Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment used to straighten teeth and align the bite. It is a relatively new technology in orthodontics that has been in use since the late 1990s. As an alternative to braces, Invisalign shifts the teeth using clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth, providing a discreet option for orthodontic treatment.
If you’re considering Invisalign, you may be wondering how it works. Here’s an explanation of Invisalign technology to help you understand how the treatment works and what to expect.
While braces have been an effective orthodontic treatment for centuries, some wondered if there was another way to straighten the teeth that would be less noticeable and more comfortable. A Stanford University student named Zia Chishti, while under her own orthodontic treatment, started to develop a different system using clear, removable aligners. The technology developed over time to the current Invisalign system available today.
Invisalign consists of a series of clear plastic aligners that fit snugly to the teeth. Each aligner is made with slight differences to gradually shift the teeth into the desired position. You wear each aligner for about 1 week, then switch to the next aligner in order until you have moved through the entire set and your teeth are correctly aligned. The shift in the teeth from one aligner to the next is subtle, making the treatment more gentle with less discomfort.
Benefits of Invisalign
Invisalign offers many benefits as an orthodontic treatment option:
- Discreet. The clear plastic aligners are virtually invisible on your teeth, making them hard to detect by anyone who doesn’t know you’re wearing them. You can straighten your teeth without a mouth full of metal.
- Comfortable. The smooth flexible plastic won’t irritate the soft tissues of your mouth the way metal brackets can. They also shift the teeth more gradually for less discomfort during treatment.
- Convenient. The aligners are removable, which is convenient when you want to eat and brush/floss your teeth. There are no food restrictions and no special tools required to brush or floss.
- Shorter treatment duration. On average, Invisalign treatment time is shorter than traditional braces, with an average of 6-18 months. Braces typically average about 2 years for treatment.
The Treatment Process
Here’s a step by step overview of the Invisalign process:
- Free Consultation with Evaluation. The first step in Invisalign treatment at Creekview Dental is a consultation. At this appointment we’ll talk with you about expectations for Invisalign treatment and if it would be a good option for you. We will also use our iTero digital scanner to do a digital scan to show you what your teeth might look like if they are moved. This will also help Dr Haag determine if your treatment goals can be accomplished with Invisalign. Most common orthodontic problems can be corrected with Invisalign, but some conditions are too severe and may need traditional braces to correct.
- Invisalign Records. Once it is determined that you are a candidate for Invisalign and you decide that you’d like to proceed with treatment, we’ll see you back for the additional photos and records needed by Invisalign. We send everything to them electronically and then Dr Haag works with them to create your treatment plan based on your goals.
- Creating the aligners. Once Dr Haag is happy with the Invisalign plan we tell them to make your aligners. They manufacture all of your aligners and then send them to our office.
- Wearing the aligners. At the next appointment we’ll prepare your teeth for the aligners, give you instructions for wear and care and usually give you the first 4 sets. It’s very important to wear them 20 – 22 hours a day in order to achieve the movement needed to progress through the aligners. Most patients change aligners weekly throughout the treatment duration.
Monitoring progress. You will have appointments to monitor your progress every 8 weeks or so depending on your needs.
- Retention. Once your treatment is complete and your teeth are in the desired position, we will give you retainers to maintain the new position of your teeth and keep them from shifting back. Initially you’ll wear them full time but after 3 months can taper off to wearing them when you sleep.
Creekview Dental Provides Invisalign Treatment
Invisalign treatment is simple and mostly computer designed. Dr Haag attended training by Invisalign and continues learning from them on a regular basis. That is why he is able to offer this treatment at our office without referring patients to an orthodontist. Having a dentist involved with your aligner treatment is critical to the success of the treatment. Creekview Dental offers Invisalign and Invisalign Teen treatment for patients who want to straighten their teeth in a comfortable, discreet way.
To learn more, call 651-738-8204 or contact us today to schedule an appointment.