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Does Invisalign® Work on Crowded Teeth?

Written by Dr. Chaw Su Kyi on June 5, 2023

Problems with the position of your teeth may affect your self-confidence and oral health. Crowded teeth are often difficult to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, overcrowding can cause bite issues, make chewing uncomfortable and lead to pain in the jaw, face, neck, head, and shoulders.

Crowding occurs when there is insufficient space along the jawline to support the full set of teeth. Prolonged or excessive thumb-sucking, physical trauma, infection, early loss of baby teeth, cleft palates, and failed dental treatments are all potential causes.

Invisalign® is the world’s leading transparent dental aligner system. Since its launch over 20 years ago, it has been used to straighten millions of smiles.

But does Invisalign® work on crowded teeth?

This guide will explore the potential of Invisalign® to address overcrowding while comparing alternative treatment options.

Does Invisalign® Work for Crowded Teeth?

Invisalign® is a popular treatment for treating mild to moderate cases of overcrowding. Before wearing Invisalign® aligners, knowing how your treatment will work—and its limitations—can be helpful. This will ensure you can make an informed decision about your care.

How Invisalign® Works to Correct Crowded Teeth

Much like other orthodontic appliances, Invisalign® aligners apply a constant gentle force across your teeth; the prolonged pressure will gradually move your teeth.

During your initial Invisalign® consultation, we will use the latest digital technology to take scans of your mouth. Then, using this information and highly innovative software, we can create a custom treatment plan to make incremental tooth movements. The software will also generate an accurate image of the treatment’s final outcome: your new smile.

Throughout your Invisalign® treatment, you will change your aligner approximately every two weeks. Your replacement aligner may look exactly the same as the previous one; however, there are very small differences. The new aligner will help each tooth move a fraction of a millimetre at a time.

Although you will not notice any change between each aligner, you will start to see a dramatic difference over a period of months as your teeth become visibly straighter.

During your treatment, you must wear your aligner for at least 22 hours each day to achieve the intended results. You can, however, take your aligner out to eat and brush your teeth.

Because the smooth, lightweight material used in Invisalign® aligners is so comfortable, you will have no difficulty sleeping while wearing them.

What Is the Success Rate of Invisalign® in Treating Crowded Teeth?

Overall, Invisalign® has a very high success rate when treating crowded teeth. Before your treatment, we will thoroughly assess your teeth and jaws to ensure Invisalign® is right for you. In certain complex cases, we may recommend an alternative treatment.

Once you have been given your first set of Invisalign® aligners, it is essential to follow the treatment plan to ensure the success of your treatment. This means wearing your aligners for the allotted time in the order they are given. In addition, once you receive a new aligner, you should stop using the previous one.

What Are the Limitations of Invisalign® in Treating Crowded Teeth?

Invisalign® achieves positive results in movements of 2mm or less. Although Invisalign® is effective in most circumstances, it does have certain limitations. Because it does not create the same levels of force as some fixed appliances, it may not work in some complex cases, including:

  • Tooth shape – Moving short or rounded teeth using Invisalign® may be challenging.
  • Very crooked teeth – If a molar needs considerable rotation, Invisalign® may not work. Typically, incisors, canines, and premolars can be rotated using clear aligners.
  • Large midline movements – The midline is the centre point of your smile. Invisalign® can make minor adjustments to correct the position of your midline but will not work on significant movements.
  • Intrusion and extrusion – Orthodontics can address the height of your teeth in your jawline. Typically, Invisalign® has more success with front teeth compared to those at the rear of the mouth.
  • Previous dental work – If you have previous dental work such as crowns, bridges, implants, or veneers, this may affect the success of your Invisalign® treatment.

What Alternative Treatments Are Available?

There are several alternatives to Invisalign®. Other removable aligner systems are available. These typically use a combination of metal and plastic and can treat a similar range of issues.

Several fixed appliances can treat more severe cases of crowded teeth, including:

  • Traditional metal braces – These consist of brackets fixed to the teeth. A metal wire runs through the brackets, and rubber ligatures hold the wire in place.
  • Ceramic braces – These are much like traditional braces, but instead of metal, the brackets and wire are tooth-coloured or translucent.
  • Damon braces – This type of brace is self-ligating (or self-tightening). Instead of using small rubber bands, the brackets are designed to lock the wire in position. This reduces the number of appointments, makes adjustments easier, and improves comfort levels.
  • Lingual braces – Like traditional metal braces, these use brackets and wires. But, unlike other fixed appliances, the brackets and wire are hidden from view on the back of your teeth.

How Long Does Invisalign® Take To Fix Crowded Teeth?

