How the Invisalign® Process Works
Treatment With Invisalign
Invisible aligners are more popular than ever, and the reasons are clear. Straighter teeth in less time without the hassle of metal braces? It almost sounds too good to be true.
Invisalign providers like Dr. Vu Kong make clear aligners more accessible to teens and adults by providing them in their general dental offices. Rather than going out of your way to visit an orthodontist, your regular family dentist may be able to help you straighten your teeth.
Your First Step: A Consultation
A consultation is the first step to begin Invisalign. During this initial visit, your dentist will examine your teeth to determine if Invisalign is the best treatment for you, then develop an individualized treatment plan.
Choosing the Right Dentist
Invisalign is offered through dental offices, so you’ll have the personal guidance of a dentist like Dr. David Blaustein available to you. If you have any issues during the course of your Invisalign treatment, your dentist can help resolve the problem.
The dentist you choose for Invisalign has an impact on your treatment satisfaction. To find the best dentist for you, schedule a consultation with more than one Invisalign-approved dentist — some dentists even offer free consultations for this reason.
Though clear aligners are great for many people, there are some cases that can’t be effectively treated with Invisalign. Invisalign is great for those whose teeth only need to be shifted slightly, but not for large-scale movement or severely rotated, tipped, or off-center teeth.
In these cases, traditional braces are more likely to be recommended. Invisalign, on the other hand, is great for:
- Crowded teeth
- Overbites and underbites
- Small gaps between teeth
If you’ve previously had braces but your teeth have shifted since then, Invisalign can realign your teeth to where they’re supposed to be.
Creating Your Aligners
Once your dentist has approved you for Invisalign, your treatment plan will be made. Many dentists, such as Invisalign-preferred dentist Dr. Maya Assi, use a small wand called an iTero Element® scanner to create a 3D digital scan of your teeth.
This scan is used by Invisalign systems to print your aligners and helps your dentist to create the optimal treatment plan for you. You’ll also be able to see the way your smile will look after your treatment is complete before you even touch an aligner.
After your initial visit, it takes about two weeks to create your first set of aligners. When they’re ready, you’ll come back to your dentist’s office to make sure the aligners fit properly and your dentist will provide you with detailed treatment instructions.
Every two weeks, you’ll receive new aligners to switch out as the position of your teeth changes. You can opt to pick them up from your dentist’s office or have them sent directly to you for your convenience.
You’ll spend most of your time wearing your aligners — it’s recommended you keep them in for 20 to 22 hours a day. If you don’t wear them enough, you could throw your treatment off track and it will end up taking longer.
Eating With Invisalign
With metal braces, you have to be careful what you snack on. But with Invisalign, you can eat and drink anything you want because you can remove your aligners.
It’s vital that you remove your aligners before consuming anything besides water. If you don’t, food can damage your aligners and drinks can stain them or make them sticky.
It’s also important to brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in for the same reasons.
This means that although you can eat anything, constant snacking can be more difficult during Invisalign treatment.
Due to this, planning out your meal times is essential. Though this can be a difficult adjustment, it quickly becomes part of a regular routine.
The Invisalign Diet
There’s even a phenomenon called “The Invisalign Diet” due to the impact that decreased snacking can have on your body. This suggests that Invisalign could help you to reign in any harmful snacking habits you have.
Sports and Activities
When playing sports, removing your Invisalign aligners and wearing a sports mouthguard can keep your aligners, as well as your teeth, protected. As soon as your game or practice is finished, put your aligners back in so you can meet the recommended hours of wear.
Invisalign treatment is, on average, two times quicker than treatment with traditional braces. So even though you’ll have to alter your schedule to make sure you keep your aligners in for most of the day, these will all be temporary changes.
After the main Invisalign treatment, most people receive a retainer to keep their teeth from shifting out of place. You can usually choose between a metal retainer or an Invisalign-recommended clear Vivera® retainer.
Normally, you’ll start out wearing your retainer full-time, but you’ll eventually be able to wear it only at night. Though your main treatment is finished, wearing your retainer is important to keep your teeth from shifting out of place.