Here at Glass Orthodontics, we truly value the trust that patients like you have placed in our talented team. It’s important to us that each and every person we treat feels heard, understood, and respected. We want you to feel confident in every aspect of the treatment process! If you’ve recently decided to explore Invisalign clear aligner therapy for yourself or your child, it’s important to be fully prepared. Let’s take a closer look at what the Invisalign system is, how it works to straighten smiles, and how you can get the most out of your clear aligners with our Invisalign survival guide!
(Are you interested in Invisalign? Click here to find out if you’re a good candidate!)
What is the Invisalign clear aligner system?
To better understand what Invisalign is and how it works, it helps to know more about the differences between fixed and removable orthodontic appliances. Traditional braces, for example, are a fixed appliance. That means the brackets are attached directly to the teeth, and they can only be removed by a trained orthodontic professional. While the underlying function is the same, Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth over time.
When you look at the aligners, you may be surprised by how simple they look! However, they are made of a special thermoplastic resin that is molded to fit snugly and comfortably over your teeth. Because they’re removable and nearly invisible, Invisalign aligners often patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than traditional braces allow. This makes them an excellent alternative for patients who want a more discreet treatment option that won’t interfere with their day-to-day life.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
In general, Invisalign works best for teens and adults who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. During your first visit with our practice, Dr. Glass will examine your mouth and determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you, or if you’d be better suited for a more traditional orthodontic treatment.
How do Invisalign aligners work?
Once we determine that Invisalign is a good fit for you, we can begin the process of custom designing your aligners using a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums to map out a precise treatment plan. The plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and is what we use to create your custom aligners.
The total number of aligners worn throughout treatment will vary from patient to patient, depending on each individual case. While some patients may need as few as 12, while others might need up to 48 (or more.) Treatment times will also vary, although the average tends to be somewhere between 5 and 15 months. Your 3D scan will give us an indication of how long treatment is likely to take in your specific case.
Invisalign treatment works on the same principle as braces, but there is one significant difference. Since the aligners are removable and not fixed, the overall success of them will depend greatly on your compliance. Once you receive your first set of aligners, you’ll need to wear them for 20-22 hours every day. You’ll also need to switch them out at predetermined intervals in order to keep up with the movement of your teeth. This will usually be every 1-2 weeks.
Although you won’t need to be seen as often as a braces patient, regular check-ups will still be an essential part of your treatment process. You can expect to see us for follow-up appointments every 4-8 weeks or so, during which Dr. Glass will check how your teeth are moving and ensure that everything as progressing as it should be.
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy with Invisalign
Invisalign’s removable aligners make it easy to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy while you’re straightening your smile! Simply remove your aligner, then brush and floss just like you normally would. It’s important to pay close attention to your oral health while you’re an orthodontic patient, so make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing every night before bed.
Cleaning your Invisalign aligners
There are several effective methods for cleaning your aligners, and some that definitely don’t work as well! To keep your trays in good shape, follow these DO’s and DON’Ts.
- Rinse your aligners when you remove them, since dry saliva and plaque can breed bacteria.
- Soak your aligners using denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep your trays clear and sanitized.
- Brush and floss your teeth before you put your aligner back in to keep harmful particles from getting trapped.
- Clean your aligners with a clear antibacterial soap to keep them fresh and free from bacteria.
- Brush your aligners gently and carefully. Brushing too hard can scratch your aligners and leave visible marks.
- Eat or drink anything but water while you’re wearing your aligners. Many foods and drinks can stain or discolor your aligners, and some may even cause odors.
- Use toothpaste to clean your aligners. The abrasive agents that can make your teeth sparkle will have the opposite effect on your aligner, and can also create small traps for bacteria.
- Leave your aligners unprotected when they’re not in your mouth, as this can expose them to harmful germs and bacteria. Rinse them, soak them, and then rinse them again before returning them to your mouth.
- Soak your aligners in any sort of mouthwash.
- Put them in heated liquid of any kind!
Once Invisalign treatment is complete
Whatever type of orthodontic treatment you have, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth, and begin drifting that way naturally over time. This is why we always talk 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’ll need to wear this retainer exactly as directed by Dr. Glass.
Enjoy freedom while you straighten your smile with Glass Orthodontics
Like any new experience, Invisalign aligners can take a little getting used to. However, they’ll be just one more part of your daily routine before you know it! If you have any questions about Invisalign or your treatment plan, our team is always here to help. We want your orthodontic experience to be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible!
If you’re in Daphne or the surrounding areas and want more information on how Invisalign can improve your smile, give us a call today and schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Glass. We’re excited to help you find your best smile!