Often when people think of “orthodontics” they immediately think of the teenager with a mouth full of metal. But today, it’s a new world for patients needing to address misaligned teeth and other bite problems. While it’s true that braces are still metal, they are smaller today and more comfortable to wear. But what about the patient who doesn’t want wires or metal at all? Our orthodontists are able to offer a clear alternative: Invisalign®!
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign® is a system of clear aligners made of almost invisible polyurethane plastic that are made especially for your bite. Over time and through a series of aligners your orthodontist will deliver to you, your teeth will be straightened and maneuvered into their correct positions. Invisalign® clear aligners are removable instead of being cemented or bonded to your teeth like traditional braces. That means you’ll be able to take them out to eat, brush your teeth, floss or for social occasions. Other advantages of using the Invisalign® system include:
- Improved Oral Hygiene — Since Invisalign® is removable, you can clean your teeth much more easily and thoroughly than if you were wearing metal braces.
- A Discreet Look — If you consider orthodontic treatment to be a private matter, or simply feel that metal braces don’t fit with your self-image, the invisibility of Invisalign® may be right for you.
- More Dietary Choices — With traditional braces, some dietary modifications are necessary in order to protect the wires and brackets. Because you can remove your Invisalign® aligners, you can eat anything you like!
- Comfort — The soft, flexible material that Invisalign® aligners are made of should not irritate the inside of your mouth like metal braces can. Additionally, there is less need for adjustments and most patients say they experience a lot less soreness.
- Teeth-Grinding Protection — If you have a teeth-grinding or clenching habit, clear aligners can function as thin night-guards that will protect your teeth from excessive wear.
- Faster, more efficient treatment
How Does Invisalign Work?
All orthodontic treatments work in a similar way in that the differing methods apply carefully controlled forces to teeth to move them into their correct positions.
Your orthodontist will utilize specialized computer software to design a plan for moving your teeth into the best possible alignment. Each movement step will be broken down into several dozen stages, more or less. For each stage, two sets of plastic aligners will be manufactured, one for your top row of teeth and one for the bottom. Each set of trays will be worn for one or two weeks, for a minimum of 22 hours each day. As your teeth begin the process of repositioning, we will move you through the next set of aligners, about once every one or two weeks until your teeth have been moved correctly into place.
How Do You Take Care of Your Teeth with Invisalign?
As we’ve mentioned above, one of the biggest advantages of the Invisalign® system is the ability to remove the trays for easier teeth cleaning. For our patient, taking care of their teeth is the same as if they had nothing on their teeth! It’s important to not neglect maintaining proper oral hygiene to prevent food from being trapped in the aligners. For this reason, we ask our patients to brush their teeth after every meal or snack to prevent food from being trapped in the aligners. You should also clean your aligners regularly by brushing them and then rinsing them with water and liquid hand soap (Dial) or using denture cleaning tablets.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that while wearing clear aligners may be different from wearing traditional braces, the importance of maintaining straight teeth post-treatment is exactly the same. Be sure to wear your retainers exactly as prescribed in order to protect your beautiful new smile!