WHAT IS INVISALIGN?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment made of clear plastic removable aligners that place gentle pressure onto your teeth to gradually shift them into your desired alignment. Invisalign uses Smart Force Technology to create custom-fit aligners and digital mapping to plan out the patient’s entire orthodontic treatment from start to finish.
Clear aligners are more hygienic, discreet, and comfortable than traditional metal braces. You must wear the aligners for at least 22 hours a day. To find out if Invisalign is right for you, contact us at Tree of Life Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Parul Shridhar.
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HOW IT WORKS: THE INVISALIGN PROCESS
You will come in for a consultation with Dr. Shridhar who will perform a thorough exam and take x-rays to make sure you are a good candidate for Invisalign. Conditions that could rule you out as a candidate include active decay, gum disease, or an inability to comply with the 22 hour wear time of the time aligners.
IMPRESSIONS & DIGITAL IMAGING
Digital scans and impressions will be taken of your teeth and bite. They will be sent to the Invisalign dental lab that creates your aligners. The impressions and images of your teeth allow the technicians to create aligners that fit perfectly snug around your teeth.
PLACEMENT OF ATTACHMENTS
If you have an improper bite or teeth that need extra help being shifted or rotated, composite resin attachment buttons will be bonded to your teeth. These attachments help anchor the aligners to apply just the right amount of pressure to encourage proper teeth and jaw movement. They can be combined with elastics to help shift the jaw forward or backward.
FITTING & CONTINUAL TREATMENT
Once the aligners have been fabricated and arrived at our dental office, we will place them over your teeth to test how they fit and you will officially begin your treatment. You will return for checkup appointments every few weeks and you will change your aligners every 2 weeks.
When you have completed your treatment, you will need to wear a retainer to prevent the diminished/weakened jaw bone from shifting back until it hardens.
WHAT CAN INVISALIGN FIX?
Invisalign can treat crooked, misaligned, and overcrowded teeth by exerting pressure on the teeth to shift them into their proper alignment. For more severely crooked teeth, attachments may be necessary to achieve the desired tooth position. The average treatment time is 12-18 months.
Invisalign can close gaps in your teeth, whether they’re located on the upper or lower arch. Depending on the severity of the gap, it could take just a few months of wearing Invisalign aligners or it could take much longer and need to be combined with other procedures such as tooth bonding and veneers to fully close the gap.
It can take 12-36 months to correct bite problems with Invisalign. Invisalign is best at closing gaps that are 6 mm or smaller. The aligners can also be used to create the perfect alignment to place a dental implant between the space.
Thanks to Invisalign attachment buttons and elastics, bite problems such as over, under, open, and crossbites can be corrected by moving the teeth into the right position and shifting the upper jaw forward, backward, up, or down, and shifting the lower jaw forward or backward.
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HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT INVISALIGN? FIND ANSWERS HERE.
For the Invisalign treatment to work, you must wear the aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day. The reason Invisalign is only recommended for adults and older teens is that the success of your treatment is largely based on compliance and self-accountability.
Your aligners are removable so you can take them out as many times as you want to eat and clean your teeth. However, you need to make sure that you aren’t removing them for longer than 2 hours in a 24-hour period.
Your aligners need time to shift your teeth by exerting continual force. Every time you remove your aligners, this process is becoming disrupted. If you remove your aligners too frequently, you may find that your next set of aligners doesn’t fit because your teeth haven’t finished shifting over the 2-week period that you wear a set of aligners. This will require you to backtrack to a previous set of aligners and will prolong your treatment.
Invisalign isn’t painful and is considered much more comfortable compared to traditional braces because the aligners are made of thermoplastic rather than metal. These aligners also exert gentler force.
However, all orthodontic treatment works the same way to straighten the teeth – force is exerted by an appliance that moves the teeth. This tends to cause some level of discomfort or soreness, especially in the beginning.
With Invisalign, you change your aligners every 2 weeks. Your teeth are most likely to feel sore when you first change aligners because they will be the tightest at this point until your teeth move over the next 2 weeks. You can prevent discomfort by wearing your aligners for the necessary 22 hours per day, taking anti-inflammatory pain medication, changing your aligners overnight, sucking on ice cubes, and eating soft foods when you first change to a new aligner.
You can drink coffee or any other beverage and eat anything that you want as long as you remove your aligners first. Coffee should not be consumed while wearing your aligners for a few reasons. It can cause discoloration, introduce bacteria to your aligners that increase your risk for cavities, and the heat can morph the shape of your aligners. Always remove the aligners first and brush and floss your teeth before putting them back in.
Always rinse your aligners with cool or warm water when taking them out and putting them back in your mouth. You should clean them twice a day in the morning and at night. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and a nonabrasive cleaning solution to scrub all of the surfaces of the aligners.
You can either use a denture cleaning solution or Invisalign cleaning crystals. Always take your aligners out before eating and drinking anything other than water. Don’t run your aligners under hot water and store them in their storage case when not wearing them. Once a day, soak them in a cleaning solution for at least 15 minutes.
Teeth grinding is usually an involuntary habit that occurs when a patient is sleeping due to stress, anxiety, having a sleep disorder, or a misaligned bite. If you grind your teeth because you have a misaligned bite, Invisalign can fix this problem by correcting your bite.
However, even if your bruxism is caused by stress, the aligners will cushion your teeth to prevent damage and breakage to your teeth. While it’s true, you likely will wear down your aligners faster than other patients, you only wear a set of aligners for 2 weeks at a time, so this is unlikely to be a problem unless you have severe bruxism.
We can help you determine if your bruxism will pose a problem for your Invisalign treatment during your consultation. Contact us at Tree of Life Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Parul Shridhar.