Thanks to the incredible advances technology has made in recent years, the field of orthodontics has come along in leaps and bounds. When combined with state-of-the-art techniques, these innovative options allow us to offer our patients treatment that is comfortable, efficient, and convenient. Invisalign is a perfect example of this!
If you’re unfamiliar with the Invisalign clear aligner system, it’s currently the most popular alternative we have to traditional braces. Instead of straightening smiles with brackets, wires, and bands, Invisalign uses removable clear aligners to give patients the same beautiful results.
Here at Surf City Smiles, we receive many inquiries from people who are interested in learning more about orthodontic treatment, but just aren’t sure if traditional braces are something they want to pursue. They’re often looking for a treatment option that won’t interfere with their busy lives and will provide a more discreet experience. Does this sound like you? If so, Invisalign could be exactly what you’re looking for!
Because Invisalign offers a measure of freedom and flexibility that traditional braces just can’t match, our teen and adult patients love it! But what exactly is Invisalign? Let’s take a closer look at how this exciting treatment option can give you a straighter, healthier smile without interrupting your day-to-day life.
What is Invisalign?
To understand how Invisalign differs from braces, it helps to have some knowledge of both fixed and removable orthodontic appliances. Metal and clear braces, along with self-ligating options, are what we call a fixed orthodontic appliance. This means that the brackets are attached directly to the teeth, and can only be removed by a trained orthodontic specialist. Invisalign, on the other hand, is a removable appliance. Although it is custom-made to fit snugly over the patient’s teeth, nothing is attached to the teeth themselves. Instead, a series of removable plastic aligners are used to shift the teeth into the desired positions over time.
People are sometimes surprised the first time they see an Invisalign aligner, but the design is deceptively simple! The clear trays are made of a special thermoplastic resin that is comfortable but still strong enough to correct a wide variety of orthodontic issues. In order to move the teeth and achieve the desired results, patients must wear their aligners for a certain number of hours each day. The aligners also need to be switched out for the next one in the series at predetermined intervals that will be determined by Dr. Carlson.
How does Invisalign work?
When you visit our Huntington Beach office for the first time, Dr. Carlson examine your mouth thoroughly. Our team will also take some digital photographs of your teeth, and may do a series of x-rays, too. If the exam and images show that you are a good fit for Invisalign, we’ll begin mapping out a precise treatment plan for you using a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make.
Once your treatment plan is complete, we can start designing your aligners. The trays will be customized to your unique smile, so that they will provide you with a snug but comfy fit! Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material gives aligners their durability and near invisibility. The total number of aligners needed for treatment will vary from patient to patient, but most will need anywhere from 10 to 48 to produce the best results. Treatment time will also vary, but you can expect it to last approximately 6-18 months on average. Your individualized treatment plan will also give us an idea of how long your treatment is likely to take.
As the patient, you play an important role in the success of your Invisalign treatment. Because your aligners are removable, the system relies on you being compliant to get the job done! You will need to wear your aligners for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the treatment process, to achieve the desired results. To keep up the movements your teeth are making, you’ll also need to switch your aligners out for the next in the series at regular intervals. The exact amount of time may vary slightly based on your individual treatment plan, but is generally every 1-2 weeks.
You’ll need to see us less often than a braces patient would, but regular check-ups will still be an essential part of the treatment process. These visits will be scheduled for roughly every 4-8 weeks, but they’ll be fairly fast since there are no appliances to adjust. During your appointments, Dr. Carlson will check how your teeth are moving and ensure everything is progressing the way it should be.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign can be an excellent option for many teen and adult patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. If your case is particularly complex or severe, it may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. In the event that a more traditional method of treatment would be more suitable for you, Dr. Carlson will discuss this with you during your consultation.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
There are quite a few benefits to be had with Invisalign! A lack of food restrictions can be a big one for many patients. In order to protect their appliance, braces patients must avoid a number of crunchy and chewy foods during treatment. While all the effort is definitely worth it in the end, it can be a pretty big learning curve!
Fortunately, removable aligners mean you can simply take it out whenever you eat or drink anything other than water, then put it back in when you’re done. This also makes dental hygiene easier. Braces can sometimes make brushing and flossing difficult and time-consuming, but Invisalign aligners are simply taken out before brushing and flossing as normal.
What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?
No matter what type of orthodontic appliance you have, your teeth will still remember their previous place in your mouth and begin drifting back there over time without something in place to stop them. This is why wearing a retainer is so important for every orthodontic patient! Once you’ve completed your Invisalign treatment, our office will provide you with a retainer. For the longest-lasting results, you should always wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Carlson!
Find your best smile with Invisalign and Surf City Smiles
Invisalign clear aligner therapy is our most popular alternative to braces for a reason! The system offers patients a discreet treatment option that is changing the way people think about orthodontic treatment all over the country. Would you like more information on how this exciting system can help you find your best smile? We’d love to meet you, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation and take the first step towards a better smile!
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