The truth about Invisalign® clear aligners

Traditional braces have come a long way, baby! Despite all those improvements, however, many patients are still on the fence about them. Teens and adults in particular worry that braces may change their appearance too much or interfere with their daily lives. While today’s braces are more comfortable and efficient than ever before, we can understand these concerns. Fortunately, there’s another treatment option available for patients who want a subtle way to straighten their smile—Invisalign® clear aligners!

Invisalign is our most popular alternative to braces, offering patients the same beautiful results without the use of any brackets, wires, or brands. Although clear aligners have been widely used for over twenty years now, Invisalign is still considered a relatively new treatment, especially when compared to traditional braces. That means not everyone is aware of how the clear aligners work or what they’re capable of. Here at Oread Orthodontics, we believe that informed patients have the best orthodontic experience! With that in mind, let’s take a look at the truth about Invisalign.

What is Invisalign?

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, we use both fixed and removable appliances. Braces are a fixed appliance, which means the brackets are attached directly to the surface of the teeth and can only be removed by an experienced orthodontic professional. In contrast, Invisalign aligners are removable appliances. The aligners are custom-designed to fit your teeth snugly, but no part of them is attached to the teeth.

Invisalign uses a series of removable aligners to shift your teeth in much the same way brackets and wires do. The aligners are made of a special type of thermoplastic resin which allows them to fit firmly but comfortably over your teeth. Using gentle pressure, the aligners gradually straighten the teeth, eventually leaving behind nothing but a beautifully aligned smile. 

How does Invisalign work?

The first step in any orthodontic journey is a complimentary consultation. At Oread Orthodontics, this visit includes digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion with Dr. Wood about any areas of concern he sees. This visit will also determine if Invisalign would be a good fit for you and your smile! If you do decide to move ahead with clear aligners, we’ll begin by mapping out a precise treatment plan for you using a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan includes the exact movements we want your teeth to make and will also give us an indication of how long we expect treatment to take.

We’ll also use this scan to generate your custom aligners. Once they’re in your hands, it’s up to you to wear them as directed. Patient compliance is essential for Invisalign’s success! The aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day throughout the treatment process in order to produce the desired results. They also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements of the teeth. Regular check-ups will be scheduled for every 8-10 weeks or so, during which Dr. Wood will check that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan. 

Every smile is unique and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way, so there’s no uniform answer for how long treatment will take. In general, however, the average amount of time spent in aligners will be anywhere from 9-15 months. The good news? This is slightly less time than most patients spend in braces!

What advantages does Invisalign have over traditional braces?

Invisalign is more than an attractive alternative to traditional metal braces or clear braces. The removable aligners also allow extra flexibility that other methods can’t match! One example of this is food restrictions. Many people who have worn braces will tell you that having to forego some of their favorite foods was one of the hardest parts of treatment. To protect the wires and brackets, patients in braces must steer clear of anything crunchy or chewy. This is never an issue with Invisalign! You simply take them out any time you want to eat, then put them back in when you’re done. 

Removable aligners make it easier to maintain a good dental hygiene routine, too. The wires, brackets, and bands that accompany traditional braces can make cleaning the teeth a time-consuming task. With Invisalign, aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Cleaning the aligners themselves is a snap, too! There are special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.

Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?

When patients are fully compliant, Invisalign can work just as well as braces in treating many of the most common orthodontic issues. That said, cases that are especially complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. During your initial consultation, Dr. Wood will determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you. You can trust us to only recommend the treatment we believe is best for your individual smile.

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Whether you wear braces or aligners, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back toward those positions if there’s nothing to stop them. That’s why you’ll hear us talk so much about how important retainers are! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. To maintain your newly straightened smile, you should always wear it exactly as directed.

Trust your smile to the Invisalign experts at Oread Orthodontics

It’s easy to see why Invisalign continues to be our most popular alternative to braces! This exciting system is changing the way people view orthodontic treatment every day.  If you would like to learn more about how Invisalign can transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Wood. Your best smile is waiting for you!