When we’re happy, we smile, and smiling can make you feel happier. Unfortunately, crooked teeth can make us reluctant to share our smile, and can also increase our chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Invisalign has made it easier than ever to fix teeth alignment issues. More than 4 million Canadians and Americans use Invisalign to improve their smiles.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a treatment method that uses clear plastic aligners to slowly shift teeth into their correct positions. Invisalign aligners are made of durable plastic and moulded to your mouth, so they fit snugly over your teeth. To straighten your teeth, your dentist will give you several sets of aligners, which you will change out every two weeks, slowly straightening your smile.
Depending on how much your teeth need to shift, your dentist will provide you with between 18 and 30 aligners total.
Is Invisalign a Good Choice for Me?
Invisalign cna be a good choice for patients of all ages with mild teeth alignment issues. Invisalign can be used to correct a variety of issues including:
- Crooked teeth.
- Crowded teeth.
- Gapped teeth.
- Open bite.
- Overjet (a horizontal misalignment between the upper and lower teeth).
Your dentist will evaluate your teeth to see if Invisalign is right for you. Though Invisalign can work for many patients, it isn’t a good choice for patients with:
- Dentures or dental implants.
- Dental bridges.
- Untreated periodontal (gum) disease.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Your dentist will begin by creating a personalized Invisalign treatment plan to suit your needs and help you achieve the results you desire.
The orthodontist will take a 3D image of your teeth to assess the condition of your teeth and determine the exact extent of your alignment issues. Using this data, your dentist can create your tailored treatment plan and determine how many sets of aligners you will require.
Aligners are typically worn for 2 weeks at a time, before being swapped out for the next set in the sequence. This allows your teeth to shift slowly, with each new set moving your teeth closer to their ideal position. In order to achieve your best results, your aligners need to be worn for between 20 and 22 hours per day.
What Are the Different Types of Invisalign?
Different types of Invisalign are designed to address different issues or be used by different age groups. Invisalign is currently available in the following types:
- Invisalign Full
- Invisalign Express
- Invisalign i7
- Invisalign Lite
- Invisalign Go
- Invisalign Teen
How Is Invisalign Different From Traditional Braces?
Invisalign works just like traditional braces do, by slowly shifting misaligned teeth into the correct position. However, traditional braces need to be adjusted and tightened at regular intervals by a dental professional, while Invisalign aligners simply need to be swapped out for the next set.
Another major difference between traditional braces and Invisalign is the material used to make the appliance. Traditional braces are made of metal wires and rubber bands and need to be cemented onto the front of your teeth in order to correct alignment issues. This makes them both incredibly visible and difficult to clean. Invisalign is practically invisible, and because the aligners are removable, you don’t need to adjust your normal oral hygiene routine or change your diet.
Because Invisalign aligners are better suited to more minor alignment issues, they also typically require a shorter treatment time than traditional braces. Traditional braces can take as long as 18 months to correct severe issues, while Invisalign typically takes between 9 and 12 months. However, patients who require very minor adjustments may achieve their desired results in as little as 2 months.
Can I Eat With My Invisalign Aligners On?
It’s best to remove your aligners before you drink or eat. This not only prevents you from accidentally damaging your aligners but also prevents food particles from becoming trapped between your teeth and your aligners.
Trapped food can cause tooth decay, which is why you should always remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything except water and always brush your teeth thoroughly after every meal and snack before putting your aligners back in.
How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
How much your Invisalign treatment costs depends on a variety of factors, including how many aligners you will need. However, most insurance companies don’t differentiate between Invisalign and other orthodontic treatments like braces, which means if your plan covers orthodontic treatments, your Invisalign should be covered.
Contact your HR department or insurance company to find out whether your Invisalign will be covered. You can also speak to your dentist about payment plan options.
How to Care for Your Invisalign Aligners
When you take out your aligners to eat or drink you can help keep them clean by storing them in the storage case provided by your dentist. Your dentist will provide you with a cleaning schedule, but as a general rule you should also rinse your aligners thoroughly every night, and give them a gentle scrub with your toothbrush.
If your aligners aren’t cleaned properly they could harbour harmful bacteria, which can lead to both tooth decay and gum disease.
What Are the Benefits of Invisalign Over Traditional Braces?
Invisalign aligners offer a wide variety of benefits over their traditional counterparts. These include:
- An easier oral hygiene routine. Because Invisalign aligners can be removed before eating and drinking, and while you are brushing or flossing your teeth, it is easier to keep both your aligners and your teeth clean and free of food particles.
- Nearly invisible appearance. Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, making them less noticeable than traditional braces.
- No major diet changes. Since Invisalign aligners are removed before eating and drinking, you won’t need to adjust your diet to accommodate your orthodontic appliances. Patients with braces typically need to avoid hard, chewy, or sticky foods since they can damage the braces and become stuck in the wires, making our teeth difficult to clean.
- Improved comfort. The wires and brackets traditional braces depend on can irritate the sensitive lip and mouth tissues.
- Fewer dentist visits. We know you love to come to see us, but we also understand that frequent visits may not fit well into your schedule. While traditional braces need to be adjusted by a dental professional, Invisalign aligners can be swapped out at home, reducing the frequency of dental visits.
Does Invisalign Have Any Side Effects I Should Be Concerned About?
In rare cases, some patients report mild side effects. These include:
- Mild discomfort. You may experience some discomfort when you begin your treatment or whenever you switch to a new set of aligners. However, this mild discomfort should subside as your mouth adjusts to your new aligners.
- Allergies. In rare cases, some patients have experienced allergic reactions to the hard plastic used to create Invisalign aligners. If you have a plastic allergy, please speak to your dentist to find out if Invisalign is right for you.
Invisalign has transformed how millions of North Americans approach teeth misalignment issues and could help you achieve the smile of your dreams. To find out if Invisalign is right for you, please speak to your dentist.