From an orthodontic standpoint, there are only three kinds of people on the planet:
-People who are in active orthodontic treatment.
-People who are wearing their retainers.
-People whose teeth are getting more uneven and crowded all the time.
That's it. There are no other choices.
Even teeth that come in perfectly straight or are set up that way by an orthodontist are not going to stay that way. That's because there are two major forces on our teeth that conspire to move them around, often in predictable ways. Let's examine them.
First, teeth want to move towards each other. Such sociable little creatures they are! They have a built-in march to the front. This is because our distant ancestors used to have a much harsher diet than we do now. They'd basically wear their back teeth down flat by the time they were in their early 20's. This happened for a nember of reasons, mostly because they ground up their food and grains using stones. All that stone grit got in there and over time wore away their tooth enamel. This grit also wore the teeth in between, where they touch against each other. So teeth just kept moving forward, gradually, in order to keep touching each other in spite of the wear. Since most of us don't eat rocks these days, we don't suffer this degree of wear, or attrition. We do still have those forces on our teeth though and they still try to move forward. The result is crowding:
And once they slide past each other, it gets worse- fast.
Another type of tooth movement that plagues us is that the powerful muscles that close our jaws apply more pressure inward, over time, than the tongue does in an outward direction. This happens in most, but not all, people. The disequilibrium between these forces results in the back teeth leaning inward more and more over time.
So, our back teeth are leaning in, and the whole herd is pushing towards the front. The effect is not unlike the mosh pit at a Justin Bieber concert: crowded, uneven, and rather a mess.
Invialign therapy can do certain things exceptionally well. Other orthodontic challenges are best handled by conventional braces. Generally speaking, dealing with the crowding caused by the forces described above is one of the areas where Invisalign truly excels.
Here is a movie that shows a course of treatment, from Invisalign's proprietary ClinCheck software. Note how the lower front teeth are being aligned, but also note how the back teeth are being expanded out to their proper positions.
Invisalign retainers, called Vivera, are made at the end of treatment and are really the whole point of the exercise. They encase the entire arch of teeth in precision fitting plastic and can be renewed or made again from reproducible digital information at any time. And they're only worn at night.
These are my first set of Vivera retainers, at the end of my own case. It's very satisfying to have completed such successful treatment.