Invisalign clear aligners are a popular form of treatment for diastema. Diastema is a type of malocclusion, or a misaligned bite, caused by gapped teeth.8
Invisalign clear aligners gradually move your teeth into their correct positions to eliminate gaps.
Invisalign treatment is best for one or multiple teeth gaps of around 6mm.9 For those with larger gaps, other treatment options may work better.6
Invisalign is a clear aligner manufactured by Align Technology. First introduced in 1998, it’s since treated over 3 million people, making it by far the leading in-office aligner on the market today.9
Invisalign clear aligners provide several advantages over traditional braces.
Invisalign treatment begins with a consultation with a dentist or orthodontist. There, the layout of your mouth and bite is digitally mapped out. An aligner is then made to fit your mouth.
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Invisalign clear aligners are made from a patented, flexible plastic material. This material, known as SmartTrack, is a polyurethane resin. It’s FDA-approved for medical devices and free of toxins like BPA and BPS.1
Align Technology claims Invisalign treatment is 50% faster and 75% more accurate than other aligner brands. They also claim Invisalign is more durable and comfortable.
The aligners are to be worn between 20 and 22 hours per day for about two weeks. During that time, the aligner moves the teeth between 0.25 to 0.3 milimeters.5
Every two weeks, the aligner is swapped out for a new one. Each aligner is constructed based on expected treatment progress.
There are multiple causes of gapped teeth. Invisalign can fix the following:
Another cause of tooth gaps is what’s called an enlarged frenulum. The frenum is a soft piece of tissue running between the lips and gums. Sometimes, the frenum can get inflamed.
When this happens, it can disrupt the normal development of the two front teeth, leading to a gap. Invisalign can help correct this if paired with a corrective surgical procedure called a frenectomy.
Invisalign can resolve most cases of gapped teeth in 3 to 6 months. However, in some cases, it can take up to 18 months. This depends on compliance as well as the extent of the gaps.
The two main reasons people wear Invisalign clear aligners are they’re a) see-through b) removable.
Invisalign is transparent to the point of being nearly invisible. This means no more potential embarrassment from unsightly braces.
And because they are removable, you can take them out when eating or drinking. You can eat anything you want without worrying about food getting stuck between metal brackets.
Aside from looking better than traditional braces, here are some other benefits Invisalign treatment offers:
Invisalign treatment involves fewer check-ups than traditional braces.
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People who use braces typically have to visit the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks. With Invisalign, it’s every 10-12 weeks. One study found that patients using Invisalign spent 67% less time in dental offices than those wearing braces.
Invisalign is also faster overall. Several studies show Invisalign treatment has a four to almost six month-shorter timeframe than braces.2, 4
Braces can make brushing and flossing difficult. Food can also get caught in the metal brackets or wires, providing another potential source of tooth decay.
Invisalign solves this problem. The aligner can be removed to enable proper brushing and flossing. It can also be cleaned easily.
According to a study comparing clear aligners and braces:
“Clear aligners not only promote better oral hygiene, and better periodontal health but also reduce the plaque accumulation and the development of white spot lesions.”
Not necessarily. Plenty of people can and do live with gaps in their teeth. However, sometimes diastema can be caused by advanced gum disease. In this case, prompt treatment is required.
The best course of treatment for this situation is scaling and root planing.
Teeth gaps can cause other teeth to shift and affect your overall bite.
The average cost of Invisalign is between $3000 and $9000, which is comparable to braces.7
The exact price varies depending on length of treatment and the particular dental issues involved.
Most insurance plans cover Invisalign, and you can also pay for it with an FSA or HSA. Your dentist may also offer payment plans.
Invisalign treatment is right for you if you’re a young professional and have a mild tooth gap.
Many people find braces distracting, embarrassing, or even unprofessional-looking. They also take longer, whereas Invisalign treatment is fast.
Invisalign may not be for you if you have a tooth gap of more than 0.06mm.6 For these cases, traditional braces are a better option.
Chang, Ming Jen. “Introduction to Invisalign® Smart Technology: Attachments Design, and Recall-Checks.” Journal of Digital Orthodontics, pp. 80-94. http://iaoi.pro/.
Gu, Jiafeng. “Evaluation of Invisalign treatment effectiveness and efficiency compared with conventional fixed appliances using the Peer Assessment Rating index.” American journal of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics : official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists, its constituent societies, and the American Board of Orthodontics, vol. 151, no. 2, 2017, pp. 259-266. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Invisalign. “Gap teeth.” www.invisalign.com.
Lanteri, Valentina. “The efficacy of orthodontic treatments for anterior crowding with Invisalign compared with fixed appliances using the Peer Assessment Rating Index.” Quintessence international (Berlin, Germany, vol. 49, no. 7, 2018, pp. 581-587. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Ling, Paul H. “Clinical Limitations of Invisalign.” Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, vol. 73, no. 3, 2007, pp. 263-266. http://www.cda-adc.ca/.
The Orthodontists. “What Orthodontic Issues Can and Can’t Invisalign Fix?” www.theorthodontists.com.au, 2018.
Personalized Orthodontics. “Better understanding the cost of Invisalign | What factors determine your price?” porth.io.
Thurman, Brian. “Types of Malocclusions and How Orthodontic Treatment Helps.” www.thurmanortho.com, 2021.
Weir, T. “Clear aligners in orthodontic treatment.” Australian Dental Journal, vol. 62, no. 1, 2017, pp. 58-62. onlinelibrary.wiley.com.