As the very term Invisalign® suggests, patients can align troublesome teeth in a virtually “invisible” way. This method, using a series of transparent aligners, is particularly popular among adults who desire to have their teeth straightened, but without an association being drawn to metal braces commonly seen on adolescents. The Invisalign® system can ultimately help shift your teeth into a more desirable position and renew the appearance of your smile. In addition to teeth misalignment, this treatment can address common orthodontic issues such as a crossbite, overbite, or underbite. If you believe the discreet Invisalign® system could benefit you, please contact our practice to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dentists here at Smile for Life Dental.
Invisalign® is a system of customized, removable aligners designed to correct mild to moderate orthodontic concerns. Invisalign® works by utilizing the clear, plastic aligners to gradually straighten the teeth or address bite irregularities. The aligners are virtually unnoticeable, offering patients the ability to address common orthodontic issues without visible braces and wires on their teeth.
There are the obvious cosmetic advantages, but can Invisalign® outshine traditional metal braces in other ways? Yes! Clinically, aligners avoid many of the side effects common to traditional fixed appliances. Almost all other types of orthodontic treatments will cause the roots of teeth to shorten, a demineralization of enamel, and/or teeth to decay when food particles are entrapped in the device. Invisalign® offers patients a healthier option. Unlike traditional braces, aligners are easily removed when a person desires to eat, drink, or brush their teeth. This allows an upkeep of oral health superior to that of traditional braces. Some of the commonly noted advantages of Invisalign® treatment include:
An added bonus for patients using the removable aligners is that there are no food restrictions like those specified for patients with metal braces.
At Smile for Life Dental, we can start by taking your dental impressions, dental images, and photographs. These can then be submitted to Align Technology, allowing for a 3-D model to be created. A treatment plan will be mapped out demonstrating each progressive stage. Once the plan has been approved, a series of aligners will be constructed just for you.Approximately every two weeks, simply graduate to the next prepared aligner. Periodically, you may be asked to come in for a brief appointment so we can check on the progress of your treatment. These are typically short and less frequent visits than those needed while wearing traditional braces. Before long, you should be able to attain straighter teeth and a renewed smile! Of course, the success rate for Invisalign® patients requires a commitment to wearing the prescribed aligners at least 20-22 hours per day, so be sure to follow the recommendations of our dentist to achieve optimal results.
Invisalign®’s use of clear, plastic aligners instead of wires and brackets often produces a more comfortable experience during the treatment process. You may feel a bit of pressure or soreness while wearing a new set of aligners for the first few days; however, these effects should dissipate as your mouth continues to adjust. Also, many patients find that over-the-counter pain medication can successfully relieve discomfort during this time.
In some cases, patients have achieved optimal Invisalign® results after just 12 to 18 months. In others, it may take even less time for the desired outcome. The length of treatment will ultimately depend on individual goals, in addition to the severity of one’s orthodontic concerns. Our dentist can provide you with a more specific estimate of how long Invisalign® treatment may take once you have been evaluated during the initial consultation.
A treatment with Invisalign® is an investment in the function and appearance of your teeth. While this system boasts a relatively short treatment time compared to traditional teeth straightening methods, the results can pay off for years, if not decades, to come.
The Invisalign® procedure is customized to each of our patients’ needs, therefore the overall price of each treatment varies. However, we can provide some details on how the cost of the treatment is determined. Some of the factors will include the length of treatment necessary to meet your needs and the number of aligners that may be required. In your consultation with one of our experienced dentists, they can determine if Invisalign® could be a successful procedure for you. If so, our doctor will then create a custom treatment plan that can help you reach your goals. Our highly-trained dental staff is available to discuss payment and dental financing options, as well as to determine if your insurance plan offers any coverage for your treatment.