The exact Invisalign® treatment duration will vary depending on the severity of the crowding. It is possible to treat a mild misalignment in as few as six months, with severely crooked teeth taking up to two years.

Factors That Affect Treatment Duration for Crowded Teeth

While the severity of the crowding is a primary factor for treatment duration, it can also be affected by your age and whether any other orthodontic treatments are used in conjunction with Invisalign®.

What is the Average Treatment Duration for Crowded Teeth Correction With Invisalign®?

Although some people may enjoy shorter treatment durations of six months, others may need to wear their aligners for up to two years. The average treatment length for correcting crowded teeth is 12-18 months.

At your initial assessment, we will plan your entire treatment. At this stage, we will have a clear idea of how long your treatment should take.

Comparison of Treatment Duration for Crowded Teeth Correction With Invisalign® to Traditional Braces

You will receive a new custom-made aligner every two weeks throughout your Invisalign® treatment. This bespoke aligner is made based on the precise measurements gathered during your initial consultation, so every stage of your treatment will be planned in detail.

When we fix crooked teeth using braces, we need to adjust the appliance periodically by tightening the archwire.
Unlike traditional braces, there are no adjustments with Invisalign®. Instead, you will swap your clear aligners fortnightly. The frequency with which you will switch aligners helps speed up the treatment process.

Although we will not need to see you to adjust your aligners, we will assess the progress of your treatment to ensure everything is going according to plan.

Crowded Teeth—Invisalign® Vs Fixed Braces

When comparing Invisalign® with fixed braces, there are several factors that you might want to consider. These include effectiveness, duration, comfort, aesthetics, cost, and the treatment’s impact on your life.

Comparison of Invisalign® to Traditional Braces in Terms of Effectiveness for Crowded Teeth Correction
Invisalign® is highly effective at treating mild to moderate cases of overcrowding, particularly those affecting the front teeth. In these circumstances, Invisalign® is often the preferred treatment method.

Invisalign® may not be the most effective option if you have severely crooked teeth. A fixed appliance will provide better results when significant tooth rotation is required on the back teeth.

When we conduct your initial assessment, we will determine how effective Invisalign® will be in your circumstances.
After all orthodontic treatments, you will need to wear retainers for a period of time to preserve the results.

Comparison of Invisalign® to Fixed Braces in Terms of Aesthetics

One of the most popular features of Invisalign® is that the aligners are clear. This provides a more discreet orthodontic treatment than fixed braces which are often more noticeable, particularly when worn on the upper teeth. The virtually invisible aligners will not get in the way of the world seeing your beautiful smile.

Because your Invisalign® trays are removable, you can also take them out for photos. Braces, however, are fixed.
These days, other types of fixed appliances do not feature noticeable metal brackets. Ceramic braces and Clarity braces are subtle options for fixing teeth misalignment. Lingual braces are also discreet as they remain hidden behind your teeth.

Comparison of Invisalign® to Conventional Braces in Terms of Comfort and Convenience

Invisalign® is made from a patented plastic material called SmartTrack. It is lightweight and smooth, giving it a comfortable form. As with any orthodontic treatment, you sometimes notice a small amount of pressure against your teeth. This is most noticeable when you change your aligner. Many patients find Invisalign® offers a greater degree of comfort compared to fixed braces.

Many patients enjoy Invisalign® because it allows them to live a normal lifestyle while addressing orthodontic issues. Invisalign® is removable. You do not need to avoid specific foods as you will not wear your aligner at mealtimes. In comparison, when wearing fixed braces, you may have to avoid foods that could damage or get stuck in the wire.

Because they are removable, Invisalign® aligners are also easier to clean, and you do not need to adjust your brushing technique to compensate for the wire and brackets.

Invisalign® in West London

If you have crowded teeth, it is essential to address this. While the appearance of your smile may be your primary concern, fixing misaligned teeth will also improve your oral health and prevent later complications.

In many cases, we recommend Invisalign® to fix crooked teeth. The removable and comfortable clear aligners gradually straighten teeth, leaving you with an attractive smile you can feel confident about sharing with the world.

Dr Chaw Su Kyi is an award-winning orthodontist and a Platinum Invisalign® Provider. She is one of the country’s leading Invisalign® experts and has gained a reputation as the best specialist orthodontist in London.

Dr Kyi has considerable knowledge and expertise in treating crowded teeth. With every case Dr Kyi treats, she plans the entire process personally so that the best result is achieved, even in severe cases.

Call today to schedule your consultation and learn whether Invisalign® is suitable for treating your crowded teeth.

West London Orthodontics offers the most advanced orthodontic care for children and adults. Serving patients in Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush, and Chiswick, Dr Kyi and her team specialise in various brace options, including Invisalign. Book a consultation today.

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