We’re all familiar with traditional metal braces, which use wire and brackets to gradually pull misaligned teeth into a straighter position and better alignment. Invisalign clear aligners work with the same premise – but how?
How They’re Created
When you decide to pursue orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, your orthodontist will first ensure you get a completely custom fit for the best possible results. We use iTero scanning, or intraoral scanning, to create three-dimensional images of your teeth. This helps us document your oral malocclusions in detail, so we know exactly how to treat you!
Once we’ve finished your scans, we send all the information off to our preferred lab, along with detailed notes about your treatment plan and goals. From there, they’ll create your custom aligners specific to our instructions and the 3D images. Within a few weeks, your new aligners will arrive at our office, and we’ll show you all the ins and outs!
How Do They Straighten My Teeth?
Invisalign treatment is strategic and timed. Each aligner puts a gradual amount of pressure on your teeth in order to slowly and gently guide them into proper alignment. You’ll wear each set of aligners for about two weeks, before switching to a set that’s slightly straighter than the last. Think of each new aligner as it being your next phase of treatment.
You’ll continue this process throughout the entire length of your treatment until your final result is achieved. Don’t switch aligners too early, or wear the same set for too long, unless otherwise instructed to do so by your orthodontist.
How Do I Get Invisalign?
Many patients wonder if Invisalign is right for them. To determine this, we’ll bring you in for a consultation with one of our specialists. This is a great time for you to ask any questions, bring up any concerns, and gives us an opportunity to examine you to see if Invisalign would be a good fit.
During this consultation, we’ll discuss your goals, the Invisalign treatment process, the timeline, the cost, and whether or not this treatment path seems like a good fit for you. We’ll give you all the information you need and answer any questions so you can make an informed decision.
If you want to take the first step, or if you have any questions, please contact us here so we can assist.
Before Your Aligners Arrive
Depending on your unique case, you may need a few extra things in addition to wearing your clear aligners. Some patients require preparatory work before they begin treatment. Your orthodontist may place small composite patches on your teeth to help your aligners grip properly. These patches are attached to each individual tooth and are made of the same composite material used for fillings. Don’t worry – they come off at the end of your treatment and are painless and easy to remove.
When Your Aligners Arrive
The day has come! We’ll call you when we receive your clear aligners, and schedule an appointment for you to pick them up. When you come in for your appointment, we’ll show you how to properly put your aligners in, and how to properly remove them. This will help us make sure they fit properly, and that you feel comfortable with them before you’re left with them on your own during your day-to-day life.
We’ll also discuss how often you should wear them, what you should do in the event of an emergency, how to keep them clean and how often you should clean them, and answer any last questions you have. Once you feel comfortable with everything, we’ll officially begin your Invisalign treatment!
You can expect to wear your clear aligners from anywhere between 6 months and 2 years. This depends entirely on the severity of your case, and what you’re trying to fix.
We’ll be monitoring you along the way. While Invisalign treatment does come with fewer in-office check-ups than traditional braces do, we still want to make sure you’re on the right track, and your treatment is progressing as expected.
You may experience a little discomfort at first, and wearing your clear aligners for 22 hours a day may take some getting used to, or pose some difficulty – just know that’s completely normal! Some patients report their teeth feeling a little “loose” at the beginning of Invisalign – this just means they’re getting ready to shift into the smile goals we’ve set out to achieve!
Once you’ve finished your final set, or phase, of treatment, we’ll invite you in for a final check-in. Once we’ve concluded that your smile goals have been reached, we’ll use that same iTero scanning to create a custom retainer for you to wear. Your orthodontist will give you instructions for how often you need to wear it, and when – most patients need a retainer for a few months after Invisalign to be on the safe side. After that period of time, you can switch to just wearing it at night.
A retainer is necessary to protect your smile, all the hard work you’ve put in, and your investment. Congratulations on finishing your treatment!