Invisalign clear aligners differ greatly from the familiar orthodontic treatment method of traditional metal or ceramic braces. For many years patients have used braces to correct a variety of orthodontic malocclusions, and have become familiar with the way they use brackets and elastics to slowly guide teeth into their designated place to create their dream smile outcome.
In order to understand how Invisalign successfully moves teeth, we first have to understand how clear aligners are created.
How Is Invisalign Made?
Invisalign is not a one size fits all treatment approach. If you or your child is interested in approaching treatment with clear aligners instead of braces, your orthodontist will first invite you for a consultation to ensure Invisalign is a proper fit. If you are a proper fit, this usually means you have a treatable case. While Invisalign is an extremely effective method of treatment, some severe malocclusions may be too complicated for clear aligners to handle or may require multiple methods to accurately treat. This is something an orthodontist will be able to diagnose and recommend alternative methods for.
After The Consultation
Once you have been deemed a good candidate, we’ll begin the process by taking iTero scans of your teeth and jaw. These scans have replaced the previous method of taking dental impressions, and consist of extremely accurate technology that allows us to see 3D scans of your teeth. These scans help us with creating a treatment plan that will target your exact needs, and work towards achieving your orthodontic goals in a time frame that suits you the best we can.
iTero scanning also shows us a semi-accurate projection of what your final outcome may be after treatment. This allows you to see a near-perfect replica of your new smile before you begin your treatment, so you can feel confident in us, the technology, the aligners, and yourself as you embark on your Invisalign journey.
Once we’ve collected all the data we need and finished discussing your treatment timeline and goals with you, we send these scans and any additional notes to a lab. This lab will create your aligners specific to our instructions, which ensures your treatment is entirely customized every step of the way. When your aligners are ready, we’ll call you to come in so we can show you how to take them out and put them back in properly. We’ll also make sure you’re completely comfortable and don’t have any lingering questions before we send you home to begin.
How Do Clear Aligners Move Teeth?
Because Invisalign is so curated to your needs and specific malocclusions, Invisalign moves teeth differently and at different paces for each individual patient.
In general, however, Invisalign works in a series, rather than with just one aligner. You will wear each set of your clear aligners for two weeks, or as otherwise recommended if your treatment calls for it. Your orthodontist will give you guidance for how long you should wear each set.
Once the two weeks are up, you’ll then switch to your next set. This set will be slightly more straight than the last, and will gently guide your teeth into proper form. If you have a gap that you’re trying to close, Invisalign will help move the teeth closer together in order to close the gap. If you have an overbite or underbite, your clear aligners will target these areas in particular, as outlined in your custom treatment plan.
Tips For Your Invisalign Treatment
Wear Them For 22 Hours a Day
Choosing to wear your clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day is an asset. This has the potential to expedite your treatment if you’re consistent, or at the very least, keep you exactly on track to finish on time.
Though it may not look like it, your teeth are always in flux. This means the new positioning of your smile may be difficult to maintain. Wearing your clear aligners as much as you can greatly increases your chances of avoiding a relapse in your treatment, like your teeth shifting to old positions and setting you back.
To be as safe as possible, try to only remove your clear aligners for eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing and flossing.
Maintain Your New Smile With a Retainer
Once your treatment has been completed, it’s time to protect the investment of time and money that you made, and retain your final product.
We’ll create a custom retainer for you to wear in the months following your treatment. After a period of time has passed, you can transition to only wearing the retainer at night to maintain your smile. This will help make sure nothing shifts, and make sure you can hold on to the new smile that you love!
Contact us here if you want to know more about Invisalign clear aligners.