Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment option for many patients. While most people have heard of Invisalign at this point, not everyone knows exactly how it works and what Invisalign treatment entails. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering Invisalign to help you achieve a more beautiful smile.
What Is Invisalign?
In the past, the only way to straighten teeth was with orthodontic braces, which use brackets and wires to push and pull teeth into alignment. Invisalign uses a completely different treatment model, with clear plastic aligners that gradually shift your teeth into position.
Invisalign treatment involves a series of aligners worn for about two weeks at a time. Your dentist will design these aligners just for you, with each set having slight changes that bring you closer to your treatment outcome. Although Invisalign isn’t an option for all patients, advances in its SmartTrack material and other features mean that these days, Invisalign can be used to treat a wide range of orthodontic issues just as effectively as traditional metal braces.
How Invisalign Works
The first step in Invisalign treatment is your consultation. During this appointment, we’ll make sure Invisalign is a fit for your needs. We’ll take x-rays, photographs, and digital impressions that allow us to make a 3D model of your smile on our computer. This model is used for planning your treatment, designing your aligners, and it will give you a preview of what your smile will look like once your treatment is complete.
Our office will send your treatment plan to Invisalign, where your custom aligners are made. In some cases, there are attachments (called “buttons”) that are bonded to your teeth to help them move. Once you get your aligners, you’ll wear them in a specific order for two weeks each, or as directed by your dentist.
Invisalign aligners are different from braces because they can be removed. This is an advantage in many ways—it allows you to continue to eat all your favorite foods and makes brushing and flossing easy. One disadvantage of this, though, is that braces are attached to your teeth so they work 24/7, while Invisalign aligners only work when you wear them. Although Invisalign suggests wearing your aligners for at least 20 hours a day, we recommend you simply wear them all day long unless you are eating, drinking something other than water, brushing, or flossing.
You’ll visit our office every 6 weeks or so, which allows us to monitor your treatment progress and make sure it’s on the right track. When you’ve gone through every set of aligners, your treatment will be complete, but to maintain your beautiful new smile, you’ll receive a set of Vivera retainers to keep your teeth from shifting. These retainers are made with clear plastic, just like your aligners, but the material is thicker to make them more durable.
Learn More About Invisalign
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for a consultation to learn more about Invisalign, contact us today at 314-432-5544.