Invisalign has become quite a popular option for people who want to straighten their teeth without the constant sight of metal braces on their teeth. The best way to do this process is with a licensed dentist- while there are many mail-order offers online for a fraction of the cost, the lack of supervision can wind up being both frustrating and be a bigger blow to the wallet.
First of all, it’s important to know who is eligible for this. Kids who have not lost all their baby teeth and had them replaced by adult teeth cannot get Invisalign. This is because their mouth is still changing.
Once the dentist is satisfied that the person is a qualified candidate, they typically take an impression of that patient’s mouth, take photos and X-rays and send all of it to the Invisalign labs. There, the staff takes all of that and compiles a 3-D model that shows what the whole process can look like – here the dentist gives input about how they would like certain teeth to shift or drop.
It’s not quite as simple as Invisalign shipping mouthguards back to the dentist. There usually has to be some preparation to ensure that the best results are achieved.
The first thing the dentist will do is look at the overall state of the patient’s teeth. Are they overcrowded in the front – which is often the case? If so, then they may expand the back teeth some to ensure that Invisalign spaces everything out properly and achieves the best-looking smile. Other methods to achieve the same results include having the front teeth brought forward or sanding down the teeth a bit to make them skinnier – this will NOT affect the enamel.
Sometimes the dentist will put small attachments on some of the patient’s teeth to allow the Invisalign tray to snap onto the tooth. It makes it more secure and is the same color as the tooth. Not all patients need this step – it just depends on the shape and size of the teeth.
People who have had braces can remember having to have rubber bands – the same sometimes occurs with the Invisalign in terms of the rotation of the teeth.
Once all of this has been determined, the company will ship the trays, which are switched roughly every two weeks until completion.
Wearing the Invisalign
While the people who use this have an aesthetic advantage over those who wear braces – the ability to take it out to eat and drink – it’s still a full-time thing. The makers of Invisalign say that it should be worn around 20 hours a day. This is to maximize the shifting of the teeth into the proper position for the next tray. Not doing this means that the teeth won’t be in proper position when the tray is changed – which can have bad consequences down the road. It may not be initially noticeable but several trays later, the fit will be very bad and necessitate more work.
Patients need to brush the Invisalign when they brush their teeth and keep it clean. Otherwise they run the risk of bacteria getting in and breaking down enamel.
While there is always pressure on the teeth, especially with a new tray, if it feels like the tray is not fitting properly, see the dentist immediately. Doing so can save a lot of future grief and minimize any setback.
While the people at Invisalign do a great job of predicting how the teeth will shift, there is a chance that a couple might need a bit more time. So a few more trays might be needed. Most of the time this is built into the expense but it should be clarified with the dentist beforehand.
Once everything has been completed – roughly a year later – the job of maintenance starts. Usually the patient will wear a retainer full-time for a while and then gradually move from wearing it while sleeping to a couple of times a week. It’s all about keeping the teeth from shifting again.
Dr. Dorothy Anasinski and the staff at Dental Specialists of Niles are well-versed with Invisalign. They will be happy to work with you and carefully construct a plan to bring out your best smile. Give them a call at 847-685-6686.