Let’s face it: Most of us would love to have straight teeth. A dazzling smile is something many of us covet, and those with crooked or overcrowded teeth may oftentimes feel self-conscious when having their photo taken, meeting strangers, or even conversing with coworkers or friends.
That being said, many people are also turned off by the idea of braces. While braces have been proven to effectively straighten teeth, they’re definitely a commitment — typically, orthodontists will advise patients to wear braces as long as three years. That’s oftentimes not ideal for most people — not to mention, flashing a smile full of metal isn’t usually optimal, either.
Fortunately for those who aren’t too keen on the idea of braces, there is a solution. Invisalign has become increasingly more popular in the treatment of crooked, overcrowded and misaligned teeth. Similar in appearance to a teeth whitening tray, Invisalign is a clear mouthpiece that is worn to straighten teeth. It has a similar straightening effect as braces, yet is virtually invisible to the naked eye, making it an attractive alternative for those who don’t necessarily want a mouth full of metal.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign trays are made from a plastic material that’s been custom made to specifically fit your teeth. After taking measurements and creating 3-D models of your teeth, your doctor will work with Invisalign to create a series of aligners to be worn throughout the straightening process — as your teeth get progressively straighter, you’ll graduate from one set of aligners to the next. Each set of aligners is typically worn for about two weeks at a time for about 22 hours a day. To ensure you receive the best results, you should only remove your aligners while eating or brushing your teeth.
To answer the question on how Invisalign works, Invisalign aligners work by pushing your teeth into a straighter position, moving teeth roughly a quarter of a millimeter with each aligner tray. Because everyone’s mouth is different, Invisalign treatments can vary greatly in time from one another depending on how much movement needs to occur in order to straighten your teeth. Some people may only need a few months of treatment, while others’ treatment plans can last for a few years. Your doctor will work alongside Invisalign to design a treatment plan that’s unique to your specific needs to ensure the best results.
Who Can Invisalign Help?
Many often wonder if Invisalign will work for their specific needs. Will Invisalign work for crowded teeth? Will Invisalign work for gaps in your teeth?
Invisalign works for treating a wide range of issues including but not limited to:
- Crooked teeth
- Gapped teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
- Open bites
Even if you’ve never had orthodontic treatment before, Invisalign can help you achieve a straighter smile. It’s also an ideal solution for those who may have previously had braces to restore their teeth to their original orthodontic endpoint.
While Invisalign is a great solution for treating a variety of dental issues, it may not always be the best option in certain cases. If patients have severe crossbites and overcrowding issues or skeletal discrepancies, traditional orthodontics may be a quicker and more effective option.
Invisalign is an ideal solution for both teens and adults, as well as those who want to achieve a straighter smile before their wedding day. Cost is always a concern for patients; however Invisalign is typically comparable in cost to traditional braces. Be sure to consult with your insurance company and doctor to get a thorough cost estimate.
What to Expect at Your First Appointment
Your dentist or orthodontist will arrange an initial consultation with you to determine if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign. The doctor will discuss your dental and health history and may take photos or radiographs to get a better idea of what your specific treatment will entail.
Once you’re approved, your doctor will create a treatment plan that’s customized to meet your specific needs. He or she will take an impression of your mouth and send it to Invisalign headquarters, where a treatment plan will be devised. Your dentist or orthodontist will review the proposed treatment plan and make any adjustments as necessary.
Once the treatment plan is up to your doctor’s satisfaction, Invisalign will create your aligner trays using 3-D modeling and CAD/CAM fabrication. The trays are then sent to your dentist’s or orthodontist’s office where you’ll return to begin treatment. Your doctor will review with you how to properly wear and care for your aligners to achieve the greatest results.
What to Expect During Invisalign Treatment
Many people ask the question how long does Invisalign take? As stated earlier, it varies a lot based on the current condition of your teeth.
Your teeth will gradually become straighter throughout the course of treatment. As your teeth become straighter, you’ll graduate from one set of aligners to the next one per your treatment plan. Typically, dentists or orthodontists will give patients three sets of liners at each visit so they will only have to return every 6 to 8 weeks for a checkup.
It’s important to maintain good dental habits throughout your Invisalign treatment to ensure your teeth stay as healthy as possible. Be sure to only remove your aligners when brushing or flossing your teeth, as well as during meals, to receive the greatest benefit from your treatment.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Invisalign works and what Invisalign can do for you, contact Boulder dentist Dr. David Evans for more information.