Aim: This study examined how well patients accepted and to what extent they were impaired by Invisalign treatment.
Patients and methods: Fifty-four consecutive patients received a questionnaire with 12 questions after 3 to 6 months of Invisalign treatment. They were given a choice of three responses for each question. Apart from personal data, the questionnaire covered the following parameters: adaptation time, occurrence and duration of pain, possible speech impairment, lingual and mucosal irritations, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems and subjective assessment of the success of therapy thus far and the quality of information initially provided.
Results: 78% of those interviewed were females. The highest percentage of patients (44%) were between 20 and 30 years of age. 83% got used to their aligners within one week. 35% had no pain and 54% mild pain while wearing them. This pain usually lasted for 2 to 3 days following insertion of a new aligner. 46% of the patients experienced no speech impairment. 93% felt so secure with their aligners that they felt not at all inhibited about speaking. The majority noticed no narrowing of the lingual space (76%) or irritation of the lingual or buccal mucosa (70%). However, 6% had strong irritations. 44% of the patients had difficulty chewing, mainly because the teeth were sensitive to pressure or had food particles caught between them due to temporary gaps. TMJ problems in terms of clicking were reported by 8% of the patients, although the clicking had existed before therapy initiation. None of the patients had TMJ pain. At the time of the interview, 89% of the patients were satisfied with the progress of therapy. All patients considered themselves well or very well informed about the treatment.
Conclusions: Invisalign therapy seems particularly attractive to a clientele comparable to that for the lingual technique. Patients show high acceptance, since they become accustomed to the aligners very quickly and do not suffer much impairment. If indicated, Invisalign therapy should thus be considered an alternative to the lingual technique for esthetically-demanding patients. This applies especially to patients who cannot be treated by the lingual technique because of the inevitable speech impairment.