WHAT IS INVISALIGN®?
Invisalign® has become a preferred option among adults for mild to moderate orthodontic correction. The clear plastic Invisalign®aligners are removable and discreet, making them highly preferable over traditional metal braces. A series of custom-designed Invisalign® aligners gradually shift teeth into the proper positioning until the appearance of visibly straighter teeth is achieved. Our cosmetic dentist is well-trained and experienced in planning and administering Invisalign® treatment, and has helped many patients with crooked, gapped, and crowded teeth obtain a more beautiful smile.
- How Does Invisalign® Work?
- Invisalign® Benefits
- Invisalign® Candidates
- Invisalign® Process
- Invisalign® Results
- Invisalign® vs. Braces
- Length of Invisalign® Treatment
- Invisalign® Cost
- Invisalign® Alternatives
- Invisalign® FAQ
If you are interested in Invisalign® and would like to find out if the system is right for you, contact South River Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jeff Blackburn or Dr. Kevin (Chang Hun) Lee.
HOW DOES INVISALIGN® WORK?
Whereas traditional braces are tightened over time to achieve straighter teeth, Invisalign® uses sets of aligners that can progressively form your ideal smile. As a leading cosmetic dentistry treatment, each set of aligners is custom-made to fit comfortably and move your teeth gently, but quickly. In many cases, Invisalign® can straighten teeth faster than traditional braces.
BENEFITS OF INVISALIGN®
The Invisalign® system can correct a variety of mild to moderate alignment and occlusion (bite) concerns, which were only possible to resolve with traditional bracket-and-wire braces in the past. With clear, plastic, removable Invisalign® aligners, there is no need for uncomfortable “tightening” appointments and you can enjoy all of your favorite foods without worry. Best of all, the aligners typically work at a faster pace than other orthodontic treatments and are virtually unnoticeable.
CANDIDATES FOR INVISALIGN®
Good candidates for orthodontic correction with Invisalign® typically meet the following criteria:
- Adult or teen with fully emerged permanent molars
- Mild to moderate crowding, uneven spacing, misalignment, and/or bite problems
- Committed to a treatment length between 6 – 18 months for adults (treatment lengths can vary based on the severity of the case)
- Willing to wear aligners between 20-22 hours per day
- Do not have bridges or dental implants in place
If you are wondering whether you may be a good candidate, our cosmetic dentists can evaluate your smile during a consultation to determine if Invisalign® is right for you. He can also discuss the potential length of your treatment and provide you with a general cost estimate for your care.
THE INVISALIGN® PROCESS
To begin the Invisalign® process, Dr. Blackburn will capture digital images, x-rays, and 3D dental scans to formulate your customized treatment plan and provide a visual representation of the results you can achieve with Invisalign®. Based on your treatment plan and dental imaging, the Invisalign® lab will create your personal series of aligners, which are designed to gradually shift your teeth into proper position. The aligners fit right over the teeth and must be worn between 20 – 22 hours per day to be effective. Every two to three weeks, you will progress to the next aligner in the series until your treatment is complete. General check-up appointments with Dr. Blackburn are scheduled every six weeks to ensure your treatment is proceeding as planned. Invisalign® aligners do not require any special care— simply a rinse with warm water and a gentle brushing will keep them clean between periods of wear.
Dr. Blackburn’s Invisalign® patients are typically very pleased with the final results and comment positively on the general ease and comfort of the process. To maintain the results achieved during your Invisalign® treatment, you will be provided with retainers, which can prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original position. If you would like to further enhance the appearance of your smile, we also offer both in-office and at-home professional teeth whitening to help you attain a gleaming, flawless outcome after Invisalign®.
INVISALIGN® VS. BRACES
When compared to traditional braces, Invisalign® can offer patients a more comfortable and less intrusive treatment process. As the straightening aligners are designed to fit snugly over the teeth, individuals do not experience the irritation of metal wiring and brackets pressing against—and cutting into—gum tissue. Teeth can be straightened inconspicuously while your smile remains unobstructed by bulky orthodontic materials. Furthermore, the ability to remove the aligners can allow patients the freedom to enjoy an unrestricted diet, as well as the convenience of not having to brush and floss between wiring.
The Invisalign® system can address most of the same biting issues and misalignment concerns that regular braces have traditionally been used to resolve, including overbites, underbites, crossbites, and crowded teeth. Dr. Blackburn or Dr. Lee can examine the state of your oral structures during a consultation to help you decide whether your needs can be addressed with Invisalign®.
HOW LONG DOES INVISALIGN® TAKE?
The length of your Invisalign® treatment will depend on the extent of the orthodontic concerns addressed, as well as how consistently you wear your aligners. Generally speaking, minor misalignments are typically corrected faster than occlusion issues, such as underbites and overbites. Most patients finish their treatment within 9 to 15 months, with the average case usually taking 12 months. Keeping your aligners in place and removing them only when eating or cleaning the teeth can usually optimize the rate at which your teeth are straightened, and decrease the likelihood of unanticipated treatment time.
