Misaligned teeth can be uncomfortable and may make it difficult to chew food. Sometimes they might even hurt. That’s why braces exist - they help to adjust your teeth accordingly. This form of orthodontic treatment is easy to spot on anyone, and it can be uncomfortable and cumbersome to deal with, not to mention embarrassing for some people. Fortunately, there’s a newer method of teeth alignment that you can use: Invisalign! In this post, we will go over everything you need to know about Invisalign.
What is Invisalign and How Does Invisalign Work to Keep Your Teeth Straight?
Invisalign is a form of braces that uses smooth, clear tray aligners. They’re made of Invisalign’s own blend of BPA-free plastic, manufactured based on models of your mouth. The aligners are solid pieces of plastic strong enough to put pressure on specific parts of your teeth to slowly move them into a better position. These aligner trays are replaced every one or two weeks and each replacement will feel slightly different, as they are designed to continue shifting and moving your teeth. Just before the aligners are replaced, your teeth would have been pushed into a formation that is ready to accept the next set of aligners.
The Invisalign Process
To get the process started, you need to set up an appointment to get your first consultation. During this consultation, you will be asked many questions about your dental history and many photos will be taken. This is done so that there is a complete understanding of your current dental state. Either a mould or a 3D scan of your teeth will also be taken. At this consultation, the professional will go over the procedure with you and how much the treatment plan will cost.
The 3D scan or mould will then be used to create the treatment plan by mapping out the stages of the treatment. These stages are tailored specifically for you, and only select teeth are moved at each stage. The doctor will be able to decide which teeth to move and when according to the information that is seen in each visit.
When the first alignment trays are made, they will be placed by your doctor and they will be checked to make sure they are the correct fit. The doctor may add some small attachments to keep the aligners in place and add extra support. The new aligner trays may hurt a bit, but it is normal and will go away in time.
After a few weeks, you will be asked to return to the clinic and the professional will check on your progress. Unlike traditional braces, you don’t have to come back regularly for adjustments. Any time you come to the clinic, it will be to check on your progress.
Once the treatment is finished, you will have a set of nicely arranged teeth. You will likely need a retainer to keep your teeth in place. The doctor will advise you if you need them once your treatment finishes.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Invisalign Process
What should I bring to my consultation with my doctor?
You don’t need to bring anything, but you should bring any questions you may have about the whole Invisalign process for your case. The first consultation is a great time to ask about costs and payment options, and other questions like:
- Will you be using a 3D scan or a mould for my teeth?
- Do you accept my insurance plan?
- What happens if I lose or break an aligner?
What should I expect during my consultation?
Expect lots of questions and photos. The questions will mostly be about your dental history. Depending on the clinic, they may take a mould or a 3D scan of your mouth.
How long will treatment take?
The treatment time for each individual varies, but it typically takes 18 months to go through the whole process. More complicated cases may take up to 24 months. These times are typical estimates for both adults and teens.
How often will I change aligners?
The aligners will change every two weeks or so for the typical patient. However, since cases do vary, it is a good idea to confirm this with the doctor.
How many hours per day should I wear my aligners?
The aligners should be worn 20 to 22 hours a day. Essentially, you would have it on all day except when you are eating or flossing and brushing your teeth.
How often will I have appointments with my doctor?
Your doctor will schedule appointments every 4 to 6 weeks. This is to check up on the progress of your treatment and if it is on track.
My doctor mentioned “attachments”. What are they and why would I need them for my Invisalign treatment?
Attachments are small dots of dental bonding that are strategically placed to provide anchor points for the aligner. These points help keep the aligners in place and help the aligner provide the necessary force to push the teeth in place. The use of attachments depends on each case.
Can I get Invisalign treatment on just my top or bottom teeth instead of both?
Yes, you can get treatment on only the top or bottom teeth. However, you would usually have both sets undergo treatment. There is a risk that your bite would not match if only one set was adjusted.
Taking Care of Your Teeth After Invisalign
Now that you have gone through weeks of treatment, making sure to take care of your teeth and your aligners, the doctor has confirmed with you that your treatment is finished. You have a straight set of teeth and are ready to go on without aligners. How do you take care of your teeth now?
