Gone are the days when people need to put up with uncomfortable and painful metal-wire braces just to achieve a beautiful smile. With the advent of Invisalign, repairing crooked or spaced teeth has become easier and more convenient.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an advanced system for closing gaps between and straightening crooked teeth. It is offered as an alternative to traditional metal braces that have long been used in conventional orthodontic practice. Invisalign uses the latest computerized technology and 3-D modelling to produce a series of clear plastic aligners. These aligners are virtually unnoticeable. Hence, many patients refer to them as invisible braces. They are customarily fabricated to exactly fit a patient’s teeth.
First introduced in 1999 by Align Technologies, the Invisalign system is perhaps the most widely known alternative to traditional braces, primarily because the clear aligners are made to be more esthetically pleasing than the metal wires and brackets of dental braces.
How Does Invisalign Work?
As compared to its predecessors, the Invisalign system is simpler, requiring only a single set of photographs and impressions of the teeth taken during the initial consultation.
These impressions are sent to the Invisalign factory where the clear orthodontic appliance is fabricated. To ensure that the series of customized aligners fit perfectly, a three-dimensional computer projection of how the teeth will be moved is developed based on the impressions. Once the treatment plan is approved, a plastic resin aligner is created for each simulation.
The orthodontist will then dispense the aligners in groups of one or two during regular check-up appointments to make sure that each phase of the treatment is properly monitored and managed. For about two weeks, these clear aligners must be worn in specific order as it is during this time that the appliances move the teeth incrementally for about .25 to .33 millimeters into place. Although they can be removed when you are drinking certain beverages, eating, brushing and flossing, orthodontists recommend that these appliances must be worn for no less than 20 hours a day. This ensures the success of the repositioning of the teeth.
In a typical treatment plan, a patient will require 20 to 30 clear orthodontic aligners for both their upper and lower teeth to achieve the results that they desire. While most adult patients complete the treatment in about a year, Invisalign treatment time would still vary and would depend on the extent of the alignment problem.
What Does Invisalign Treat?
Invisalign are for teenagers and adults who have a completely erupted set of permanent teeth and can follow treatment recommendations faithfully. If the prescribed plan and recommendations are not met, the treatment’s success may be compromised. However, if done as directed, Invisalign can correct dental issues, including:
Spaced Teeth – Too much gaps between teeth is often caused by the abnormal growth of the jaw. Also, if there is extra space in the jaw because of missing teeth, the rest of the teeth may tend to shift, creating gaps between them. This dental problem can further lead to more severe problems such as periodontal pockets, and other gum problems.
Crowded Teeth – While spaced teeth occurs when there is more than enough room in the jaw for the teeth, crowded teeth happens when there is inadequate space in the jaw for all your teeth to fit normally. If this problem is neglected, it can get worse and may even lead to decayed teeth, plaque buildup, and gum disease.
Cross bite – This mild problem is a result of misaligned upper and lower jaws. When your jaws are misaligned, it causes the front, sides, or both those parts of the upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth. Untreated cross bite can lead to periodontal problems like bone loss and gum disease, as well as abnormal tooth chipping and wearing.
Overbite – This occurs when the upper teeth bite over the lower ones. Commonly, overbite is caused by poor oral habits, overdevelopment of the jaw bone, or genetics. If left untreated, overbite can further lead to fractured or chipped teeth, as well as gum disease.
Under bite – Because of lower jaw overgrowth, or upper jaw undergrowth, the lower teeth extend past the front upper teeth, resulting to an under bite. This particular dental problem can cause sore jaw and joints.
There are certain cases where Invisalign may not be the ideal dental solution. In cases like complex malocclusions, traditional braces may be your next bet. Consult your dentist to determine which option is right for you.
Sorting Through Dental Options: Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign has revolutionized the world of orthodontics. Today, patients have an alternate option to straightening their teeth apart from unpleasant metal braces. Individuals who would have never considered metal braces in the past are now giving Invisalign a try. With the entire rave about Invisalign, you may find yourself wondering, “Does Invisalign work?”
Correcting Straightening Issues
By fabricating the orthodontic appliance to exactly fit the teeth with the help of computer-based technology, as well as three dimensional modelling, Invisalign is able to incrementally move the teeth into proper position and give you a more appealing smile.
In more complex cases, however, Invisalign may not be the right choice. Hence, it is important that you visit an orthodontist to find out how well the Invisalign treatment fits your dental needs. You and your orthodontist may discuss the available options and determine which dental treatment is the best choice for your individual case.
If Invisalign is an appropriate option for your situation, the orthodontist will first take an impression of your teeth. Photographs of the teeth from different angles will also be taken during the initial consultation. The results will then be sent to the Invisalign laboratory, where a 3D digital model of your teeth is created to simulate how they will be moved to their position. This ensures you that the aligners will fit your teeth perfectly, so you can achieve the result you are happy with.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
The treatment time of Invisalign generally depends on the severity of your condition. Though it is only your dentist who can determine how long the Invisalign treatment is going to take for your case, most treatments for adults last for about 12 months.
Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign helps with a number of teeth straightening issues. However, without good oral care, and proper guidance from an experienced orthodontist, the treatment may be set to fail.
In order for Invisalign results to show, you have to be wise in choosing the orthodontist that you will be working with. What experienced dental providers can do with the Invisalign system is far greater than that of those dentists who are less experienced.
Besides the dentist aspect, the treatment requires a patient who faithfully follows the prescriptions and recommendations. It requires someone who will wear the aligners as instructed. If you feel that your lifestyle won’t allow you to comply with the treatment, then do not opt for a removable straightening option.
Keep in mind that Invisalign is not a product. Rather, it is a technique. Invisalign “fails” because of poor planning from the dentist’s part, and poor compliance from the patient’s part. If you want to see positive Invisalign results, consider the dentist’s experience, as well as your faithful compliance, and you shall have favorable results.
Oral Hygiene Tips: How to Clean Invisalign Aligners
Oral hygiene is such an important part of keeping infections and bacteria at bay. It is especially vital if you are wearing a corrective device. Dental appliances such as Invisalign aligners are known to collect and trap food particles. Hence, just like your teeth, Invisalign aligners require cleaning, too.
Since you regularly wear the aligners, you probably notice that plaque, tartar and other debris that accumulate on the teeth also build up on your aligners. When these start to show, they will make your Invisalign less clear and more obvious, and can cause bad breath over time. There are a number of ways on how to clean Invisalign aligners successfully. With a bit of effort and knowledge, Invisalign cleaning should be simple enough for you to maintain them fresh and clean.
The Invisalign Cleaning System
Align Technology, the manufacturer of Invisalign, offers a professional cleaning system that contains a set of “magic crystals.” When combined with water, these crystals turn into an effective Invisalign cleaning agent, removing dental plaque from the aligner.
The cleaning system can be a bit expensive, though. That’s why many people try other cleaning methods. Although the use of other cleaners can potentially damage the surface of the Invisalign aligner, making it cloudy and dull, these alternative cleaning methods do not, in any way, affect or interfere with the aligner’s function.
Toothbrushes for Invisalign Aligners
Extra soft-bristled toothbrushes may work for aligners. But stay away from toothpaste. Most of them contain abrasives that can scratch the esthetics of and cause irregularities to your aligners.
Soaking solutions for retainers and aligners are available at most pharmacies. However, prior to using any type of solution, make certain to read and follow its directions stringently. Also, keep in mind that soaking solutions are intended for that particular purpose only—soaking. Hence, it is not safe for your teeth to get in contact with it. So be sure to rinse away any residual solution before placing them back into your mouth.
There are many types of cleaning products that may be suitable for use with Invisalign aligners, including commercially prepared effervescent denture cleaning products such as tablets, powders, crystals, and foams. Homemade cleaning solutions such as diluted vinegar or diluted hydrogen peroxide can also be used for your aligners.
How to clean Invisalign aligners is a matter of frequency. In order to make sure bacteria and plaque do not build up, you should clean your Invisalign aligners every single day! It would also be wise to store them in a clean and dry case to prevent losing them. And lastly, by investing in an Invisalign Cleaning System, you can be sure to achieve the most effective result.
If you are not sure how to clean Invisalign braces, or uncertain which cleaning method will work best, you best option is to consult your orthodondist. If you have more questions about proper oral hygiene and how to clean Invisalign braces, contact Dental Studio 101. Our dental specialists will surely help you with whatever dental concerns you may have.
How to Manage Invisalign Pain
If you are considering getting Invisalign, you may wonder, does Invisalign hurt? Well, just like any other dental procedure, Invisalign is not without side effects. And one of its downside is discomfort or pain. However, you do not necessarily have to expect Invisalign pain throughout the treatment.
Is pain from Invisalign a common side effect?
As stated, a certain amount of pain is a common side effect of any type of orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign. Since orthodontic treatments involve the shifting and moving of the teeth into proper position, it naturally implies that patients who undergo this type of procedure may experience some amount of pain. But then again, not everyone who has Invisalign aligners should experience any significant discomfort in the course of the treatment. In fact, many patients only felt mild Invisalign pain during their treatment.
When is pain from Invisalign experienced most?
Invisalign pain is usually felt at the beginning of the process and during the first few days of wearing a new aligner. Patients mostly describe the pain as a sense of tenderness or pressure. If you do experience some discomfort, it may be related to the act of taking the aligners in and out of your mouth.
How severe can Invisalign pain get?
Fortunately, although some people find it difficult to eat certain foods or drink certain beverages given their tender teeth and gums, Invisalign pain is rather manageable.
What can I do to diminish the discomfort?
Does Invisalign hurt? Yes, it does. But just to a certain extent and it is totally normal. Whenever you feel any Invisalign pain, simply follow the mentioned tips, and you and your teeth will feel swell in no time.