In the not too distant past, the only real option for straightening your teeth was a set of bulky metal braces. While they were able to get the job done, they certainly didn’t offer patients much freedom or flexibility. Modern orthodontics, however, is a whole different ball game! Impressive advancements in both technology and technique has resulted in patients having more treatment options than ever before. One such option is the Invisalign clear aligner system, our most popular alternative to traditional braces.
Invisalign is an innovative way to get the same results as braces, but without using any brackets, wires, or bands. This makes it an excellent choice for patients who want are looking for a more subtle treatment option! If you’ve been considering treatment with Foothill Orthodontics, but aren’t sure about diving in with traditional braces, Invisalign could be just what you’re looking for. But what exactly is Invisalign? How does it work? Let’s take a closer look at the Invisalign system, and all the benefits that come with it.
What is Invisalign?
Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, meaning the brackets that are glued to the teeth and can only be removed by an orthodontist. In contrast, Invisalign uses a series of removable clear trays instead. The trays may have a deceptively simple design, but they’re actually made of a special thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to move the teeth into alignment over time. To achieve this, the custom-made aligners are switched out at predetermined intervals throughout the treatment process.
How does Invisalign work?
The first step in your orthodontic journey is an initial consultation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Chandler or Dr. Anderson. When you schedule a visit with our SLC practice, one of our doctors will thoroughly examine your mouth, discuss any orthodontic needs, and determine if your smile is a good fit for Invisalign.
If you decide to move forward with treatment, we’ll begin mapping out a precise treatment plan for you. We base this plan on a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums that will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make. It will also give us an indication of how long treatment is likely to take.
Once this personalized plan is in place, we’ll design your aligners using the 3D scan and Invisalign’s SmartTrack® material. This special material is durable, comfortable, and virtually invisible! Every case is unique, so the total number of aligners required will vary by patient. However, the average tends to be somewhere between 10 and 48. Total treatment times will also vary, but are generally about 6-18 months for most patients.
Because Invisalign aligners are removable instead of fixed, patient compliance is essential to the treatment process. For them to work properly, aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours every day until treatment is complete. Depending on your specific treatment plan, you’ll need to switch to the next aligner in the series every 1-2 weeks. You can also expect follow-up visits every 6-8 weeks or so. During these appointments, one of our doctors will check the movement of your teeth and ensure everything is proceeding as it should.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Besides comfort and invisibility, Invisalign has a number of other benefits. For example, the food restrictions that come with braces can be a big learning curve. Patients need to avoid anything too chewy or crunchy until treatment is complete, like chips, popcorn, nuts, some raw fruits and veggies, and many different kinds of candy, too. While all that effort is definitely worth it in the end, it can still be a bit frustrating sometimes. There are no food restrictions with Invisalign aligners, since they’re designed to be removed when you eat or drink anything other than water. That means you can still indulge in all your favorite foods, even during the treatment process!
The removable aligners also make it easier to keep up a good dental hygiene routine. Caring for your teeth and gums is important for everyone, but even more so if you’re an orthodontic patient. However, braces can make brushing and flossing difficult and time-consuming. With Invisalign, aligners are simply taken out before brushing and flossing! Cleaning them is a cinch, too. There are special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them yourself using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.
Invisalign aligners are also useful for those who are involved in contact sports, play music, or for those special occasions when you just want your natural smile to shine through, such as weddings, prom, senior pictures, and homecoming dances. You can take them out and replace them as soon as you’re ready, as long as you stick to wearing them the recommended amount of time!
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign tends to work best for teen and adult patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. For cases that are complex or severe, more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve may be required. When you have your initial consultation with us, Dr. Chandler or Dr. Anderson will let you know if Invisalign is a good fit for you. If a more traditional treatment method would be better, they’ll recommend that to you instead.
What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?
Whether you straighten them with braces or Invisalign, your teeth will still retain memories of their previous place in the mouth. There’s a natural tendency for them to drift back to those original positions over time, and this is exactly why it’s so important to wear a retainer regularly! Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, we’ll provide you with a retainer to help prevent any drifting and keep your newly straightened smile in place. For the best results, you should always wear it exactly as directed by our doctors.
Get the smile you’ve been looking for with Foothill Orthodontics
Invisalign continues to gain popularity and change the way people view orthodontic treatment daily. If you’d like to learn more about how this innovative clear aligner system could improve your smile, get in touch today to schedule a complimentary consultation. The expert team here at Foothill Orthodontics is ready to help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of!