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The Limitations of Invisalign®

By Kellyn Hodges on August 08, 2014

A woman touching her chin while displaying teeth that have been straightened using the Invisalign® systemFirst, let’s get one very important point out of the way: when used by a highly trained and skilled orthodontist, the Invisalign® system produces excellent results among patients who are good candidates for treatment. The key phrase here is “good candidates.” While there are plenty of websites that sing the praises of Invisalign® as a revolutionary alternative to traditional metal braces, relatively few make it clear that the Invisalign® system has its limitations, as well. In fact, there are still many instances in which traditional metal braces and other orthodontic appliances yield better, more predictable results.

During consultations between Dr. Kellyn W. Hodges and her patients at our orthodontics practice in Philadelphia, Invisalign® limitations are explained clearly and honestly. Invisalign® is often a viable option for patients with minor to moderate orthodontic issues as long as they conform to their treatment plans as directed by Dr. Hodges. However, there are certain patients who will not achieve their desired results through Invisalign®, and even some who could damage their teeth through the use of the plastic aligners. This is why Dr. Hodges is extremely careful in screening patients who are interested in Invisalign® treatment. At best, candidates who are ill-suited to the treatment are at risk of wasting their money; at worst, they could be jeopardizing their oral health.

Cases in Which Invisalign® May Not Be a Suitable Treatment Option

In general, the less severe the orthodontic issue, the more likely that Invisalign® will be an effective treatment option. This is not to suggest that Invisalign® is ineffective; rather, the range of issues the system can effectively address is somewhat narrower than the range of issues that traditional metal braces can effectively address. Cases in which Invisalign® may not be a suitable treatment option include:

  • Those in which the teeth are severely rotated from their optimal position: Teeth that are rotated more than 20 degrees from their optimal position with respect to adjacent and opposing teeth may not respond well to Invisalign® treatment.
  • Those involving impacted teeth: Invisalign® is generally not the best method of correcting teeth that have been barred from achieving their proper positions in the mouth by other teeth.
  • Bite problems stemming from malpositioned back teeth: Traditional metal braces produce more predictable results when it comes to adjusting the position of back teeth. In severe cases of malocclusion of the back teeth, Invisalign® can actually contribute to further problems.
  • Those in which significant gaps between teeth exist: Invisalign® is effective at closing smaller gaps; however, if the gaps on a given arch exceed 6 mm in total, traditional metal braces may produce better results.
  • Severe overbites, tilting of the teeth (either forward or backward), and malocclusions: Invisalign® is not recommended for such severe orthodontic issues.

Is Invisalign® Right for You?

While Invisalign® certainly has its limitations, it can be an extraordinarily effective treatment in certain cases. Could you or someone you love benefit from Invisalign® treatment? The best way to find out is to schedule an appointment with experienced orthodontist Kellyn W. Hodges today.

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We love Kellyn Hodges! She listens to her patients and provides excellent care! Her staff is very friendly and helpful as well! Tara F.

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