Braces have gone wireless.
For many people - especially adults - the idea of having a mouth full of metal brackets and wires from traditional braces drives them away from getting the straight teeth that they want. Now, there is an alternative called Invisalign® that provides an alternative to traditional braces with clear polycarbonate aligners that are virtually invisible.
Local orthodontist Craig Crawford, DDS, is an expert in aligner technology. He worked for Align Technology, Inc., the manufacturer of Invisalign for over 4 years. He was involved in the research and development of the aligner technology and managed an in-house team of orthodontists and dentists who assisted customer doctors who were using the product. He has lectured internationally, published articles and authored a chapter of a textbook on clear aligner treatment. He returned to Lake Charles in 2004 and joined Crawford Orthodontics, which was originally founded by his father, Dr. Patrick Crawford, over 30 years ago.
"Invisalign is proven technology designed to give patients the smile they've always wanted using a less visible method of orthodontic correction," says Dr. Crawford. "That is why this option is so popular among older teens and adults. The aligners are clear, and nearly undetectable when worn."
The aligners, made out of a medical grade plastic, are custom-made for each patient and move teeth incrementally, in a process similar to conventional braces. Like brackets and wires, the Invisalign aligners move teeth by targeted placement of controlled force on the teeth. "The difference is that Invisalign not only controls the force, it also allows us to control the timing of the force application," explains Dr. Crawford. "Each set of aligners is worn for about two weeks, and removed only to eat, drink, brush and floss. At each stage, only certain teeth are allowed to move, and these movements are determined by the orthodontic treatment plan for that particular phase. As each set of aligners is replaced with the next in the series, your teeth will gradually move until they reach the prescribed position. The average treatment time for the entire process is typically one year."
Although not everyone is a candidate for aligners, the only way to know for sure is to have a consultation with a certified Invisalign provider.