You will likely need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth from going back into their original position. They will need to be worn every night. You will be using these for years, but after 12 months, they will only need to be used a few nights a week. You will have new bone deposited around your new teeth orientation so they won’t move as much, but they will still move over time. These retainers are there to keep your teeth in place for good. No one wants all those weeks of treatment to go to waste!
Ask your doctor about Vivera retainers. These are clear retainers that are made to work like Invisalign; they are made of clear material that is also difficult to see from a distance. The price for these retainers ranges from $400 to $1000, but it changes case by case. Your doctor will give you the information you need about ordering them.
Along with retainers, it is important that you keep good dental hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth twice daily to prevent any decay. No one wants to have a great smile ruined by a lack of care.
What Kind of Cases Are Treatable by Invisalign?
Invisalign is able to solve many concerns related to dental alignment. Some of the common alignment conditions that can be alleviated by Invisalign include:
Having no room in your jaw for the number of teeth you have causes your teeth to twist and push into each other; you have crowded teeth in this case. Crowded teeth make it difficult to brush or floss well, leading the way for plaque and bacteria to cause tooth decay and gum disease
Most people have an overbite. This is when the top teeth hang over the bottom teeth. Doctors use percentages to describe overbites, with 5 to 25 percent being ideal. The problems this might cause range from tooth wear to jaw pain.
You can think of underbite as the opposite of an overbite. The lower teeth extend further than the upper teeth when you close your mouth. Underbites can make it difficult to chew or speak, and they may wear down the teeth significantly.
Crossbite is like a mix of overbite and underbite. This is when the top teeth don’t line up with the bottom teeth, with only some of the bottom teeth sitting in front and behind the top teeth. This can cause your teeth to chip, your gums to recede, and in the worst case, cause bone loss.
As the name suggests, gap teeth are when you have gaps between two or more teeth. Food can get stuck in these spaces and it can lead to tender gums or gum disease.
When you close your mouth and your teeth don’t meet, you have what doctors call an open bite. Open bites make it difficult to eat certain foods such as apples, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Baby and Permanent Teeth
Children aged 6 to 10 can undergo orthodontic treatment while they still have their baby teeth. The advantages of getting treatment during this time include getting pre-existing bite issues from getting worse and helping the child’s teeth to straighten as they grow.
Generally Straighter Teeth
Maybe you have a crooked tooth that bothers you. Even if you don’t have dental issues and you just want to straighten your teeth, Invisalign can help you with that and make your teeth perfect in appearance.
If you or your child feel as if you are affected by one of these situations, Invisalign has you covered. A call now to set up that first consultation would be a benefit for you!
The Difference Between Other Straightening Options and Invisalign
Although Invisalign is a newer form of orthodontic treatment, it has advantages over its predecessor. While braces have been around for a long time and are the commonly used form of orthodontic treatment, Invisalign has come out as an alternative that removes some of the negative points from braces.
Most people are familiar with the image of braces; they are the obvious wire and bracket installations in the mouth that everyone has seen on TV. The wire and brackets can be uncomfortable inside the mouth as they poke into the surface of the cheek tissue. On top of that, the treatment takes a lengthy amount of time, with treatments lasting from 18 months to 3 years.
Braces also require you to stay away from certain foods, such as apples, in order to keep them in good shape. They require different cleaning methods as well, making the evening routine more inconvenient and time-consuming. What’s more, you would need to visit the professional every 4 to 8 months to have them tightened.
Invisalign is the name that popularized clear aligners. Clear aligners are almost invisible trays that go over your teeth to apply pressure. The aligner trays are made of BPA-free plastics, so they are durable and non-toxic. Since they are non-metallic, you won’t need to feel the discomfort of metal scratching on the inside of your cheeks. Also, because they are clear, they are nearly invisible in photos and at a distance. They are whole pieces that are designed specifically for the patient that uses them and are replaced with new ones every two weeks or so. Unlike braces, these trays are removable, so you don’t have to worry about what kind of food you are eating, and flossing won’t be a hassle.
