How Invisalign Has Evolved Over the Years

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smiling woman about to put in Invisalign tray

Invisalign came to the U.S. in 1999, and since then, it has completely changed the way people think about orthodontics. Before this, orthodontics was primarily considered to be a treatment for teenagers, and very few adults chose to get braces even if they really wanted straighter teeth. Now, approximately 25% of all orthodontic patients are adults, and this is largely thanks to Invisalign making it easier for older patients to get treatment. The world has changed a lot since 1999, and so has Invisalign! Keep reading to learn how it has evolved over the decades and see why it’s still one of the best options available for creating healthy, beautiful smiles.

The Length of Treatment

The average treatment time for Invisalign was 12 months or longer when it was first developed. Today, that average is about 6 months. This is largely thanks to orthodontists becoming more familiar with the treatment and being able to better apply it. But, it’s also important to note that these numbers are just averages, so individual cases might fall out of this range based on their severity.

3D Impressions

If you wanted Invisalign before 2006, you would have to get a physical impression taken of your mouth so it could be used to design your aligners. This messy process involved a patient biting into a tray filled with dental putty. In addition to being uncomfortable, this approach often required retakes as well. But starting in 2007, dentists were able to start taking digital impressions. This involves simply scanning the mouth with a small device that captures millions of data points, and these are put together to create a perfect digital representation of the teeth. It is then used to design a patient’s aligners and map out their treatment plan with extreme accuracy and predictability (all without creating a mess like the old way!).

SmartTrack Material

The latest innovation for Invisalign involves what they call SmartTrack material. In addition to making the aligners more comfortable, it also makes tooth movement more predictable, giving orthodontists more control when planning someone’s treatment. It’s easier for orthodontists to track a patient’s progress as well, allowing them to deliver even better results.

Invisalign has literally helped millions of patients around the world achieve the smiles of their dreams, including many who would have never considered orthodontics if it didn’t exist. It will continue to change as the years go by so it can keep up with the latest technology, so the possibilities are endless! But, if you’re hoping to take advantage of Invisalign now, it’s literally the best possible time to do it.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist who has served the Columbus area for over a decade. He has been an Elite Invisalign Provider since 2017 and has used the treatment to help hundreds of adults and teens. To learn more about Invisalign and see what it could do for you or your child, contact us today to schedule a FREE in-person consultation at Shirck Orthodontics.