The Invisalign® system uses virtually invisible aligners, rather than metal bands, brackets or wires, to straighten teeth comfortably. The aligners are custom-made to fit the teeth, and are easily removable so patients can eat, drink, brush and floss. The advantage that Invisalign teeth aligners have over regular braces is that they are virtually undetectable.
How does the Invisalign system work?
The Invisalign system uses advanced 3-D computer-imaging technology to project tooth movement in a patient’s mouth. This allows the dentist to create a series of clear, custom-made aligners, also called repositioners, that gradually move the teeth in line with one another. A patient wears each aligner for about two weeks, then moves on to the next set, and then the next, until the teeth-positioning goal has been met.
What does the Invisalign system treat?
In addition to straightening crooked or misaligned teeth, Invisalign aligners can eliminate crowding and large spaces between teeth. More complex conditions, such as overbites, underbites and crossbites, can also be treated.
What are some of the benefits of Invisalign aligners over regular braces?
Invisalign aligners offer many benefits over traditional metal braces. They may include:
- Cosmetic appeal
- Lower cost
- Flexible-payment options
- Little to no impact on daily life
- Less pain
- Greater flexibility because aligners can be removed at any time
- Easier to keep teeth clean and healthy
- No dietary restrictions
- No “tightening” required
Who are good candidates for Invisalign treatment?
The Invisalign system is an effective tool for straightening teeth, and is suitable for patients who are fourteen years of age and older, and who want to:
- Straighten crooked or misaligned teeth
- Eliminate teeth crowding
- Close up large spaces between the teeth.
- Correct overbites, underbites and crossbites
- A person interested in Invisalign aligners should contact a dentist or orthodontist.
How does Invisalign treatment start?
The first step is for a person to make an appointment with a dentist or orthodontist, who will decide whether the Invisalign system is appropriate. If so, a course of treatment is mapped out. Steps in the treatment process include:
Bite impressions are made and sent out for processing
Aligners are created using advanced 3-D computer imaging based on the bite impressions
The patient receives the custom-made aligners
The patient wears the clear and removable aligners day and night
Aligners should be removed only when the patient is eating, drinking, brushing and flossing; the more they are taken out, the longer it will take to achieve the desired goal.
How long does Invisalign treatment take?
Typically, Invisalign treatment takes about a year from start to finish. The patient sees the dentist or orthodontist for a brief appointment every 6 to 8 weeks to review progress. The next set of aligners is given to the patient at each visit.
Does the Invisalign system work?
Yes; Invisalign aligners have been shown to be highly effective at straightening teeth.
Are there any risks involved with Invisalign?
These orthodontic treatments utilizing Invisalign’s clear aligner trays are generally very safe and are designed to move your teeth in small increments to improve bite function and/or esthetic appearance.
What should I avoid when wearing my Invisalign trays?
It is not recommended to chew with your aligner trays on. Chewing will damage the trays, plus food particles would get in the trays and make it very hard to clean. The only thing you can do with aligner trays on your teeth is to drink clear water.
If you play a musical instrument such as a trumpet, flute, or clarinet, the force of pushing on your front teeth or biting on the reed can damage your aligner trays. You need to remove your trays for music practice.
Also, if you need to wear a mouthguard to play sports, you cannot wear the mouthguard over the top of your aligner trays. You will need to remove your trays during practice and games.
Don’t bite your fingernails or chew on pens or any other objects when wearing your Invisalign trays.
Will Invisalign affect my speech?
You may have heard something like an “Invisalign lisp.” It is true that some patients develop a temporary lisp when wearing their aligner trays. A lisp is a speech defect that causes “s” and “z” sounds to be pronounced as “th.” Lisps are caused by improper tongue placement inside the mouth during speech. This affects airflow and pronunciation.
Some patients with Invisalign (and with traditional braces, by the way) develop lisps because the aligner trays alter the space within their mouth, causing the tongue to move a little differently, and altering some pronunciation. Most patients simply adjust to the thin plastic trays and the temporary lisp is quickly gone.
How do I clean my aligner trays?
We’ll explain how to keep your trays clean. You have options. Because you can simply take out your aligners and brush them with your toothbrush, keeping both your teeth and your aligners clean is much easier than with traditional braces. You remove them and gently brush them every night with a toothbrush. You can also soak your aligners in denture cleaner, Retainer Brite®, or the official Invisalign crystals to keep them clean and sanitized. Another option is to use clear anti-bacterial soft hand soap to clean your aligners. You put some soap in the aligner and use your fingers to rub it throughout the tray.
What happens if I forget to wear my Invisalign aligners for over a day?
Invisalign aligners must be worn at least 22 hours a day, every day, for the duration of treatment. Failing to wear the aligners means that the treatment will not be on track. Your teeth won’t move as planned, and therefore the desired results will not be achieved if this happens too often.
We understand that life happens. If you have forgotten to insert your aligners, place them back on your teeth as soon as you remember. Let us know about it at your next appointment. Most likely, we can keep your treatment plan on track even if you missed a day, but you mustn’t make a habit of forgetting because the treatment won’t be effective. We can discuss tactics for remembering to wear your aligners, such as setting reminders or alarms on your phone, or using a brightly colored carrying case that will be hard to miss after you finish a meal or brush your teeth.
Is Invisalign treatment covered by insurance?
If a person has dental insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, Invisalign treatment may also be covered.
How often will I need to come to Taylor Street Dental during my Invisalign treatment?
We see our Invisalign patients every six to eight weeks during their treatment. This allows us to monitor your progress, and we provide the next sets of aligner trays during these appointments.
What happens if I lose one of my aligner trays?
This is not uncommon, but, of course, the best advice is to be careful with your trays. This isn’t the end of the world. You need to get in touch with us at Taylor Street Dental and tell us you lost a tray.
Don’t automatically advance to the next set of trays and keep the loss a secret. Unless you are very close to the end of the cycle of the tray you lost, this can alter treatment. If you’re near the time to change out your trays, we may ask you to try the next set and see if they fit. But you can’t force this.
Your Invisalign treatment includes the potential cost of replacing two trays. We can simply order a replacement of the tray in question from Invisalign. This will take a couple weeks, Meanwhile we will ask you to go back to wearing your previous tray. Your treatment will be delayed due to the loss of the tray.
Schedule an Invisalign Visit