Like many things, technological advances in the last several years have had a huge affect on orthodontics. Improving oral health and straightening smiles is easier than ever thanks to a wide variety of innovative treatment options! One such option is Invisalign clear aligner therapy. This popular alternative to traditional braces offers patients the same results without using any brackets, wires, or bands.
Have you been thinking about treatment with Champlain Orthodontics, but want to avoid the appearance of braces? If you’re looking for a more subtle option that will allow you to keep your normal routine intact throughout the process, Invisalign could be a great choice! But what exactly is Invisalign? And how does it work? To learn more about this exciting clear aligner system, keep reading below!
What is Invisalign?
While braces are what we refer to as a fixed orthodontic appliance, Invisalign uses a series of clear removable plastic trays to move the teeth into optimal positions over time. The design itself can be deceptively simple, but the trays are actually made of a special thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to correct a variety of orthodontic issues. In order to achieve this, the custom-made aligners need to be switched out at regular intervals throughout the treatment process.
How does Invisalign work?
During your first visit with our practice, Dr. Ryan or Dr. Eaton will thoroughly examine your mouth, discuss any orthodontic needs observed, and let you know if your smile is a good fit for the Invisalign system. If you decide to move forward with Invisalign, we’ll begin by mapping out a precise treatment plan for you based on 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 treatment is likely to take.
Following this, we’ll begin the process of custom designing your aligners using Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material, which is durable, comfortable, and virtually invisible. While the total number of aligners needed for each patient will vary based on their unique case, the average tends to be somewhere between 10 and 48. The total treatment also varies, with the average being around 6-18 months.
Instead of being attached directly to your teeth like braces, Invisalign aligners are removable. This means patient compliance is essential! For the treatment to work properly, you’ll need to wear your aligners 20-22 hours every day, throughout the orthodontic journey. To keep up with the movement of your teeth, you’ll switch to the next aligner in the series every 1-2 weeks or so. This will depend on your individual treatment plan. You’ll also be scheduled for regular check-ups with our doctors every 6-8 weeks, so they can check your progress and ensure that everything is proceeding according to plan.
What are the benefits of Invisalign treatment?
Invisalign offers patients a freedom and flexibility that braces just can’t match. Take food restrictions, which can be one of the biggest learning curves for braces patients. To protect the wires and brackets during treatment, they must avoid anything too chewy or crunchy, like whole apples and carrots, popcorn, chips, and several kinds of candy. Even though it’s definitely worth all the effort once the braces come off, it can be a frustrating part of the process. In contrast, Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed when you eat or drink anything other than water. That means all your favorite foods can stay on the table!
Removable aligners can also make it easier to care for your teeth and gums while you’re straightening your smile. Oral hygiene is especially important for orthodontic patients, but the wires, brackets, and bands that come with traditional braces can make proper brushing and flossing difficult, not to mention time-consuming! With Invisalign, aligners are simply taken out before brushing and flossing. There are also special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or they can be gently cleaned using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.
Because Invisalign aligners can be removed and replaced with a regular or orthodontic mouthguard, they’re perfect for those who play sports, and great for musicians, too, since there are no wires or brackets to get in the way. They’re also especially useful on special occasions where you want your natural smile to shine through, such as weddings, prom, and senior pictures.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign is generally recommended for teen and adult patients with 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 free consultation with us, Dr. Ryan or Dr. Eaton will be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you or your child. If our doctors feel that a more traditional treatment method would be more suitable for you, that will be recommended instead. We will only suggest the treatment we feel will give you the best results based on your specific needs!
What happens after Invisalign treatment is complete?
After orthodontic treatment of any kind, the teeth will still retain memories of their previous place in the mouth. Over time, they also have a natural tendency to drift back to those original positions. Wearing a retainer regularly will prevent this drifting and help maintain your newly straightened smile! Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer, which you should always wear as directed by our doctors.
Your best smile is waiting for you at Champlain Orthodontics
As our most popular alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign continues to change the way people think about orthodontic treatment every day! If you’d like to learn more about how the Invisalign clear aligner system can help you find your very best smile, give us a call today to schedule a complimentary consultation with our expert team!