The Technology of Invisalign

Many of us remember an age without cell phones, and even more remember a time when the only thing cell phones did was make calls. Now, thanks to technology, the tiny computer we carry in our pocket is more technologically advanced than the system that sent the first shuttle to space! 


The same can be seen in the orthodontic technology. From ancient braces found on mummies in Egypt (that relied on animal skin attached to the teeth) to the traditional braces of the twentieth century (that relied on stainless steel), technology has evolved significantly. 

 Invisalign technology

What’s interesting about tracing the history of orthodontia back to ancient Egypt is that all the varying versions of braces relied heavily on the model of brackets and wires. While it’s obvious how modern elements and our growing medical knowledge shaped these changes, it’s shocking that it took thousands of years to completely throw out the old model and try something new.  


That’s exactly what Invisalign did in 1997. As we’ve previously discussed, Invisalign founder Zia Christi was able to revolutionize modern orthodontia by leaning on his background as an engineer—not a dentist! 


Invisalign technology has shaken up the bracket and wire braces world and spurred one of the greatest dental advancements of our time.  


What did Christi do? 


Christi and his partners relied 3D imaging software to map out a patient’s mouth and create custom aligners that would slowly transform his or her mouth over time. This imaging software has helped propel the era of digital dentistry. 


Previously, dentists relied on physical impressions that many patients dreaded and found uncomfortable. But by taking the treatment planning online through new software and computer programs, dentists are now able to ensure there are no human errors or botched physical impressions that could slow down the process and add time to a treatment schedule.  


Before coming to market, this new retainer technology was tested for over three years. The plastic aligners used are called Smart Track. The design of Smart Track balances patient comfort with straightening ability using the design that allows the aligner to fit snuggly around your teeth to ensure they move into the correct position. To prevent pain, the aligners are built with light elasticity. This minimal “give” allows your teeth to not be moved too quickly (which is where pain sets in), but still fast enough that each tray generally lasts only two weeks. The gentle-yet-consistent force against your teeth improves tooth movement and has been scientifically proven to work 99.9% of the time. 


What did they make it out of? 


The trays themselves are made of medical-grade plastic. Since these devices are used in the body, the materials must pass strict safety requirements and inspections. The components in Invisalign have been proven to be biocompatible to use for human use in the mouth.  


Finally, thanks to the us use of robots, each Invisalign tray is carved with laser precision. Invisalign technology is cutting-edge, which results in minimal mistakes or deviations from the designated treatment plan in each tray. 


Since each tray is based on this fancy technology, not to mention mathematics and algorithms to predict tooth movement, fewer appointments and trips to the dentists are needed. Not only can you save time and money, but you can experience less pain compared to traditional braces. 


Technology is the key component of Invisalign’s business model. It has allowed for the company to grow rapidly and service patients all around the world. If this seems like something you’re interested in, give our office a call today. We would love to be part of your journey to a straight smile!

Also published on Medium.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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