If given the opportunity, many adults would opt to have had braces as teenagers. Most adults believe that they would look silly or unprofessional wearing braces, but braces are not the only option for aligning teeth.

The Invisalign product acts exactly as traditional braces, only it is undetectable to the eye. Invisalign is a small plastic accessory worn by the patient for twenty hours a day for about a year, by which time the teeth are straightened.

How does Invisalign work? Only certified dentists and orthodontists can advise patients on and administer this product.

During an initial consultation a dentist or orthodontist assesses whether the product will adequately address the extent of alignment needed.

If the dentist determines that this would be a viable treatment approach, he/she will take a cast and photographs of the patient's teeth and send them to Invisalign's manufacturing facilities run by the company's founding group, Align Technologies. The Invisalign laboratory then manufactures anything between twenty and thirty aligning devices for the patient, using state of the art computer software. These aligners shift the teeth gradually .25 to .33 millimeters during every session into their ideal placement and are changed every two weeks for that purpose. The dentist or orthodontist retains the bulk of the aligners, and will dispense the next two aligners to the patient after reassessment.

Patients using aligners from Invisalign must follow strict guidelines for the treatment to be effective, like keeping the aligners on for at least twenty hours everyday and eating or drinking nothing but water while they are worn.

What if Invisalign procedure is not deemed appropriate for a patient? The traditional orthodontic products are still available for use in treatment, including the metal and wire braces which may be necessary for severe cases of misalignment or dental problems.

It is the dentist's or orthodontist's job to choose the best course of treatment for every dental problem, and one should seek consultation when trying to determine a course of treatment.