Invisalign® Therapy

What Is Invisalign® Therapy?

If you’ve always wanted to straighten your teeth but didn’t want to commit to braces, now is the time to explore Invisalign® therapy.

This orthodontic treatment program does away with metal wires and brackets in lieu of clear plastic aligners. These aligners are custom made to your teeth and rely on their ability to move your teeth using incremental changes in the fit of the aligner. The aligner places targeted pressure along each of your teeth to slowly coax them into proper placement over time.

Our teeth have a natural ability to respond to pressure. When pressure is applied to one side of the tooth, the tooth begins to break down bone in its path. As bone tissue erodes on one side of the tooth, new bone is formed in its wake. This gradual response to pressure is what orthodontic alignment procedures rely on.

In order to achieve this, it is critical that the integrity of the aligners is maintained. That means that there can be no exposure to hot liquids that will cause the material to warp, and no chewing with aligners in place. Aligners are not intended to bear bite forces and may warp and crack.

 Aligner therapy requires conscientiousness on the part of the patient to wear the trays enough and care for their teeth while they do so. Finally, the patient should be mature enough to handle not losing these aligners when they are removed. Invisalign® aligners are so thin and transparent that they can be easily overlooked when set on a surface, such as a napkin, rather than in its case.

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Your Kit

When your Invisalign® kit arrives at your dental office it will contain all the aligners that should be necessary for your treatment plan. As many as 30 aligners can make up an aligner kit and will be worn in the sequence indicated on the product.

Your Day with Invisalign®

When you start using aligners, you will find that they are quite tight on the teeth. Once you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth and cleaned your aligners, clip them in over your teeth. When your aligners are new, you may find some areas seating better than others. We recommend using Invisalign® chewies between the teeth for approximately five minutes, moving the chewy across the dental arches as you chew to help. Now that your aligners are in, you’ll only be able to drink water. The aligners can be popped in and out when you want to eat or drink, but the catch is that the teeth and aligners need a full round of cleaning after every meal. As you can imagine, this makes snacking very inconvenient. The natural consequence is that Invisalign® patients often report drinking more water and snacking less throughout the program. Not only is this a benefit to their overall health, but their oral health also often improves as a result.

How Long Do I Wear My Invisalign® Aligners?

Invisalign® aligners must be worn a minimum of 18-22 hours per day, allowing just enough time to be removed for meals and cleaning. The first days with new aligners can feel uncomfortable as your teeth adjust to the pressure for the first time. Your teeth will feel better in a matter of days and  slight discomfort as you change into new aligners should decrease as you progress through your program. You may choose to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to improve your comfort if required.

Your dentist will direct you to change your aligners every 1-2 weeks and will monitor your progress throughout treatment. A full course of treatment typically runs between 12 and 18 months, though this varies from patient to patient.

A Note on Hygiene

Invisalign® is the first orthodontic appliance to encase the teeth on three sides like a dome. This allows maximum effectiveness in terms of pressure, but with poor hygiene routines these aligners can become the breeding ground of decay-causing bacteria. When trays are placed in the mouth over dirty teeth, bacteria, acid and food debris continue to assault the teeth and gums without the ability to escape or be flushed away. The patient’s commitment to the routines required will be reflected in the health of the teeth and tissues.

To get started with Invisalign® talk to your dentist. Digital imagery of your teeth will get the process started in order to determine whether you are a candidate for Invisalign® therapy.

For questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist, contact our clinic today.

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