Braces have long been the bane of the fashion and image conscious. They are completely necessary to have straight teeth and a winning look for many individuals, yet they greatly change the looks of the individual wearing them for an extended period of time. Let’s face it – a metal cửu trại câu mouth is simply not as attractive as pearly white teeth, and braces are notorious for being the cause of staining and other oral problems because it is so hard to clean around them. The invisalign teeth alignment system is a solution that creates a straight smile without the need for a mouth full of metal.

The idea of using clear plastic to straighten the teeth is not new, even though the aligners are. In 1945 dentists found that aligners could move the teeth. The problem was that it took a series of molds of each individual patient to create the series of aligners. This was not practical, as the patient would need to have a new mold made every time he needed a new aligner. The cost was simply prohibitive for most patients, and thus the idea was not thoroughly pursued at that time.

The idea was shelved until the age of computers. The modern alignment system was created by Zia Chishti, who saw a market for a transparent, removable braces alternative after he suffered through metal braces as an adult. Invisalign is a relatively new innovation, largely because the technology required to create the series of aligners relies heavily on computer 3D modeling software, which has come a long way in the past two decades.

Invisalign was created through a company called Align Technology. Chishti and his business partner Kelsey Wirth founded the company in 1997. The goal was to develop and then manufacture the aligners. Three years later in May of 2000 they were ready to be made available to the public through orthodontic offices. Soon competitor products hit the market, including OrthoClear and Ormco, but the original aligners created by Chishti and Wirth will always hold the distinction of being the first. It is interesting to note that neither man had formal dental training. They used their knowledge and understanding of computers to create an invaluable solution for patients who wanted a nearly invisible alternative to braces.

With the innovation represented by invisalign, many adults who would not be willing to change their appearance with traditional braces are now finding it possible to have straight teeth. Self-conscious teenagers are able to straighten their teeth without harming their self-image, and celebrities and politicians can now improve their image invisibly.

So what does the future hold for those with crooked teeth? Only time will tell, but the development of invisalign proves that it will embrace technology to the fullest. Perhaps instead of molds, dentists will be able to use 3-D technology to directly take pictures and render models of the patient’s teeth. Maybe new materials will make it possible to create invisible braces that work like traditional braces without the expense of the aligner setup. One thing is for sure, the act of straightening cửu trại câu the teeth is going to be much different as the future of dentistry unfolds.