One of the most talked about innovations in orthodontics is Invisalign, considered by many as a technological breakthrough designed to revolutionize the science and art of achieving straighter, healthier teeth.
What is Invisalign?
First introduced in 2000, Invisalign refers to a series of clear, adjustable orthodontic aligners designed to slowly shift the teeth into desired positions without the discomfort of metal or wire contraptions. Specific custom-made aligners are worn for approximately two weeks, then replaced with a new set that advances you the next stage of your treatment.
Treatment period for Invisalign patients ranges from a few weeks for simple cases to as long as 44 months for severe dental problems.
Three dimensional (3-D) images of your teeth will be created based on your teeth’s x-rays, pictures and impressions. These 3-D images will guide your orthodontist in developing a customized treatment plan for you, including the precise movements of each tooth in every stage of treatment, as well as the estimated length of treatment.
Invisalign is a relatively costly investment, typically ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 depending on the specifics of your custom-made treatment program. This is why it is essential that you take prudent exploratory steps before you commit your hard-earned money and valuable time to this treatment.
First, know that not all dentists and orthodontists have been trained and certified to work with Invisalign. This is why it is very important that you seek the right professional who can competently analyze your dental problems, evaluate your true needs and determine how Invisalign can best help you.
Second, find out if you’re a good candidate to receive Invisalign treatment. Take assessment tests and do not hesitate to ask questions or clarify concerns with your licensed orthodontists
Third, condition yourself that Invisalign not only involves longer treatment plans but also demands a firmer commitment in your end. Because these aligners are easily removable (unlike braces that are fixed into your teeth), it takes an extra dose of patience and a stronger sense of duty to habitually clean your aligner trays and put them back on after each meal or drink.
Committing to treatments that use Invisalign or braces will cost you money and time, either way. This is why it is best to carefully weigh the pros and cons associated with each treatment option.
Both Invisalign and braces have been proven to straighten teeth and correct certain dental issues such as crowding, spacing, cross bite, over bite and under bite.
From this point, Invisalign would seem to rack up more positive points because it allows you to enjoy virtually invisible teeth-straightening (braces typically come in silver or yellow-gold colors, with enamel and other colors available at extra charges) and lets you remove your aligners whenever you want (whereas you need your orthodontist to adjust or remove your braces).
With Invisalign, you can also brush, floss and rinse your teeth normally for better oral health (while in traditional braces, food gets easily trapped in the brackets and wires making it a challenge to clean them properly).
Another plus side of using Invisalign is that it is made of smooth and comfortable plastic guaranteed be free from bisphenol A or BPA, a known industrial chemical often found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Exposure to BPA is believed to cause damage on the brain and affect the behavior and prostate glands of fetuses, infants and children.
Still, Invisalign has its limitations. It is not the best option in correcting vertical problems where the teeth are at different heights, with some lower or higher than the others. It is also not the best treatment for patients with severe bite problems and those with extremely overcrowded or rotated teeth.
Traditional braces, because of the firm pressure they exert against the teeth, remain the best option in treating patients suffering from severe bite problems, overcrowded teeth and other complicated dental problems.
And because braces are already fixed into your teeth (unlike the Invisalign aligners that you can easily remove and leave out whenever you are tempted to rest your teeth), there is actually reduced pressure to enforce self-discipline because you cannot possibly take them off on your own out of plain whim.
Once your orthodontist finalizes a treatment plan for you, you will receive a series of clear, adjustable aligners specifically tailored for you.
It is imperative that you wear your Invisalign aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day throughout your treatment program in order to achieve the best results possible. You will remove them only when it’s time for you to eat, drink or brush and floss your teeth.
You will wear a new set of aligners every two weeks. With each new set, your teeth will gently and gradually begin to shift into place.
Once you have completed your treatment plan, you should consult your orthodontist on the appropriate dental retainers needed to protect and maintain your new set of straight, beautiful teeth and how long should you wear these retainers.
It is also important that you create –and keep– a future schedule of mandatory dental checkups so your orthodontist can properly monitor and record the progress of your post-Invisalign treatment.
Invisalign technology answered the prayers of countless patients who dreamt of straighter teeth minus the discomfort and noticeable metal mouth look. These breakthrough aligners can alleviate the issues caused by improper bites, speech or chewing difficulties, jaw problems, and other dental concerns.
For more information, schedule an open talk with your orthodontist to discuss if Invisalign is the best treatment for your dental needs.
Being a native of Northern California, it is a real joy to serve the patients of our community. I have a strong desire to improve the lives of those around me, and the skills to follow through. Who can ask for more than that?
With a combination of personal care for my patients, treatments utilizing the most advanced technology, and a strong continuing orthodontic education, I maintain a commitment to providing the highest quality treatments available.
Dr. Larson caters to discerning clients who expect superior orthodontic care. We have seen patients achieve amazing transformations, not only in their smiles but in their attitudes, after getting orthodontic treatment.
Never underestimate the power of a smile to boost confidence and self-esteem!