The treatment time for clear aligners is a lot less than traditional braces, with estimated treatment times at 6 to 18 months. You will still need to visit the doctor every 4 to 6 weeks, but they will be check-ups on your progress. These appointments typically have less pain and time involved.
How Will Invisalign Affect My Life?
Invisalign was created with the goal of being more comfortable and more discreet than metal braces. From a distance, Invisalign will be essentially invisible, and there will be no trace of their presence in photos. These aligners only become obvious if you take a close look, with the attachments being the more visible features of the aligner.
Again, Invisalign can be taken off whenever you eat and brush your teeth, meaning that there are virtually no restrictions on what kind of foods you eat. Metal braces would have you avoid eating hard fruits like apples, but you don’t need to worry about that with Invisalign!
Another drawback of metal braces is that they can affect your speech and cause lisps. However, because Invisalign is made to be thin and non-invasive, there is very little chance that you will hear a significant difference. 93% of Invisalign users report that they have experienced no changes in their speech. If there are any changes, only you as a user would be able to notice them!
If you are thinking of quitting or reducing your smoking, Invisalign can help you with that as well. Tobacco products react negatively with the Invisalign aligners, causing stains and making them less invisible. To add to that, tobacco can get stuck in the trays and react with your teeth and gums when you wear the aligners, which creates the possibility of gum disease.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Invisalign Aligners
How should I take care of my Invisalign aligners?
The Invisalign aligners are removable, so they are much easier to take care of than braces. Brush the inside and outside of the aligners with a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste, then rinse with lukewarm water. If there is a buildup of white-coloured material, soak the retainer in a cleaning solution provided by your doctor.
I just finished eating and I have food residue in my mouth. Will my aligners become stained?
You don’t need to worry about staining your aligners if you end up with food residue in your mouth. Stains will only occur if you drink coffee, use mouthwash, or smoke with the aligners on in your mouth. However, you should still take care to clean or rinse your mouth out after you eat, as you increase your chances of tooth decay if there are particles of food in the trays.
Can I chew gum while wearing aligners?
Chewing gum with your aligners on is not advised. The gum will stick to the surface of the aligners, making the task of cleaning them very difficult. Additionally, these aligners are not made to withstand the kinds of forces that are present in chewing and may damage the aligner trays.
Can the aligners fall off while I sleep?
You don’t need to worry about your aligners falling off while you sleep. The units are made to fit snugly onto your teeth so that they push your teeth into place. This makes it difficult for them to be taken out without intention.
If I have veneers can I get Invisalign?
Absolutely! Invisalign can work with veneers. However, it is a good idea to confirm with your doctor. The veneers will need to be in good condition for Invisalign to work.
I have crowns or bridges can I get Invisalign?
Of course! Invisalign aligners are meant to be removable, so they don’t need to bond to your teeth. Plus, each tray is tailored for each patient, so crowns are always considered in that process. Again, it is still a good idea to confirm with your doctor as the crowns and bridges need to be in good condition for Invisalign to work properly.
How much does Invisalign cost and how can I pay for Invisalign?
The cost of Invisalign is affected by various factors such as your dental condition, what type of correction is going to be undertaken, and the time and age of the patient. In Canada, multiple sources put the range of price from $2000 to $8000, plus x-ray and consultation costs.
To help pay this cost, you may be eligible for METC (Medical Expense Tax Credit.) If you are a small business owner in Canada, you may be able to take advantage of an HSA (Health Spending Account.) Some insurance policies do cover dental costs as well. Consult with your insurance provider and dental professional to learn more about your options.
Is Invisalign painful?
Invisalign is a teeth-straightening treatment, so there will be discomfort involved as it moves your teeth into place, especially in the first few days of a new aligner. However, many accounts say there is less pain and discomfort involved with Invisalign than those involved with traditional metal braces.
Is Invisalign Right for You?
Do you or your child want to avoid any orthodontic issues down the road from teeth that haven’t grown in properly, but you don’t want the hassle of going through a whole process just to brush your teeth? Maybe you or your child want to perfect your smile, but don’t want to make it obvious that you’re going through treatment? If so, then Invisalign is your solution!
Call us now at 604-322-6612 to book your first consultation and let’s get started creating your beautiful and healthy smile!