COST OF INVISALIGN®
The price of Invisalign® and traditional metal braces is often comparable. The exact price of your treatment with Invisalign® will vary depending upon the severity of your tooth misalignment, how many sets of aligners are required to attain your desired results, and your diligence in wearing the aligners. During the initial consultation, our team can provide you with an estimate for the full cost of treatment. Patients who may benefit from a payment plan may be eligible for financing options available at our practice.
Are There Any Invisalign® Alternatives?
In certain cases, minor misalignments in the teeth can be improved with porcelain veneers—a relatively simple treatment that can be completed in only two dental visits. Veneers are thin shells bonded to the front of teeth to achieve a straighter, fuller, and more youthful appearance to the enamel. They can lengthen teeth that appear short or worn as a result of age, as well as match up any misalignments caused by asymmetry between teeth. While they can make teeth look more even and proportional, porcelain veneers are only beneficial to patients who do not have issues with their bite or jaw alignment. Since veneers are solely meant to address cosmetic concerns, individuals with more extensive tooth crookedness and/or jaw misalignment may be better suited with an orthodontic treatment like Invisalign®.
Are Invisalign® aligners truly invisible?
Invisalign® uses a system of clear plastic aligners to discreetly guide the teeth toward their ideal position. They can typically be worn undetected by others. In order to optimize the results of Invisalign®, small attachments may be placed on several teeth, though these attachments can be made to match the shade of your natural teeth to blend in seamlessly with your smile.
Will Invisalign® change the way I talk?
At first, patients may experience a slight change in their speech from wearing the Invisalign®aligners. In most cases, patients become accustomed to the presence of the aligners very quickly and their speech returns to normal within a few days.
How does Invisalign® work?
Whereas traditional braces are tightened over time to achieve straighter teeth, Invisalign® uses sets of aligners that can progressively form your ideal smile. Each set of aligners is custom-made to fit comfortably and move your teeth gently but quickly. In many cases, Invisalign® can straighten teeth faster than traditional braces.
How often can I take out my Invisalign® aligners?
One of the major benefits of the Invisalign® system is the removable aligners. This feature makes eating, drinking, and especially cleaning the teeth much easier compared to traditional braces. For a special occasion, such as a wedding or reunion, the aligners can be removed. However, Dr. Blackburn recommends patients wear their aligners for 20-22 hours a day in order to maximize the results without compromising the duration of the treatment. Patients should try to wear their aligners whenever possible for the best outcome.
Should I remove my Invisalign® aligners to drink beverages?
To prevent the aligners from becoming distorted, Dr. Blackburn suggests that patients remove them when drinking anything other than cool water. In some cases, a straw may be used rather than removing the aligners. During the consultation process, Dr. Blackburn will discuss your eating and drinking habits and recommend the best course of action.
How do I clean my Invisalign® aligners?
Invisalign® trays can be easily cleaned by removing them from the teeth and brushing them with a normal toothbrush and water. If patients feel the aligners need a little extra cleaning, antibacterial hand soap may be used on occasion. If you do use soap to clean the aligners periodically, thoroughly rinse the aligners with water before placing them back in your mouth.
How often do I have to wear my Invisalign® retainers?
The retainers provided after the completion of Invisalign® should at least be worn nightly while sleeping. Retainers keep the alignment of your teeth and jaw in the correct positioning, and regular use is key to preventing your smile from reverting back to its pre-treatment state.
Does Invisalign® hurt?
Patients usually do not report any Invisalign® pain during the treatment process. In fact, most individuals consider Invisalign® a much more comfortable alternative to metal braces, which are known to poke and irritate the gum tissue. You may experience gentle pressure while wearing your aligners as the teeth are guided to the desired positioning, but this mild force is usually a sign that the treatment is working.
What is Invisalign® Teen?
Invisalign® Teen works exactly the same as a standard Invisalign® treatment, except the clear aligners for teens are tailored for younger patients whose bites may still be developing. This may or may not result in a slightly longer duration of treatment when compared to an adult patient, but the time it takes to achieve the desired results ultimately depends on the complexity of the case. Since Invisalign® can straighten teeth discreetly and without any food restrictions, most teens prefer clear aligners to traditional braces.
How do I protect my Invisalign® aligners against staining?
It’s best to remove aligners whenever eating or drinking to avoid accidental staining. Sipping beverages through a straw can also help minimize exposure to staining agents in situations where removing your aligners is not possible. Most importantly, do not smoke while wearing your aligners, as the chemicals in cigarettes can quickly discolor the plastic.
Is Invisalign® covered by insurance?
Some insurance companies offer partial or full coverage for Invisalign® under the inclusion of orthodontic care in one’s dental plan. However, this varies greatly according to individual policies. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to learn the full scope of your benefits.
Dr. Jeff Blackburn and Dr. Kevin (Chang Hun) Lee are ready to transform your smile. To see what results can potentially be achieved, feel free to explore our before-and-after dental treatment photos. When you are ready to schedule a consultation, or if you would like more information about Invisalign®, contact South River Dentistry to schedule an appointment today.