spacing and crowding issues. These offer the shortest treatment time of any braces, including the other Invisalign products. Usually only needed for less than six months, Invisalign Express is the perfect option for helping with your minor orthodontic needs.

Invisalign Lite is for more moderate orthodontic cases. Maybe you had braces when you were younger but have not been consistent in wearing your retainer and your teeth have shifted. Invisalign Lite is perfect for correcting that and other less severe issues. And it usually only takes seven to nine months.

Invisalign Complete is the standard Invisalign product and treats the widest array of orthodontic problems. Designed to help more time-consuming cases, Invisalign Complete takes the longest out of any of the Invisalign products, but as with the rest, it barely interrupts your lifestyle.

Invisalign Teen is for our younger patients who might have just found out they need braces for the first time. Having braces is tough in school, so why not go with Invisalign? No need to be self-conscious about metal brackets because Invisalign is basically invisible. Invisalign Teen is used for moderate orthodontic issues.

How Is It Different?

Invisalign barely influences your lifestyle as each aligner can be taken out whenever you need to. However, it’s important to wear them on a regular basis or your teeth will never be aligned properly. You’ll need to be sure to remove them when you eat and when you brush and floss your teeth.

This convenience is great for adults who are working in professional businesses, or teenagers who don’t want to deal with traditional braces.


Read our blog about Why Invisalign can be better than Regular Braces


If you have mild to moderate orthodontic issues and want to know if Invisalign is a good option for you, call us today at (843) 4-BRACES.

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