What You Need to Know When Considering these Clear Aligners
One of the biggest breakthroughs in orthodontics over the last 20 years has been Invisalign clear aligners. They are custom-made tray-sets that gradually move teeth to straighten them into a beautiful smile.
The aligners are virtually invisible and fit snugly over your teeth. Each aligner shifts your teeth slightly, moving them horizontally and vertically and even rotating them when needed. Aligners are engineered to use the right amount of force in the right place at the right time.
When you change to the next set of aligners (typically every week) your teeth gradually move into position, following a custom treatment plan mapped out by your doctor. See below for some answers about the Invisalign experience.
What attracts many people to an Invisalign option is the attractiveness of the device itself. Dubbed invisible braces, clear aligners (also called clear braces) are computer-manufactured plastic appliances that straighten the teeth without compromising smile aesthetics. Invisalign is removable (though your dentist will suggest you minimize removal for optimal treatment performance) and custom-fit to your teeth, meaning it slides comfortably over the surfaces of your teeth. The aligners must be removed in-order to eat, drink, brush and floss.
Benefits Over Wire Braces
Along with fewer visits, no repairs and an easier cleaning method, Invisalign also:
Allows you to remove the aligner at any time.
Makes it easier to eat the foods you love.
Uses materials that are practically invisible, which can help wearers feel more confident.
Offers a more comfortable experience without the need for regular wire tightening.
Doesn’t affect the teeth or cheeks like traditional braces
Invisalign is a Commitment
Invisalign, as with braces of any kind, is a big commitment. Ideally, you should wear it 22 hours a day, every day. That gives you two hours a day to remove them for eating, drinking and cleaning (unlike wire braces which are permanent).
Brushing and Flossing are a Key Part of Treatment
It’s very important to brush and floss after each time you eat and before you reinsert your aligners. It’s tempting to skip a step, but with Invisalign on, your teeth are soaking in whatever is on them.
Impact on Social Situations
- Lisping: Invisalign can also affect your speech, causing a slight lisp. Some people find it very noticeable and for others, it’s barely there. Whether it takes a day or a few weeks, the lisp should go away. If it doesn’t, let your dentist know because that may indicate that your aligners aren’t fitting quite right.
- You can still kiss: A big concern for many is how Invisalign may affect romance. Answers vary. Some say you can kiss your love life goodbye, others say it doesn’t change anything. Sometimes it’s a bigger deal to the person wearing Invisalign than it is to the significant other.
- What you’re going to miss and the â€˜Invisalign diet.’: Invisalign has an immediate effect on your diet. Your dentist will likely warn you to only drink water when your aligners are in. And it’s a good idea to drink a lot of it, since having the aligners in your mouth can make your mouth dry and irritated. Clients report that they miss drinking coffee or beer slowly. Now they have to remove their aligners, eat or drink quickly, then brush their teeth before putting them back in.
Discomfort or Pain – Here’s What to do About It
Some people report pain with Invisalign, but there are several things you can do about it. Using wax helps to cover sharp or rough edges on their aligners. Others have their dentists file down sharp edges.
If you get the wax on the problem area as soon as possible, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain. It’s recommended putting a bead of wax on your tray on the spot where it hurts BEFORE you put the tray into your mouth.
Total Treatment Duration and How Long Before Seeing Results?
The duration of treatment varies, though typically 20 or 30 aligner variations are needed to accommodate most cases. The average Invisalign course for adults is about a year, but how long does it take before you start seeing results? For most people, not long – it usually takes two to three months for most patients to notice results from clear aligners.
Some people who get Invisalign have attachments temporarily bonded to their teeth as part of the treatment. Your dentist or orthodontist will determine if you need them. Made of tooth-colored filling material, attachments help the aligner trays grip individual teeth, which helps move them to their correct position. They are removed when your Invisalign treatment is completed.
A Tip for Removing Your Aligners
Your aligner trays will need to stay in most of the day, but they do need to come out at times. Usually, this isn’t too difficult. But if you have attachments to help the aligners grip your teeth, it might take something extra to remove the trays.
To help with this, there is an aligner remover tool on the market called Outie (sold on Amazon in a set of three).
It’s Easy to Care for Aligners
Dentists recommend brushing your aligners with toothpaste or sometimes just water. Invisalign sells cleaning tablets, but dentists also recommend a mild denture cleaner, a diluted bleach rinse, or retainer-cleaning tablets. Keeping your teeth clean while wearing traditional metal braces is difficult.
You Can Whiten Your Teeth While Using Invisalign
People are often interested in whitening and straightening. Should you wait until after Invisalign treatment is completed, or can you do both? Yes, you can whiten during Invisalign treatment. You’ve already got the trays in all day, so use that time to get the color right while you’re at it.
You’re Not Done After Invisalign.
After you complete your Invisalign treatment, you need to wear a retainer every night to keep your teeth in place.
Invisalign Isn’t Right for Everyone.
Invisalign can’t fix every problem. Discuss with your dentist or orthodontist what Invisalign can and cannot do for you, and consult more than one expert.
Sources: Colgate.com, WebMD, YourDentistryGuide.com, RealSelf.com