I’ve always been a Trekkie. We didn’t have cable when I was a kid (that was soooo long ago, in a galaxy far away) and all we got were re-runs of Star Trek (Nemoy, Shatner era) Mission Impossible and MASH. Of course, as a kid I gravitated towards sci-fi. I mean, who doesn’t love Spock?
Shows like Star Trek, with all the futuristic gizmos and gadgets, kind of predicted some of the stuff we’re using today. Lasers that can cut through anything: we have them. “Phasers” set on stun: our very own Tasers and Stun guns. Pocket language translators: Apps on our smartphones can do that now (although not in Klingon). There are a host of others, but let’s save that for another article.
Another major part of the Star Trek universe is the use of invisibility and stealth. We have this high tech invisibility in the dental world in the form of Invisalign, or more known as invisible braces. Before its introduction in 1998, lingual braces or braces placed on the back of the tooth were known as invisible braces. But in hindsight, they weren’t really invisible. They were just hidden at the back of the teeth.
Invisalign uses clear, comfortable and smooth plastic aligners 3D molded by a computer to fit over your teeth and correct mild to moderate crowding, overbite, underbite and malocclusion. These transparent aligners are virtually invisible when worn, and provide a level of comfort and esthetics never before seen in traditional metal braces. Dr. Leonard McCoy would be proud.
How it Works
First, your dentist will have to examine your teeth and do a quick assessment if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment because traditional braces are still the go-to method for treating severe cases of malocclusion. When the patient and the dental care provider agree on Invisalign to modify and enhance the patient’s smile, the dentist then proceeds to take 3D images of the patient’s teeth that capture the whole mouth.
These 3D images are then processed via professional dental software capable of precisely calculating/plotting the different steps and stages the patient’s teeth will have to go through in order to achieve the desired result: straight teeth and a winning smile. These computerized calculations are then used to fabricate the necessary transparent aligners that will be worn during the course of the treatment.
These custom built, transparent and removable teeth aligners self-correct the patient’s teeth position until the desired smile is finally reached. Each aligner is only worn once,22-23 hours a day, for about two weeks before it’s replaced at a specific stage of the treatment. Invisalignaligners resemble thin, transparent mouthguards that the patient wears throughout the day and removes only when eating, drinking colored beverages and cleaning his or her teeth.
Captains Final Log
Invisalign is a viable and esthetically superior alternative to conventional orthodontics.This treatment is very discreet; other people will hardly know you’re wearing aligners. The future is finally here, and although not really invisible, at least they’re transparent and removable so you can go on eating whatever you want and do stuff you can’t with traditional braces.