Metal Mouth Message Board

A message board for adults and older teens in dental braces or retainers, or who may undergo jaw surgery.

Wider arch--can Invisalign do it?

Discussions about treatment with invisible braces that use clear aligners, such as Invisalign, OrthoClear, the Red White and Blue system, etc.

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honolul9
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Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:44 pm

Wider arch--can Invisalign do it?

Postby honolul9 » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:21 pm

Hi, everyone! I'm new to these forums and have enjoyed reading everyone's stories and advice. I am 28 years old and started an Invisalign treatment about three months ago (I go in for new aligners approx. every 3 weeks).

My question is: will Invisalign be enough to expand/widen my arch and create a fuller smile? My dentist has talked about "bringing the back teeth out" while bringing my front (six including bicuspid) teeth in, but I don’t know if what he intends is the same as actually widening the arch.

I saw that one user here has had successful arch-widening with just Invisalign, but I’m wondering if those results are typical or just lucky.

My situation's kinda complicated. I had braces from ages 12-17 approximately, from TWO different orthodontists (the first one was not good and the second one had to try to correct his work). I came out with relatively straight teeth but was never 100% satisfied with my smile. My six front uppers, though aligned with one another, remained very prominent and overshadowed the back teeth (also aligned with one another but slanted inwards in comparison with the front teeth). What's more, though my midline is in the right place, my six front teeth slant very slightly to the left, following a prominent upper left bicuspid.

Here's an idea of what my teeth look like:

Image

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(It's more obvious in some pictures than in others, but it's REALLY obvious to me!!!)

Before I found these forums, I thought my problem was that I needed my front six teeth pushed inward to line up with my molars, which are slanted inward. I didn't realize that what I really wanted was a wider, broader arch, so that my smile would show 10-12 teeth instead of just 6-8.

Right now I am seeing a dentist who also does ortho work. (Obviously, that’s not ideal--I'd rather see someone who does ortho exclusively--but I'm stuck in the situation due to insurance/financial considerations. He’s a friend of my parents and offered his services at a really generous discount.) Unfortunately when I first went in to consult with him, I didn't have a clear idea (as I do now from research and ArchWired) of what my problem was; I just spoke with him generally about what 'bothered' me in the alignment of my teeth.

Like I said, he told me that we’d work on bringing the front six teeth in and the back molars out. He showed me two different options: one was an appliance that looked sort of like a retainer but thinking back now might have been a palatal expander. The other option was a clear aligner a la Invisalign. I expressed a preference for the Invisalign because of my age (and vanity, lol); the metal retainer-like device looked like it would be a LOT more visible, and he acknowledged that. But he told me that the metal device had more 'torque' and would get the job done faster, and so I agreed to using that. He didn’t tell me what the appliance was called & I didn’t even think to ask.

THEN apparently the guy who makes these metal devices for him disappeared off the face of the earth. Yes, really: my dentist has been working with him for decades, but when he sent off a bunch of impressions (including mine) to the guy's lab, he didn't get a response for weeks and the guy is not answering his phone. So he thinks something 'happened' to the metal-device maker. Anyway, I had to get re-impressioned for clear aligners instead. I was secretly happy about that (see reference to VANITY above), but this was before I knew about (a) the mixed experiences people have had with Invisalign and (b) the concept of a 'wide arch' and possibility of expanding one's palate.

The more I read up on the limits of Invisalign and palate expansion, the more skeptical I am about what my dentist intends to do with my teeth. If he uses the clear aligners just to push the front teeth in and pull the back teeth out, is that the same as widening my arch, or will that just ‘tip’ the teeth out without having any effect on the shape of my arch?

Any suggestions on how to broach this topic with my dentist? I was completely ignorant and trusting when I first came to him, so I’m afraid he’ll be offended now if I come in armed with all this research. He’s a family friend so I am loath to step on his toes and/or question his skills. At the same time, I don’t want to get a useless (or potentially harmful) procedure done that won’t improve the appearance of my teeth at all!

diehard
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 9:48 am
Location: uk

Postby diehard » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:09 pm

the answer to your ? is yes invisalign can widen the arches as I have personally found out because my treatment has been to move my molars around before the good stuff at the front begins and I can see a clear change at the start my face was a bit gaunt looking now its more filled out if that makes sence :)

Ewok2000
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:52 pm

Postby Ewok2000 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:17 pm

yes.

Ewok2000
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:52 pm

Postby Ewok2000 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:17 pm

EDIT

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

Postby gunter8888 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:21 pm

honolul9,

First let me say your teeth and smile are great and I am quite envious.

I was not a candidate for invisalign, but I do have the removable palate expander you mentioned. It looks just like a retainer, but with screws for widening my arch. With the exception of learning to speak with it in(which only took about 2 weeks), it hasn't been a big deal.

As for being noticable? Yesterday I went to lunch w/ a coworker whose cubicle is right across the aisle (3-4 feet) from mine and whom I talk to 3-4 times a day and as I removed my expander to eat he asked if I had braces or something. In the 3 months that I have had it he never noticed. Another coworker that I work closely with only discovered it when I told her I could no longer chew gum because of it.

Not sure if its still an option with the disapearance of the gentleman who makes them for your dentist, but I can tell you its no big deal.

Best of luck!
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

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honolul9
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Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:44 pm

Postby honolul9 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:23 pm

diehard,

thanks for your reply. That's really good news... Can I ask: did you go in for Invisalign specifically asking for a wider arch, or was this a side benefit that you noticed in your treatment?

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honolul9
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:44 pm

Postby honolul9 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:25 pm

thanks, gunter8...

I think you're right, it must have been a removable PE that he showed me. I didn't even know about PEs then, much less *removable* ones. Anyway, glad to hear it's working well for you!

I'm going to ask him about it next week when I go in...

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tulip
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:39 pm
Location: Canada

Postby tulip » Fri Nov 10, 2006 5:50 pm

Just re-iterating Diehard's comments about widening the arch. I am on tray 4 of Invisalign, and the plan is that my arch will get widened during this process. In fact, 9 weeks into my treatment, and I do believe that is where I see progress - like Diehard says, they make room at the back first before fixing up the front teeth.
Image

diehard
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 9:48 am
Location: uk

Postby diehard » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:45 pm

I did not get invisalign to widen my arch its just a bonus I went for treatment to sort out my overjet

nvrsaynvr
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:28 pm

Postby nvrsaynvr » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:20 pm

Im finished with my uppers and the whole reason for invisalign on the uppers was to widened my arch. it work beautiful :D Im am sooo happy with my results. my smile is much more wider and beautiful. i get comments on my smile ALL the time.
I have 9 weeks left with my lowers and i have noticed a big difference on my lower arch also.

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honolul9
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Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:44 pm

Postby honolul9 » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:47 pm

nvrsaynvr wrote:Im finished with my uppers and the whole reason for invisalign on the uppers was to widened my arch. it work beautiful :D


That is awesome! I'm sooo happy to hear this, thank you!! Now I'm actually looking forward to discussing this w/ my dentist tomorrow... :)

nvrsaynvr
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:28 pm

Postby nvrsaynvr » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:21 am

Your welcome :D Good luck to you!
The way I explained on this board about my smile is...

Take your index finger and thumb and make a "V", now take your index finger and thumb and make a "U", this is the before and after of my smile.

Dumb way to explain, but hopefully you get the picture...


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