Invisalign 101: Straighten Your Teeth Without Braces
Want to straighten your teeth minus the brackets and wires? Invisalign could be your best option! Here’s everything you need to know about Invisalign clear aligners.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option for aligning your teeth and fixing your bite. It consists of a transparent material that covers all your teeth, called aligners. Your treatment is digitally planned by the orthodontist and the aligners are then 3D printed according to the plan.
How does Invisalign work?
Each patient is provided a unique set of aligners that is custom made for their teeth and planned by the orthodontist. Each aligner is worn 1-2 weeks for 22 hours/day, moving the teeth closer to the final result. The aligner wraps around the teeth and with the help of tooth colored bumps glued to the teeth (called attachments), the teeth move more efficiently towards the planned result.
What is the process of getting Invisalign aligners?
- Like every orthodontic treatment your photos and radiographs are taken. A 3D scan of your teeth is sent to Invisalign, so it can be uploaded on the software.
- Then the treatment is carefully planned and controlled by the orthodontist. Once the planning is finalized, Invisalign manufactures a number of aligners according to the orthodontist’s plan.
- The patient wears the aligners and the orthodontist will monitor the treatment throughout the set of aligners.
- At the end, the results are evaluated by the orthodontist. If minor adjustments are needed, the teeth are rescanned and fewer aligners are provided to achieve a good, esthetic and customized result.
Invisalign vs. Braces: What’s the difference between the treatments?
Braces are bonded to the teeth and stay on them till the end of treatment. On the other hand, Invisalign is removable and you need to wear them 22 hours/day.
Depending on each case, the treatment length may differ between having braces or Invisalign. So it’s important to discuss this during the orthodontic consultation.
What are advantages of Invisalign?
- There are no food restrictions. Just remove the aligners and you can enjoy any kind of food.
- It’s transparent, so it is less visible than other orthodontic options.
- It’s comfortable and causes less irritation to your lips and cheeks compared to braces.
- Because aligners are changed every week, the forces applied on your teeth are distributed more evenly over the weeks, causing less tenderness.
- Having removable aligners allows for easier brushing and flossing.
What are the limitations of Invisalign?
Compliance is key. You need to wear the aligners 22 hours day, so treatment results can be achieved in a timely manner. In specific cases, tooth movement efficiency might not be ideal and orthodontic treatment might take longer.
In some cases, other orthodontic appliances can be used along with Invisalign to allow for more efficient tooth movement and shorter treatment time.So you should consult your orthodontist to see if Invisalign is the best option for you.
How should you take care of Invisalign aligners?
- Don’t eat or drink hot liquids with your aligners as this will distort them.
- Remember to brush and floss after eating.
- After removing the aligners, you should rinse them with water to wash off any plaque or saliva, so less deposits are formed.
- When you are not wearing the aligners, you should put them in their case and never wrap them in a napkin, as they can be thrown away.
- Keep the aligner out of the reach of pets, especially dogs they love to use them as chew toys.
- Brush the aligners gently with a toothbrush every morning and evening. Don’t use toothpaste as they contain abrasives. You can also use denture cleaners to clean them more thoroughly and prevent bad smells.