Crooked teeth cause insecurity and lead to poorer oral health because it’s difficult to clean overcrowded areas. In the past, kids and adults may have avoided metal braces because of unsightly brackets and wires, but metal braces aren’t the only option anymore. More kids and adults can qualify for Invisalign orthodontic treatment with clear aligners than ever before. Invisalign allows you to straighten your smile discreetly and comfortably.
Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas believes in being at the forefront of esthetic and cosmetic treatments and offers comprehensive dental care with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Our dentists, Dr. Tyler Wurmlinger and Dr. Ross Nash, can determine if Invisalign is the best way to straighten your teeth and improve the esthetic appeal and function of your bite.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a leading brand of orthodontics that uses clear aligners to gently straighten teeth and glide them into the desired position. These aligners are switched out for a new set every two weeks, and the Invisalign series typically takes 12 to 18 months to correct a patient’s bite. Aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day for optimal results, and patients remove them to eat or drink fluids other than water. Brush, floss and rinse before putting them back in your mouth.
The Invisalign process is computerized and allows patients to see what their smile may look like if they wear the aligners as directed. Each set of aligners applies pressure in specific areas to move teeth slowly for optimal results and comfort. Traditional metal braces work off an idea of what the final results should look like and must be adjusted and tightened as the teeth shift, causing patients pain and discomfort without a clear picture of what they can expect at the end.
Benefits of Invisalign Clear Aligners
Crooked teeth are more challenging to clean than a straight smile, because overcrowding creates the perfect breeding ground for food debris and bacteria to build up. These areas are difficult to reach with flossing and regular brushing and are more prone to tartar and cavities. Unclean teeth increase gum disease risk, which can lead to gum recession, tooth loss and jawbone degradation. Because of these issues, people with crooked teeth often require more frequent dental cleanings. Invisalign clear aligners can improve oral health by straightening teeth and addressing overcrowding.
Invisalign requires fewer visits to the orthodontist than metal braces because there’s no need for painful bracket tightening. The process is often faster, with the average Invisalign treatment taking 12 months and metal braces taking several years in severe cases.
Metal braces tend to cut oral tissues due to wires and protruding pieces of metal, but Invisalign aligners are smooth and don’t typically harm the gums, inner cheeks, tongue or other tissues in the mouth. Traditional braces are also clunky and cause kids and adults embarrassment throughout their orthodontic treatment. Invisalign offers a discreet way to straighten your teeth with a nearly “invisible” orthodontic.
Invisalign allows you to take the aligners out to eat, meaning there are no food limitations. While previous generations had to avoid popcorn, apples and sticky snacks, Invisalign patients can eat whatever they’re craving. (Although it is best to limit sugary foods for optimal oral and overall health.)
Removable clear aligners give patients full access to clean their teeth, making oral health an easier endeavor. You must brush and floss before placing the aligners back in your mouth, and many patients find their oral hygiene habits improve dramatically by doing this several times a day. Where traditional braces could trap food and plaque between brackets and wires, Invisalign allows for thorough cleaning.
Who Is a Candidate for Invisalign?
Many people think that Invisalign can only address mild misalignment concerns, but these clear aligners offer improvement for a myriad of tooth issues, including:
- Overcrowded teeth
- Tooth gaps
- Protruding teeth
- Crooked teeth
While severe overbites or underbites may still require extensive orthodontic work with metal structures, Invisalign can improve more tooth concerns than most people realize possible. Invisalign addresses problems with the placement and position of the teeth, but jaw concerns need more extensive treatment.
Adult candidates and teenagers or children interested in Invisalign have different requirements. Older teens may qualify for Invisalign if they show responsibility and adhere to the treatment plan. Invisalign results are only successful if the aligners are worn at least 22 hours a day and switched as scheduled. Young teens and kids may be tempted to remove them frequently, forget to switch to a new set or lose their aligners, causing problems and gaps in treatment.
Adults who do public speaking, play contact sports or lead busy lives often want Invisalign for the convenience and discreetness of treatment. Public speakers can remove the trays before their presentation to avoid mumbled or slurred speech, and sports players can do the same.
What Is the Invisalign Process?
Your journey to a straighter smile with Invisalign starts with a consultation at Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas. If you’re a good candidate for clear aligners, one of our dentists will go over how Invisalign works, your specific treatment protocol and the estimated length of treatment.
The next step is taking a mold of your teeth or digital impression for the computerized system to create your orthodontic plan to guide teeth into the ideal position. Photos, X-rays and scans are taken of your teeth and jaw to send to the Invisalign laboratory, where your customized aligners are molded for your mouth. Some people may need a second mold or Invisalign aligner series later, but most require just the initial set.
Patients with more complex tooth concerns may need attachments, which are tooth-colored bonding materials hardened on the tooth or teeth. These attachments place more pressure on the tooth and ensure the aligners fit snuggly in place for ideal movement. Attachments are removed at the end of Invisalign treatment and are not like brackets. They are made to match your natural tooth color so you and the people in your life won’t notice them when the aligners are removed.
Once you receive your first set of Invisalign aligners, your treatment begins, and the next step depends on the treatment protocol and length. Our dentists will have you come into our Huntersville office periodically to ensure your teeth are shifting as designed and pick up new trays.
A new mold is taken for a removable retainer at the end of your Invisalign treatment. You wear your retainer at night to keep your teeth in their new location, but a permanent retainer may be an option for some. The attachments are removed, teeth are polished, and you’re good to go with a beautiful, straight smile.
Remember that your treatment plan relies on you. If you follow the protocol to the letter, you’ll reach the best results. Taking out your aligners too often may extend your treatment and lead to less-than-satisfactory results.
Caring for Invisalign Aligners
Taking care of your aligners is simple but requires good oral hygiene. Remove the trays whenever you eat or drink anything but water. When ready to place them back in your mouth, brush and floss your teeth first and give the aligners a quick rinse. The Invisalign brand does offer cleaning tablets and other products to maintain clear aligners as you complete the treatment.
If you’re interested in Invisalign, contact Dr. Wurmlinger and Dr. Nash at Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas. Schedule a dental exam and consultation by calling (704) 895-7660.