In the last couple of decades, technological advances have come along in leaps and bounds. These have had a huge effect on our lives in a number of ways, with everything from smartphones to medical procedures changing our idea of what comfort and convenience can be. These innovations have had a major impact on orthodontics, too! These days, it’s easier than ever to improve your oral health thanks to a wide variety of treatment options available, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy.
As a popular alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign offers patients the same beautiful results without any brackets, wires, or bands. If you’ve been considering orthodontic treatment with Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics, you may be wondering if you’ll be able to straighten your smile without braces, or looking for a discreet option that will allow you to keep your normal routine intact throughout treatment. If this sounds like you, Invisalign could be a great choice for giving you the smile you’ve always wanted.
But what exactly is Invisalign? How does it actually work to straighten your teeth? Let’s take a closer look at this exciting clear aligner system, and how it can give you a healthier smile.
What is Invisalign?
Braces are a fixed orthodontic appliance. That means an orthodontist attaches them directly to the teeth, and they can only be removed by a trained orthodontic provider. In contrast, Invisalign uses a series of removable plastic trays to shift the teeth into the desired positions. While the design may seem simple, the clear trays are actually made of a special thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to correct a variety of orthodontic issues. This is achieved by wearing the custom-made aligners a certain number of hours each day, as well as switching them out at regular intervals throughout the treatment process.
How does the Invisalign system work?
When you visit our office for the first time, Dr. Chiang will perform a thorough examination of your mouth. Following this, he will inform you of any orthodontic needs found, and recommend treatment. If your smile is a good fit for the Invisalign system, we can begin mapping out a precise treatment plan for you based on a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and will also give us an indication of how long we expect treatment to take.
The next step is custom designing aligners using Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material. SmartTrack® is durable, comfortable, and virtually invisible, something our patients love! The total number of aligners needed will vary from patient to patient, but in general, most patients need anywhere from 10 to 48 aligners and will wear them for 6-18 months on average.
Since the Invisalign aligners are removable, the system relies on patient compliance to work. As an Invisalign patient, you’ll need to keep your aligners in for 20-22 hours every day. You’ll also need to switch to the next aligner in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movement of your teeth. This may vary slightly, depending on the customized treatment plan Dr. Chiang creates for you.
As you would with braces, you’ll need to visit our office for regular check-ups every 6-8 weeks or so. During these appointments, Dr. Chiang will check your progress and ensure that everything is proceeding the way it should be.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Invisalign patients have a bit more freedom and flexibility than patients in traditional braces. Food restrictions are a good example of this. These tend to be one of the biggest learning curves for braces patients, since they can’t eat anything too chewy or crunchy during treatment in order to protect their appliance. While all that effort pays off once the braces are removed, it can be a frustrating part of the process. But Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed whenever you eat or drink anything other than water, so you can keep all your favorite foods on the table!
Removable aligners also make it easier to care for your teeth and gums while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Oral hygiene is especially important for orthodontic patients, but wires, brackets, and bands can make proper brushing and flossing difficult and time-consuming for those in braces. With Invisalign, aligners are simply taken out before brushing and flossing as normal. Keeping the aligners themselves clean is a cinch, too.There are also special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.
Removable aligners are perfect for patients who play sports, since they can be replaced with a regular or orthodontic mouthguard. They’re also great for musicians who play woodwind or brass instruments, since there are no wires or brackets to work around in the mouth. Last but not least, Invisalign aligners can be removed for a short time to allow your natural smile to shine through during important meetings, weddings, prom, or senior pictures.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign is generally recommended for teen and adult patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are particularly complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. During your free consultation with us, Dr. Chiang will be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for your smile. If a more traditional treatment method would be more suitable, that will be recommended instead. We will only suggest treatment options we feel will give you the best results.
What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?
Whether you have braces or clear aligners, the teeth will still retain memories of their previous place in the mouth even after treatment. Over time, they’ll also have a natural tendency to drift back to those original positions. Wearing a retainer regularly is the best way to prevent this kind of drifting. Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. You should always wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Chiang in order to keep your newly straightened smile in place!
The choice is clear at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics
Invisalign clear aligner therapy continues to change the way people think about orthodontic treatment every day! If you’d like to learn more about how this innovative treatment option can help you find your best smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with our expert team.