But over the last 20 years of research, design, and redesign, Invisalign’s ability to treat more and more different orthodontic problems has expanded. And now the company has just announced it will offer mandibular (jaw) advancement as part of its Invisalign Teen treatment.
Improving the Profile
Lower jaw advancement is known in orthodontics as Class II correction. Class II malocclusion is defined by the relationship of the premolars to one another. When the upper premolars are ahead of the lower premolars, it is considered a class II malocclusion. This can be caused either by overjet, where the upper teeth are inclined forward, or by overbite, where the upper jaw is actually advanced forward over the lower jaw.
Mandibular advancement is mostly used to help treat overbite. Overbite is very common, occurring in 30-45% of all orthodontic teen treatment cases. Overbite impacts not only a person’s chewing ability, it also impacts their profile. A retruded lower jaw can give the appearance of a weak chin, leading to an unattractive appearance. Advancing the jaw improves the profile and helps to make chewing more natural and comfortable.
Jaw Advancement without Elastics
Advancing the jaw as part of orthodontic treatment involves the application of steady force to the lower jaw. With traditional wire braces, this is typically applied with elastics (rubber bands) that run from the upper jaw to the lower jaw, pulling the lower jaw forward.
But because Invisalign doesn’t have wires and brackets, it needs to utilize a different approach. Invisalign accomplishes the movement of the jaw using what it describes as “precision wings.” These wings are located on the upper and lower aligners. These wings interlock to hold the lower jaw forward, similar to the approach used in many types of oral appliances used for sleep apnea.
Invisalign claims their mandibular advancement offers many benefits:
- Clinically proven treatment
- Cost and time savings
- Improved compliance
- Greater patient comfort
- Reduced treatment time
Many of these benefits are simply those that they claim for Invisalign treatment generally. The clinical proof for the effectiveness of this approach to jaw advancement is simply listed as being on file in the Invisalign office, rather than being published in a peer-reviewed clinical journal, which would provide greater confidence in the accuracy and applicability of results.
Is Invisalign the Best Orthodontic Treatment for You?
Finding the best orthodontic treatment for your malocclusion is a complicated process. At Rice Dentistry, we offer a wide range of orthodontic approaches, which gives us the freedom to consider many different treatment options. That way, we can match people with their ideal treatment.