If you’ve ever wanted straighter teeth, but weren’t willing to go through the embarrassment of wearing traditional metal braces to achieve that, you should know that there are alternatives available to dental patients from Austin, Texas and throughout the US. Clear plastic aligners are now recommended for many people who want a straighter smile without having to wear conventional braces. One of the most popular choices is the Invisalign® method. This treatment has been shown to work quite well for many people and offers several advantages over metal braces. We’ve compiled the information in this article to let you know what you can expect with Invisalign® before and after, as well as during the treatment period.
The First Step in the Invisalign® Process
The process begins with a consultation visit to your dentist. While there’s no doubt that clear plastic aligners work well for many patients, they might not be the right choice for everyone. Your dentist can help you decide if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign®. Generally speaking, this type of treatment works well for people who have problems such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, gapped teeth and crowded teeth. But if you have more severe problems, your dentist may recommend another teeth-straightening method, such as traditional metal braces. Your dentist will also make sure that you are in good oral health before beginning the Invisalign® process. So if you have other issues — such as gum disease or tooth decay, for example – you’ll need to have those problems resolved before starting the Invisalign® treatment.
A Customized Treatment Plan
The next step in the process involves your dentist creating a customized treatment plan just for you. That involves having digital X-rays and impressions made of your teeth. Using this information, your dentist can predict how your teeth will shift into their new, straighter positions over the course of the next several months. He or she will also be able to estimate how long your Invisalign® treatment will take. Many people complete their treatment in a time period ranging from 6 to 18 months, with most patients needing to wear their aligners for 12 months on average. Your dentist will then forward your X-rays, digital photos and impressions to the Invisalign® lab, where your custom-made plastic aligner trays will be created.
Your Initial Set of Aligners
After your first set of aligners are ready, you’ll visit your dentist to receive them, make sure they fit properly, and learn how to remove them and insert them back into your mouth safely. Your dentist will also provide fasteners to help hold your aligners in place. These fasteners are temporarily bonded to your teeth and allow you to easily clip your aligners in place. Since you can remove your aligner trays for eating meals and performing daily oral hygiene, it’s important that you know how to remove them and reinsert them properly. You’ll wear this first set of aligners for a couple of weeks, after which your dentist will provide your next set. With each new set of aligners, your teeth continue to get straighter and straighter. Although Invisalign® trays are considered to be much more comfortable than metal braces, you should be prepared to experience some discomfort for a few days after you begin to wear each new set of aligners. This is totally normal, since your teeth are shifting positions inside your mouth.
Your Daily Routine with Invisalign®
In addition to the fact that the clear plastic aligner trays are virtually invisible (unlike metal braces, which are very obvious), one of the biggest advantages of the Invisalign® treatment method is that you can remove your aligners to eat meals and brush and floss your teeth. That means that you are free to eat whatever foods you’d like, and it’s much easier to maintain your regular oral hygiene routine than it would be with traditional braces. But you’ll need to wear your aligners for the recommended period of time each day – which is 20 hours at a minimum, with 22 hours a day being the optimum time. That means you’ll have to wear them while you sleep. Every two weeks or so, when you receive your new set of aligners, you simply replace them yourself without having to visit your dentist. But you should be prepared for regular dental visits throughout the course of your treatment, although not as often as you would with traditional braces. Most dentists want their Invisalign® patients to schedule visits every 6 weeks or so in order to monitor their progress.
Watching Your Teeth Change in Position
Because the Invisalign® method utilizes clear plastic aligners, it’s much easier to actually see how your teeth are gradually becoming straighter over time (as opposed to metal braces, for example, which not only take longer but are obscured from view by the metal brackets and wires). Many patients are thrilled to actually see these changes happening, although it’s important to remember that even though the Invisalign® method usually takes less time to complete than traditional braces, it does still take several months before the treatment is finished.
After Your Invisalign® Treatment Is Complete
After you’re done wearing your final set of aligner trays, your dentist will remove the fasteners from your teeth and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of a straighter, more attractive smile. And those benefits should not be underestimated. In fact, many studies conducted over the past few years have shown that a more attractive smile boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem. It even helps other people to see you in a more positive light!
Your Austin, Texas dentist can provide you with more information about what you can expect with Invisalign® before and after, as well as during the treatment period. So contact your dentist today to schedule your appointment. A straighter smile – and all the benefits that go along with it – can be yours in a matter of months with this revolutionary dental technology.