In 2001, the U.S.-based company Align introduced their Invisalign system in Germany. The hereby employed aligners are thin transparent plastic molds which the patients can put in and take out on their own.
The aligners are almost invisible when speaking and laughing, but can be detected by others with the mouth wide open and in bright light. The aligners are taken out while eating, drinking and brushing the teeth but they can otherwise be worn day and night. They should be worn 22 hours a day which demands a high level of discipline over a longer period of time!
As an aligner can only produce tooth movement of fractions of a millimeter, a whole set of aligners is created using computer aided design. Each of these aligners has to be worn for two-three weeks and is then replaced by the next. Thus, the treatment goal is reached step by step. The intervals between appointments are 4 weeks in the beginning and are later expanded up to 10 weeks.
The cost of aligner treatment in our office is almost the same compared to that of traditional fixed braces, whereas the treatment time in most cases is significantly longer.
Patients should be aware of the fact that Invisalign is only suitable for moderate to medium-severe cases. According to my estimation, scarcely half of our adult patients could be treated successfully with Invisalign. The system is not suitable for children at least as long as they have their milk teeth, while Align even offers a special Invisalign Teen Series. Invisalign treatments are not covered by public health insurance does, so that they have to be payed for by the patients. However, the private health insurance sometimes covers Invisalign treatments.
More information about Invisalign (“invisible” braces, “invisible” orthodontics) on: