Whether you want a beautiful smile, improve your bite, or simply align your teeth, Walt Orthodontics can provide the type of Invisalign® treatment that best suits your needs such as:
- Early Interceptive Treatment — done for kids age 7 to 10 to correct significant issues, jaw problems, or habits that cannot be fixed later
- Comprehensive Treatment — done for teenagers or adults looking to align their teeth and improve their bite
- Limited/Minor Treatment — realign shifted, relapsed, twisted or rotated teeth
For most adults and teenagers, the top two options are comprehensive or limited/minor treatment. Let’s dive deeper into each type of treatment.
Comprehensive treatment means aligning all the teeth and improving the bite. The goals are to optimize everything, hence the name “comprehensive”. All the teeth are moved in order to create the best smile possible. It goes without saying that it is easier to improve the bite in a teenager who is growing as opposed to in an adult. Once treatment is complete, retainers are always given to maintain the results. It is recommended that retainers be worn night time indefinitely, or as we say, for as long as you want straight teeth.
That being said, it is a reality that many people do not develop the habit of routine retainer wear. When this occurs, teeth will tend to shift back to their original pre-treatment position. This is referred to as “orthodontic relapse.” Everyone’s teeth relapse differently, sometimes it is minor, sometimes it is major. In some cases, the bite doesn’t relapse but the teeth do, or vice versa.
Limited/Minor Treatment With Invisalign® Express
It is a common occurrence during our orthodontic consultations for a teenager’s parent to tell us their child’s teeth are no longer straight since they stopped wearing their retainers, or were never given retainers. In an ideal world, they would love to re-align a few of their teeth as a quick fix, with lower cost and faster treatment time. Most of the time, it is only the lower front teeth and parents often ask, “is it possible?”
The two-word answer is “it depends.” Sometimes we are able to realign a few teeth that have shifted and focus on the tooth movement to ONLY those teeth — we call this limited treatment as our goal is very specific and targeted. We are not working on the bite (it may or may not be off), we are just straightening a few incisors. Treatment usually takes 4-8 months. It is faster to treat teeth that have relapsed back and forth as opposed to those that have twisted or rotated.
At Walt Orthodontics, limited treatment is almost exclusively done with Invisalign®. A popular option in the past was a product offered by Invisalign® called “Invisalign® Express.” The reason being, is the tooth movement is targeted only at the teeth we want to move. So on the computer, Dr. Walt specifies to keep most of the teeth in place and only move the “offending” teeth or the few adjacent teeth that need to move in order to align the crooked teeth. In contrast, all teeth that have braces on them will move so they are almost never used in limited treatment.
Using braces in limited treatment results in unwanted side effects and longer treatment.
The most important part of minor treatment is understanding the limitations. Because we are not moving all the teeth, we cannot achieve goals like wider smiles or reduced overbite. There are many little details worked on during comprehensive treatment, so if you think limited treatment will also make a perfect smile, it will not. Again it is just to straighten a few crooked teeth. Because we are not doing any dental expansion during limited treatment, space is almost exclusively derived from interproximal reduction or IPR. Sometimes, too much IPR needs to be done to fit in the teeth makes limited treatment not an appropriate option.
Key Takeaway for those Considering Invisalign® Express
For someone reading this article, the most important take-home is:
Even though you may have a limited or a very small concern, it doesn’t mean you are a definite candidate for minor Invisalign® Express treatment.
Of course, it is understandable that you want to keep costs and time to a minimum. Whenever possible, limited treatment will be presented. But it is the role of the orthodontist to evaluate your bite and see if it is a healthy option.
You may be aware of several companies that mail aligners to your home without ever having an in-office appointment with a doctor. If so, you likely have seen many of the horror stories, blog articles, and Youtube videos describing the consequences of this “DIY” type of orthodontic treatment. For example, if only upper teeth are moved without any IPR, your overbite will likely increase. If lower teeth are moved without any IPR, you may be hitting only on your front teeth and your back teeth won’t match.
Suggested Next Steps — Seek An Experienced Orthodontist
In summary, there is a place and time for minor treatment but the decision is usually best determined by a professional orthodontist. The ideal candidate for limited Invisalign® treatment is someone who previously had comprehensive orthodontic treatment but now has a few front teeth shifting slightly either backward/forwards and there is adequate clearance in the bit for alignment.
In the Vaughan, Ontario area? Walt Orthodontics is a Diamond+ Top 1% Invisalign® Provider in Vaughan with over 300+ successful treatments each year.
Fill out a virtual appointment form to book a free consultation, where we can determine your or your child’s specific concerns and formulate a personalized solution.