Invisalign 101: Beginner's Guide

In spite of some pretty fantastic advances in orthodontics in recent years, many patients still react to the news that they need braces with dismay. Unfortunately, traditional metal braces have a reputation for being bulky, awkward, and obvious that’s been hard to shake. Although they are more comfortable and far subtler than they’ve ever been before, many teens and adults are still on the fence about them. The good news is there’s another option for straightening teeth and giving you the smile you desire!

Invisalign aligner Invisalign is a clear aligner system that offers you an easy and unobtrusive alternative to traditional braces. It gives you the same results without all the metal, wires, and brackets. This makes them especially attractive to teens and adults who would prefer to avoid the appearance of traditional braces, and also keep their lifestyle as uninhibited as possible during orthodontic treatment. It’s a great choice for any patient looking for something subtle and versatile, but what exactly is it, and how does it work? Our team here at Bennett Orthodontics has put together a handy guide to Invisalign 101 for you. Keep reading to find out more!

What is the Invisalign system?

Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable plastic trays, or aligners, to give you a healthier, straighter smile without being visible. The design is deceptively simple, and when you see the aligners, you may wonder how they could ever achieve the same results as metal braces! In reality, these trays are made of a special type of thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to move your teeth into alignment. This movement relies on a sequence of custom-made aligners being switched out at custom intervals during treatment.

How does Invisalign work?

Smiling woman putting in InvisalignYour first step is an initial consultation. Bennett Orthodontics is happy to offer this free of charge! During this appointment, we’ll discuss your orthodontic needs and decide whether Invisalign is the right treatment choice for you. Once we determine you’re a good fit for the system, we begin the process of custom designing aligners specific to your smile.

A highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums will be performed in our office.  This scan is then used to map out a precise treatment plan for you. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, as well as how long your treatment is likely to take. You may even get the chance to preview your new smile!

From this 3D scan, your custom aligners will be created from Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material. The comfortable plastic trays are virtually invisible, and the total number worn during treatment is usually somewhere between 10 and 48, with the total treatment time averaging between 5 and 15 months. In order to maximize their effectiveness, you’ll need to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours daily, throughout the course of treatment.

During treatment, you will switch to a new set of aligners every one to three weeks based on your treatment plan.  We will schedule check-ups with our conveniently located Mobile office about every four to eight weeks.

What are the advantages of Invisalign over traditional orthodontic treatment?

Invisalign is a more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing solution than traditional metal braces, but the benefits extend beyond that!

Because the aligners are removable, there are no restrictions to diet or activity. Most people who have worn metal braces will tell you that having to forego some of their favorite foods while undergoing treatment was one of the hardest parts of having them. Because of the wires and brackets, patients must steer clear of any treats that are chewy, sticky, crunchy, or hard. No apples or carrots, popcorn or chips, and most candy is off the table, too. This can often make social situations difficult, since so many of them are centered around food. But Invisalign aligners are removable, not fixed. You take them out anytime you want to eat or drink anything other than water, meaning no food restrictions and a whole lot more fun!   

Removable aligners also makes a difference to your oral hygiene routine. It’s important to pay special attention to your dental hygiene all the time, but especially when undergoing orthodontic treatment. Unfortunately, the wires, brackets, and bands that accompany traditional braces can make brushing and flossing effectively a difficult or time-consuming task. With Invisalign, aligners are simply taken out before brushing and flossing. Cleaning them is a snap, as well - there are special kits designed specifically to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.

Last, but definitely not least, removable aligners can be a huge bonus when you’re playing a contact sport (you can remove your Invisalign aligner and wear a regular mouthguard) or an instrument (no wires or brackets to get in the way), or even just on those special occasions where you want your natural smile to be the only thing shining through (weddings, prom, homecoming, senior pictures, etc.)

Smiling woman putting in InvisalignWho are the best candidates for Invisalign?

Invisalign is created for use on most adult and teen patients with common orthodontic issues. However, there are certain, more complicated cases which require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. During your initial complimentary consultation with Bennett Orthodontics, we’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you, or if you’d be better served by more traditional orthodontic treatment.

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Our teeth retain memories of their previous place in our mouths and have a tendency to drift back to their original positions over time.This is why it’s important to retain their new positions after any form of orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign. Once your treatment process is complete, we’ll provide you with retainers that will need to be worn as directed in order to maintain your new, straighter smile.

Invisalign in Mobile with Bennett Orthodontics

Invisalign is changing the way people view orthodontic treatment, and we’re proud to be a certified Invisalign provider offering this technology to our braces patients in Mobile and the surrounding areas. If you are interested in learning more about Invisalign and what it can do for you, why not get in touch with our friendly team today and schedule your complimentary consultation? With a customized approach to care, and cutting-edge techniques and technology, Bennett Orthodontics is ready to help you put your best face forward. With Invisalign, we can help you achieve the smile of your dreams!

 
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