Invisalign is a modern alternative to traditional orthodontic braces.  With old-fashioned braces, brackets are glued to your teeth, then metal wires and rubber bands are weaved through to move your teeth to the preferable positions.  Invisalign is very different. Clear plastic trays, called aligners, are fit over your upper and lower rows of teeth.  The aligners gently move your teeth to the desired positions. Fun fact, all Invisalign aligners are clean aligners, however not all clear aligners are Invisalign. Invisalign simply has become a household brand name that has just become synonymous with clear aligners.  One experiences less pain than with normal braces and the aligners are almost imperceptible to other people, so no one knows you are wearing them.

So why isn’t everyone using Invisalign rather than the old-fashioned braces?  Well, Invisalign doesn’t work for every orthodontic issue, especially the more severe ones.  In this article, we will go over the problems for which Invisalign is best suited and review those for which you are better off choosing old-fashioned wire and rubber band braces.


Orthodontia Issues Helped by Invisalign

Invisalign works well for:

  • Mildly crooked teeth.
  • Protruding teeth.
  • Serious malocclusion (imperfect positioning of teeth when mouth closed).
  • Mild overbites (top row of teeth reach down over the bottom row).
  • Mild under bites (bottom row of teeth reach up over the top row).
  • Wide gaps in teeth.
  • Overcrowding of teeth.
  • Open bites.
  • Crossbites (upper teeth on sides of mouth overlap lower row of teeth or vice versa).
  • Excessive overjets (central tooth overlap).




These mild orthodontic issues have a variety of causes, including, but not limited to, genetics, gum disease, traumatic head injury, thumb sucking, or oral tumors.  To read more about what your growing and developing mouth and the causes of crooked teeth, check out this TeensHealth website by Nemours.

Most people believe that that crooked and misplaced teeth are just a cosmetic issue and will not affect oral health; nonetheless, teeth that don’t fit together properly are a ticking time bomb for all sorts of dental issues.  Wide gaps between teeth lay the gums open to periodontal disease.  If the gums cannot fit securely around the teeth, then all types of bacteria can get down into the gums, causing gingivitis, and then more serious periodontal issues.  Teeth that are overcrowded or aren’t positioned correctly when the jaw closes can wear down over time, eventually leading to jaw pain, earaches, and headaches.  Some patients with the problems listed above eventually suffer tooth loss, which is both painful and unattractive.  To learn more about how crooked or ill-fitting teeth can cause health problems, and how Invisalign can repair those issues, visit Invisalign’s website.

So, rather than considering crooked or ill-fitting teeth as a “cosmetic” issue that can be ignored,  learn more about how investing in a treatment option such as Invisalign can improve the future health and beauty of your smile.

When Invisalign May Not the Best Choice

Invisalign works well for less severe orthodontia problems.  For more harsh issues, Invisalign isn’t recommended.  For example, most orthodontists do not use Invisalign to correct extreme overbite and under bites, because in those cases, crooked teeth aren’t the only problem.  There, the jaw actually needs to be shifted.  Invisalign aligners can move crooked teeth but they do not have the ability to actually shift a person’s jaw into a different position.

Have you ever seen a teenager wearing “headgear” as part of a traditional orthodontia treatment?  Headgear, while it appears a little ridiculous, is very necessary to correct the position of the jaw for an extreme overbite or overjet.  It’s not pretty, but it is an extreme treatment necessary to correct these severe conditions or stop the jaw from growing in the wrong direction.  There is no headgear version of Invisalign at present.  If your jaw needs shifted because of a drastic overbite or overjet, you must be fitted for traditional braces and headgear.

Invsalign works the best for older teenagers and adults.  The reason for this is because these age groups have finished growing; their mouths and teeth are done developing.  It follows that children and young teenagers are not good candidates for Invisalign since their teeth and mouths are still growing.  Furthermore, children and young teenagers usually do not have the dedication necessary to finish the Invisalign program successfully.

To be effective, Invisalign must be worn approximately 22 hours per day and only removed while eating.  Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners can be easily detached from the mouth if the patient chooses to do so.  Younger patients with less discipline may tend to remove the aligners if their teeth are moving and feel uncomfortable.  If the aligners are absent from the mouth for more than 2 hours per day, the treatment will not be effective. Of course, every case depends on the individual in question, so consult with your orthodontist to find out whether Invisalign is right for your teen.

Invisalign and Traditional Braces Compromise

Sometimes, when Invisalign is not an initial option because of severe orthodontia issues, a skilled orthodontist can create an individualized plan where the candidate begins treatment with traditional wire and rubber band braces and completes the less severe parts of their treatment with Invisalign.  If you feel that because of a severe underbite or overbite that you may not be a good candidate for Invisalign at this time, discuss the possibility of future use of Invisalign with your orthodontist.  It may be that you can finish your treatment with the Invisalign system, rather than using old-fashioned braces the entire way through.  Remember, no matter what your orthodontist decides, he is making a determination as to what treatment will make your mouth look and feel its best.  In the end, your goal is the healthiest smile possible.

Remember, whether or not you are a possible candidate for Invisalign is a decision which will be made by your Invisalign provider, so even if you feel you may not be a candidate for Invisalign after reading this article, please contact us at (316) 683-SMILES to schedule a consultation. Smiles Orthodontic Specialist has been providing the Invisalign system for quite some time and Dr. Gorantla can answer all your questions and concerns.