There are effective alternatives to Invisalign® for patients who may not be ideal candidates for the procedure, or for those who would simply like to consider other options to address their orthodontic needs. Porcelain dental veneers can often be utilized as an effective treatment for patients looking to correct the appearance of gaps and spaces between the teeth. A porcelain veneer procedure does not require ongoing treatment for signs of teeth misalignment; instead, this option involves the placement of customized tooth restorations in the specific areas affected. The veneers are designed to look just like natural teeth, ultimately serving to “mask” spaces and gaps to create a more uniform smile. Our dentist will be happy to explore the alternatives with you if Invisalign® is not the ideal solution for your needs.
As one of our most requested cosmetic dentistry treatments at Smile for Life Dental, Invisalign® can spark some questions about certain aspects of the procedure. Below, we have outlined some of the most common inquiries from patients who are considering this treatment.
Yes! One of the benefits of correcting crooked teeth with these clear, plastic aligners is that they are removable. Patients who wish to eat, drink, or celebrate special occasions without the aligners on can temporarily take them out. We recommend that, for the system to be effective in your quoted treatment time, patients should wear the aligners at least 20-22 hours per day.
Your speech may sound different than normal while your mouth gets acquainted with the clear aligners. We have found that some of our patients speak a bit differently the first few days of wearing Invisalign® as the mouth and tongue adjust to the aligners’ presence.
Invisalign® aligners are made of a special kind of thermoplastic material known as SmartTrack®. This state-of-the-art flexible plastic material, made specifically for Invisalign®, is clear, thin, and custom-designed for the best possible fit over your teeth.
To clean your aligners, we suggest brushing them daily with a toothbrush and water. For a more thorough cleaning, the durable aligners can handle being scrubbed with a small amount of antibacterial soap on a toothbrush and rinsed until clean.
One of the most prominent advantages of Invisalign® is the fact that this technique does not require the food restrictions necessary for braces and other orthodontic treatments, so patients can generally eat and drink whatever they wish. With that in mind, it is a good idea to be precautious when consuming certain items. For instance: please remember to remove your Invisalign® aligners before eating or drinking items that contain staining agents (berries, red sauce, wine, coffee, tea, etc.). Also, please brush your teeth after every meal before you place the aligners back in the mouth. If you are away from home and don’t have access to a toothbrush, be sure to give your teeth a thorough rinse. One last tip: always remove your aligners before you drink anything hot. Liquids at high temperatures can alter the shape of the Invisalign® appliances.
In most cases, an orthodontic retainer will need to be worn for the recommended amount of time after Invisalign® treatment to ensure the teeth remain in their new position. After the first several months, most patients will only need to wear the retainer at night while they sleep.
It is best to remove your Invisalign® appliances before chewing gum. Like food, gum may damage the aligners or warp their shape. Additionally, gum products that contain sugar may stain the aligners or contribute to a buildup of bacteria, so it is advisable to refrain from chewing gum while the aligners are in place.
We recommend that you do not smoke while the Invisalign® appliances are on the teeth. The chemicals present in cigarettes can rapidly produce stains and discoloration on the aligners, making them more visible.
Most individuals will need to have an Invisalign® follow-up about once every six weeks. These check-in appointments are often relatively simple and quick—we just want to monitor your progress and determine whether any adjustments will be necessary. Our team can give you a more precise idea of the follow-up schedule once you have been examined and your treatment plan has been developed.
Many patients who already have braces and would like to switch to Invisalign® are able to do this; however, it may not be an ideal solution for everyone. For some people, it will not be possible to switch treatment methods and obtain the best possible results. For others, the switch from braces to Invisalign® is built into their treatment plans from the start, which is often a better approach since switching techniques is already a strategic part of their orthodontic treatment. If you are currently wearing braces and are interested in switching to Invisalign®, our doctor can evaluate your needs and help determine whether you can still achieve your goals by switching techniques. The best solution is always based on the degree of severity in terms of your orthodontic concerns and the treatment that can produce results that align with your expectations.
If you would like more information about the Invisalign® procedure, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office today.