Faye's Invisalign Diary Part 1: Treatment Planning
A patient who is about to begin orthodontic treatment with us here at Swords Orthodontics using Invisalign, and she's agreed to share updates and progress reports with our web audience.
Faye is a model, and although she enjoys a successful career which involves being beautiful for a living she's not happy with her smile and feels that it actually undermines her confidence and might even limit her professionally. On the other hand, given her work, it would be even more of a problem to wear conventional fixed braces, so she came to us with a desire for Invisalign treatment, and after carrying out our examination and special investigations, we were quite happy to tell her that her teeth were suitable for Invisalign treatment.
You can find out more about the Invisalign approach to treatment on the special Invisalign section of this website.
After our examination, we took some super accurate moulds of her teeth. These were collected by a courier and taken to the USA. This is usually to El Paso, Texas, a place normally associated with cowboy movies and Johnny Cash songs. By coincidence, I was there 20 years ago, long before Invisalign was invented, never mind long before I'd ever heard of it.
They are scanned by computer equipment there, and then the scans are processed and turned into virtual/digital models.
I get to check out these digital orthodontic models online, and decide where I want the teeth to move to. If there are any special details I need to deal with to make sure they move more predictably, I add them into the treatment plan. Then a plan is generated by the Invisalign company on computers to take the teeth from where they are now to where I want them to be, using a series of very small changes. It works out how many aligners would be required and what movements each of these make.
I review the plan and make any changes that I think would make the plan more successful and the Invisalign company puts these changes back into the plan and a new plan is generated. We repeat this process until I get things where I want them to be, and then I review this plan with the patient. Sometimes I have a couple of alternative plans to discuss with them and between us, we choose the one that suits the patient best.
In Faye's case, this was straight forward enough, she was happy with the direction of the plan, so we went ahead and asked Invisalign to start manufacturing the aligners.
Up until that point, the models of Faye's teeth just exist in virtual, digital, form and the aligners are just an idea. Once I press APPROVE, a robot (in Mexico) starts firing a laser into a tank of liquid plastic and the aligners begin to be constructed. A day or two later they are all made up, each one with a unique number that identifies the patient, the the number of the aligner in the sequence, and the jaw that the aligner belongs to. Each aligner is part of a pair that sits in its own sealed and numbered plastic bag, and all the bags are loaded into a box and dispatched by courier from the Invisalign factory to Swords Orthodontics.
When the aligners are dispatched, the Invisalign company sends me an email and a unique tracking number so I can follow the progress of her aligners all the way from the banks of the RIo Grande to Main Street, Swords.
Faye's Invisalign aligners came through many places on their route to the clinic:
- El Paso. Texas
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Koeln, Germany
- Dublin Airport
- Swords Orthodontics
Her aligners took just over 24 hours to get to Dublin, arriving at about 6am, and then arrived in the practice early that afternoon.
Faye's next visit is to fit the aligners and her Invisalign treatment begins and we'll give you an update then,