What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® offers a revolutionary technique to straighten your teeth more comfortably and discreetly. The virtually invisible teeth aligners used for Invisalign® treatments are clear, removable, and unlike traditional metal braces in almost every way. Our Invisalign® dentist, Megan Dietz, DDS, and Dr. Cathy Santone offer these clear aligners as a way to improve the appearance of your teeth without the discomfort and self-consciousness associated with other orthodontic procedures.
- Invisalign® vs. Braces
- Invisalign® Candidates
- How Does Invisalign® Work?
- Invisalign® Teen
- Invisalign® Process
- Wearing Invisalign® Aligners
- Invisalign® Treatment Time
- Invisalign® Maintenance
- Invisalign® Cost
- Invisalign® Alternatives
Invisalign® vs. Braces
For patients who are looking to correct crooked or crowded teeth without the pain and aesthetic disadvantages of traditional metal braces, Invisalign® could be the perfect solution. Invisalign® consists of a series of clear aligners that are customized to fit your teeth. The aligners can be removed while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing. Invisalign® aligners are known to be much more comfortable than traditional braces. Plus, other orthodontic treatments may achieve optimal results, but typically require more trips to the dentist for maintenance and adjustments. With Invisalign®, you can achieve straighter teeth and a more beautiful smile without anyone knowing you are undergoing treatment.
Am I a Candidate for Invisalign®?
Invisalign® is a versatile system that can correct a number of orthodontic concerns and biting irregularities. The treatment has been clinically proven to successfully straighten teeth for many patients. If you wish to correct the positioning of your teeth with a less invasive and more discreet alternative to metal braces, Invisalign® may be able to help you. In general, the system can be utilized to address:
- Gapped teeth: spacing issues caused by abnormal growth of the jawbone, missing teeth, or teeth that have shifted.
- Crowded teeth: teeth that appear crooked or misaligned as a result of inadequate space in the jaw for all teeth to fit properly.
- Underbites: a condition in which your lower front teeth extend past your upper front teeth as a result of irregular growth in the upper or lower jaw.
- Overbites: a condition in which your upper teeth largely overlap your lower teeth, posing a risk of jaw pain, unnecessary tooth wear, gum problems, and other concerns.
- Open bite: when abnormal jaw growth renders some teeth incapable of making contact with their opposing teeth, potentially leading to biting and chewing problems.
- Crossbite: misalignment of the upper and lower jaws, resulting in your upper teeth biting on the inside of your lower teeth.
- Lack of space: inadequate room in the mouth for missing tooth replacements or other dental work, which Invisalign® can address by creating space for future cosmetic restorations or implants
How Does Invisalign® Straighten My Teeth?
Invisalign® works through a process of gradual and controlled force applied to your teeth in order to guide them into the desired positioning. The path of movement is planned out in advance by your cosmetic dentist based on your unique treatment plan, and each set of aligners provides slight movement at specific times for highly measured and gentle force application.
The Invisalign® system can offer many advantages for teenage patients who would like their orthodontic treatment to take place with more comfort, convenience, and discretion than traditional metal braces. Rather than obstructing their smile with wiring and brackets, these virtually invisible and removable aligners work to inconspicuously straighten teeth while incurring minimal intrusion into thier daily life. Invisalign® typically cancels many of the hassles of metal braces, such as gum irritation, a restricted diet, and cumbersome maintenance, allowing younger patients to straighten their teeth with ease and enjoy all of their favorite foods. Invisalign® Teen can address all of the occlusion and misalignment issues that adult Invisalign® treatment is utilized to correct, such as underbites, overbites, and crowding, among other concerns. In addition, Invisalign Teen allows up to three sets of replacement aligners free of charge, should one lose or damage their aligners. Plus, depending on their unique needs, many teens reach their desired result in fewer office visits when compared to metal braces.
What is the Invisalign® Process Like?
To begin the Invisalign® process, our doctors will develop a customized treatment plan by taking impressions of your teeth. Based on these intricate impressions, the aligners will be crafted as a series of trays that you will take home with you. Each set of aligners will be worn for two weeks, and then you move on to the next in the series. The aligners are slightly modified between each set to allow for a gradual movement of your teeth into a more desirable position. While Invisalign® clear teeth aligners are removable, it’s recommended that you wear them as much as possible throughout the day. Our team will periodically check in with you to monitor your tooth movement.
How Often Should I Wear My Aligners?
For optimal treatment results, you should wear your aligners as often as possible. It is recommended to keep them in place for a minimum of 20 to 22 hours per day for the system to be effective. You should only remove the aligners to eat, drink, brush, and floss.
How Long Does Invisalign® Treatment Take?
Most patients are able to achieve the best results after 9 to 15 months, with the average case completed in approximately 12 months. The length of your treatment will depend on the extent of your orthodontic needs and how often you wear your aligners. Taking care to keep aligners in place consistently and according to your dentist’s instructions can generally accelerate and optimize the treatment process.
How Do I Clean My Invisalign® Aligners?
You can maintain your aligners by gently brushing and rinsing them daily under lukewarm water. Additionally, rinsing your aligners after drinking beverages—especially dark and colored beverages—can help keep them in pristine condition.
What is the Cost of Invisalign®?
The cost of Invisalign® will vary for each patient. Cost factors generally depend on the nature of your treatment plan, the degree of orthodontic work required, and the number of aligners necessary to straighten your teeth. Our practice offers a wide array of payment methods and financing options that can be used to suit your budgetary needs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our friendly dental team for any questions or concerns you may have.
Our dentists provide a range of solutions to straighten misaligned teeth as well as foster a proper bite, and there are several other types of cosmetic braces that can achieve your orthodontic goals with the discretion afforded by Invisalign®. Depending on a number of factors—including the state of your bite as well as your personal preferences— alternative orthodontic systems such as ClearCorrect™, Six Month Smiles®, or porcelain veneers may be a more ideal treatment for your unique needs.
ClearCorrect™ is a comparable treatment process to Invisalign®, utilizing transparent, removable aligners to gradually guide teeth into the proper positioning. Fabricated from a durable material called Zendura, ClearCorrect™ has been known to effectively withstand stress-retention (pressure without becoming contorted) and can treat mild to severe cases of crookedness and occlusion.
For individuals whose orthodontic concerns involve overcrowding more than biting issues, Six Month Smiles® can be a convenient treatment to straighten teeth in a substantially faster treatment time when compared to other systems. These cosmetic braces use clear brackets and tooth-colored wires to improve crookedness unobtrusively, typically achieving the final outcome in four to nine months with the average case taking only six months.
When a patient has a proper bite, but their smile is affected by minor dental flaws, porcelain veneers can be a simple and conservative solution to mask gaps as well as minor misalignments. Composed of ultra-thin porcelain shells that are shaded to match the color of your enamel, these veneers are bonded to the fronts of the treated teeth and can conceal a variety of dental imperfections. Final results with porcelain veneers can be achieved in as little as two office visits and the outcome is designed to last years— even decades.
We understand that it can be difficult to ascertain which treatment is the most beneficial for your unique situation. Our cosmetic dentists would be happy to evaluate your particular concerns during a consultation and suggest the option that can best achieve your desired aesthetic outcome.
If you are interested in learning more about Invisalign®, or our other options for cosmetic braces, please contact our office at Encinitas Cosmetic Dentistry today.