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Invisalign clear aligners are a popular form of treatment for diastema, commonly referred to as “gap teeth.” Diastema is a malocclusion, or a misaligned bite, caused by gapped teeth.8
Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment that gradually moves your teeth into their correct positions. The treatment can also close tooth 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
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Invisalign can resolve most cases of gapped teeth in 3 to 6 months.
However, in some cases, the treatment process can take up to 18 months. This depends on compliance as well as the extent of the gaps.
Invisalign offers various benefits in fixing gapped teeth compared to metal braces. These benefits include:
Invisalign is transparent to the point of being nearly invisible. This means no more potential embarrassment from unsightly braces.
With Invisalign, you can go about your daily life without anyone noticing that you're undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Invisalign clear aligners are removable, unlike traditional metal braces. You can take them out when eating or drinking.
This means you can eat anything you want without worrying about food getting stuck between metal brackets. Removability also makes cleaning the aligners easier.
Invisalign treatment involves fewer check-ups than traditional braces.
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 is four to six months shorter 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, leading to better oral health.
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.”
Here are other benefits of choosing Invisalign to treat your gapped teeth:
Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.
The average cost of Invisalign is between $3,000 and $9,000, which is comparable to braces.7
The exact price varies depending on the 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 with 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.
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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 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.
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.
You should wear the aligner between 20 and 22 hours daily for about two weeks. The aligner moves the teeth between 0.25 to 0.3 millimeters during that time.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 diastema caused by the following:
This is a gap between the maxillary or mandibular incisors. The maxillary teeth are your upper set of teeth, and the mandibular teeth are the lower set. This is commonly referred to as a “gap tooth” because these teeth are the most noticeable.
Some people reflexively push their tongue against their top teeth when swallowing. This can cause a gap to appear.
Long-term thumbsucking during childhood can cause gapped teeth. Since the thumb constantly pushes against the teeth, it can cause them to drift apart naturally.
If you’re congenitally missing teeth, it can cause gaps, especially in the front teeth. Invisalign can help reduce the appearance of these gaps by shifting the teeth around to fill in the empty spaces.
Another cause of tooth gaps is what’s called an enlarged frenum. The frenum is a soft 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.
Diastema is when you have gaps in between two adjacent teeth. This condition commonly happens between your two upper front teeth but can also occur in any other part of your mouth.
There are various causes of diastema, such as:
Gaps in between your teeth are primarily a cosmetic problem and don’t pose serious concerns. However, diastema can cause a person to feel self-conscious in certain situations. This is when treatment may be considered.
In cases where advanced gum disease causes diastema, 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. Filling in the gaps as soon as possible can prevent further complications.
Invisalign isn’t the only treatment that can fix your upper and lower teeth diastema. Here are some alternative treatment options to consider for closing gap teeth:
At-home aligners are a type of clear aligner treatment where your progress is monitored remotely. A professional will oversee your treatment through an app.
At-home aligners work similarly to Invisalign. They eliminate gaps between the teeth by gently moving them into their correct position.
However, remember that at-home aligners are only suitable for mild diastema. Severe cases may require a different treatment.
Veneers are thin shells made from composite resin or porcelain. They can address various dental imperfections, including diastema.
If porcelain veneers are too permanent for you, you can opt for snap-on veneers. Snap-on veneers can instantly clip on your teeth and hide your diastema. They require minimal commitment and cost less than traditional porcelain veneers.
Traditional metal braces are usually the go-to treatment for diastema. Braces also slowly move your teeth into their correct position.
You can opt for lingual braces if you don’t want to wear traditional braces. Lingual braces are attached to the inside of your teeth, meaning they’re invisible from the outside.
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