What Is [Invisalign] and How Does It Work?
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What Is Invisalign and How Does It Work? Crooked teeth might seem like a minor cosmetic issue, but if they go untreated, they can turn into a big problem in the future. For better or for worse, people judge others by their appearance, and crooked teeth can make it harder to land a job or get a date. Many people also feel self-conscious about their crooked smile and avoid laughing or talking for fear that others will judge them.
If you’re concerned about your child’s crooked teeth (or even your own), there are plenty of options available for straightening them. One popular option is Invisalign. Not sure what Invisalign is or how it works? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a tool for straightening teeth. In that regard, it’s similar to braces. However, there are a number of differences between Invisalign and braces.
Invisalign uses custom-made trays to straighten teeth a little at a time. These trays are made of clear plastic and are almost invisible. Chances are good that no one will even notice you’re wearing them. Many people opt for Invisalign over metal braces because they don’t want to have a “metal mouth” for months.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign straightens your teeth a little bit at a time. When you start your Invisalign treatment, your orthodontist will fit you for a custom set of aligner trays. Since these trays are made specifically for your mouth, they’ll fit perfectly over your teeth.
You’ll have to switch aligner trays every so often as treatment progresses. Usually, you’ll wear each tray for one to two weeks at a time; your orthodontist will give you precise directions for when you should switch to the next one. Each tray is designed to straighten out just one or two teeth. There’s no universal order that determines which of your teeth will get straightened first – your orthodontist will evaluate you and then decide which order will work best for you. Invisalign requires a highly personalized approach.
For Invisalign to be effective, you’ll have to wear each tray for a minimum of 20 to 22 hours every day. In other words, you’ll quickly become used to wearing them. However, Invisalign does give you a little more flexibility than braces do. Braces aren’t removable, but you can take your Invisalign tray out of your mouth to eat and brush your teeth. This prevents food or harmful sugars from getting stuck in the tray and damaging your teeth.
On average, Invisalign treatment takes about 12 months. However, the length of treatment will vary depending on each patient’s needs. Some people finish Invisalign treatment in as little as six months, while others need 18 months to straighten out their smile.
What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?
There are a lot of upsides to Invisalign. Here are some of the reasons many people prefer Invisalign to other treatments like braces.
Invisalign is gradual. Braces can be painful when they’re first fitted. It’s true that Invisalign can cause some discomfort as well – it is changing the position of your teeth, after all. But Invisalign works on just one part of your mouth at a time, which can make the discomfort easier to deal with. The pain usually goes away a couple of days after switching aligner trays.
Invisalign doesn’t involve any metal or wires in your mouth. Some people with braces experience scratches or sores in their mouth from rough metal edges. Invisalign is made of plastic and is much gentler on your mouth.
Invisalign doesn’t limit what you can eat. People with braces need to be careful what they put in their mouths. Sticky and sugary foods tend to be no-gos until the braces come off. With Invisalign, on the other hand, you’ll take out your aligner tray every time you eat, so there are no limits to the foods you can consume. Just make sure to brush your teeth before you put your aligner tray back in.
Aligner trays are easy to take care of. Cleaning your aligner trays is simple – just brush them gently with water, toothpaste, or a denture cleaner.
Are You a Good Candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign is a practical solution for many people, but it isn’t for everyone. Here are some signs that Invisalign might be a good choice for you:
- The mouth problems you want to fix aren’t severe. Invisalign is great for fixing mild to moderate cosmetic issues, but severe problems may require a different treatment, such as braces.
- You’re done growing. If you’re thinking about Invisalign treatment for your child, take their age into consideration. An older teenager may be a good candidate for Invisalign treatment, but if your child is under the age of 14 or 15, they may need braces instead.
- You’re willing to make a commitment. Aligner trays must be worn for at least 20 hours a day for good results. Without dedication and patience, Invisalign won’t work very well.
Schedule an Orthodontic Examination in Larkspur Today
In Marin County, Calif., you can visit Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics to have an examination and treatment from these professionals:
• Dr. Jasmine Gorton
• Dr. Bill Schmohl
• Dr. Jeff Nichelini
An orthodontist will discuss orthodontic options with you to repair problems such as crowded teeth, crossbites or overbites. Depending on your malocclusions, you can wear one of these devices:
• Braces with colors
• Traditional or Damon Clear
We also offer WowSmiles and Acceledent options to our orthodontic patients. Schedule an appointment by calling 415-459-8006 today.
Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle
Suite 200 Larkspur
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.