For years, Invisalign has reigned as one of the biggest names in orthodontics. Approved by the FDA in the late 1990s, Invisalign brought clear aligner treatment to the mainstream and showed the public that orthodontics was more than just wires and brackets. Since Invisalign’s approval in 1998, orthodontists have used the Invisalign system to improve the smiles of more than 12 million people, including 3 million teenage patients.
Here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we have been using Invisalign since our founding in 2008. During that time, we have helped thousands of patients perfect their smiles with the aid of Invisalign clear aligners. In fact, we’re recognized as a VIP Diamond Plus provider—the highest status a practice can receive from Invisalign.
Over the years, we’ve seen patients who undergo treatment without issue as well as patients who run into a few problems. One of the most common problems related to Invisalign is a gap between tooth and aligner. Although a small gap may seem innocuous at first, any space between the tooth and aligner is cause for concern.
Why Does Invisalign Leave a Gap Between Tooth and Aligner?
Although Invisalign aligners should not constrict teeth, they should feel firm whenever they are placed in the patient’s mouth. If there is a very small space between the outer edge of the aligner and your teeth, don’t sweat it—a small gap is normal and allows for comfortable daily use.
But there are instances in which Invisalign patients develop a significant gap between tooth and aligner that spans from 1 to 4 mm. This kind of gap is not only abnormal, it is a classic sign that the aligner treatment is not going according to plan.
Any significant gap that forms between a patient’s teeth and their aligners is often called an incisal gap. Named after a tooth’s incisal edge (i.e. the tooth’s biting edge that makes contact with food), incisal gaps typically form when a patient is not wearing their aligners for at least 22 hours a day. If a patient doesn’t get treatment to correct the gap, they run the risk of derailing their orthodontic treatment plan and possibly causing oral damage.
Fortunately, Invisalign patients can avoid gaps with the help of a trusted orthodontist.
How You Can Address These Aligner Gaps and Bring Treatment Back on Track
If you are in the middle of Invisalign treatment and currently have a significant gap between the aligners and the teeth, the first thing to do is call your orthodontist. Such a gap is a sign that your teeth are not moving as your orthodontist has planned.
In most gap situations, the cause is simple: the patient is not regularly wearing their aligners for 22 hours a day. Invisalign aligners are designed to slowly realign teeth with the aid of consistent pressure. When patients don’t wear their aligners, there is no pressure, which can cause teeth to regress and delay treatment.
To get treatment back on track, your orthodontist can:
- Examine the gap and verify whether it is a serious issue or not
- Check the fit of your aligners
- Recommend actions to correct the gap
- Alter your treatment plan to accommodate any delays
With the help of a knowledgeable orthodontist, patients with aligner gaps can quickly fix their issues and avoid further delays in their Invisalign treatment.
Want to Avoid Invisalign Treatment Problems? We Can Help
Invisalign is one of the most effective orthodontic treatments available today. But that doesn’t mean that problems can’t occur.
From developing gaps between tooth and aligner to losing aligners altogether, Invisalign patients do occasionally run into issues. Fortunately, a trusted orthodontist can help you quickly resolve any problems and achieve outstanding results. For nearly 15 years, Dr. Monica Madan and the Beverly Hills Orthodontics team have done just that. With our exceptional experience, we’re the experts you want on your side throughout your orthodontic journey.