If you’ve ever looked at your smile in the mirror and wished it was straighter, but will never consider the “eye sore” of braces, we completely understand. Many of our patients come to us wanting a vibrant and straight smile, but are concerned not only about the look but about the lifestyle limitations of braces.
One of the best alternatives to traditional metal braces is Invisalign. And since patients of all ages come to us with a variety of Invisalign questions, we’ve compiled a FAQ to answer everything in one place. We’ll be discussing Invisalign all month, so come back every week through June to read more about how an Invisalign retainer can benefit you!
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign has been on the market for almost 20 years, and due to that has built quite the reputation. The technology is based on a treatment process that relies on removable trays that provide alignment correction for teeth. Each tray is specially made to allow for incremental movements of your teeth, exactly as they are. And while the idea behind the incremental movements wasn’t solely discovered by Invisalign, they were the first company to harness its use and bring it to market.
How is it different than braces?
The braces that many of us remember from high schools relied on a system of brackets and wires that were tightened or manipulated by an orthodontist. While braces have become more streamlined through the years, they’re still bulky and result in limitations with what you can and can’t eat. The Invisalign retainer is made from clear, flexible plastic that fits snuggly over your teeth. This product is FDA-approved and is made from a patented thermoplastic. Unlike metal braces, you can remove the trays to eat. No more worries about food stuck in the wires or having to avoid favorites like popcorn!
What’s the timeline?
After an initial consult with an Invisalign provider to ensure you’re a candidate, your dentist will create a customized treatment plan. First, 3-D images of your teeth will be taken to help map out the movement that will occur over the course of Invisalign’s use. These images will then be used to make aligners that mold perfectly to your mouth. The duration of time you could be expected to wear the Invisalign retainers is similar to what you would experience with normal braces. Most patients can expect for treatment plans to last anywhere from six months to two years. The severity of the corrections to be made in addition to how diligent you are about the retainers’ use will factor in when determining your treatment duration.
Does it hurt?
Anytime you realign teeth, it’s expected to be less-than-comfortable at times. However, most patients would describe the feeling of Invisalign retainers as pressure instead of pain. If you are experiencing pain, it’s important to contact your dentist.
What is day–to–day life like?
Unlike traditional braces that easily collect food, you can take your Invisalign trays out when you eat! This means you don’t have to give up favorites that have been known to break brackets. To ensure your aligners stay fresh, brush them every morning and night. Many wearers forget they have them on during the day because they’re so discreet. In fact, many professionals wear them to meetings and presentations without anyone knowing.
What do I do when I finish?
After finishing your treatment course, your orthodontist may recommend retainers. This is important so your teeth don’t shift back to their original position. Unlike the retainers of yesteryear that are bulky and give you a speech impediment, there are new retainers made from the same technology as the Invisalign aligners. Low-profile retainers ensure you finish your treatment plan entirely and have a straight smile that lasts forever!
If you are looking for straighter teeth, but are concerned about the look of traditional braces, then Invisalign may be the best treatment option for you. Take the first step today by giving us a call!
Also published on Medium.