You’re considering braces to regain your beautiful smile, but all you can think about is those ugly metal brackets with wires and rubber bands. We have good news! There are now other orthodontic options available to you.
Advancements in dental technology and new innovative techniques now mean nearly invisible options for your teeth. In fact, over 14 million people, both adults and teens, have used one of those options: the Invisalign® system of clear aligners.
Before we get into answers to Invisalign FAQs, let’s learn more about what Invisalign is exactly.
What the Invisalign System Is
Invisalign exploded onto the orthodontic scene in the late 1990s. By 2001, the company was valued at over $1 billion, a testimony to its popularity as a nearly invisible and extremely effective orthodontic treatment. These customized, removable clear aligners can help straighten crowded teeth, crooked teeth, gapped and spaced teeth, as well as correct various types of bite problems.
For the Invisalign treatment, each client receives custom-made aligners every 2 weeks and the process lasts between 6 to 18 months. While wearing each set of aligners, the client’s teeth gently and slowly move according to the treatment plan created by the computer model for the client. The aligners are worn about 20 – 22 hours a day, and removed by the client only to eat and then brush and floss. Your dentist or orthodontist oversees the treatment plan to reach your goal of a great smile and healthier mouth.
If you have more questions about Invisalign, we’ve got you covered. Read on!
What is the Treatment Process for Invisalign Braces?
You will begin with an orthodontic consultation with your dentist where your smile will be evaluated. A digital treatment plan is then created that is precise and customized for your mouth. It will show you the step-by-step transformation of your smile as it is “under construction!”
A set of aligners is created for each step of the program. During each step, the aligners will slowly and gently shift your teeth into their new places, according to your treatment plan. In the end, you will have the beautiful smile you wanted!
How Do I Get the Aligners?
We take care of that for you. Each set of aligners is considered a prescription item, so we place the orders for you. Call us immediately if you lose or break an Invisalign aligner. We will work with you so you stay on track with your treatment plan. That may require wearing a previous set of aligners until you receive the replacement or going on to the next set. We will determine that based on where you are on the treatment plan.
Is Invisalign Treatment Painful?
As each set of aligners is changed, there may be some minor discomfort for a few days. This is a normal part of the process and indicates that the aligners are doing their job. If you experience anything other than this temporary pressure, call us to discuss options for pain relief.
Do I Really Need to Wear Aligners So Many Hours Every Day?
Yes! The purpose of the aligners being clear and nearly invisible in your mouth is to encourage you to wear them 20 – 22 hours a day. This is the only way they can work. The computerized model for your plan assumes you will wear them except when eating, brushing, and flossing. In this way, your teeth will be moving into your new smile as quickly as possible.
Will the Aligners Affect My Speech?
Good question! Some clients report that it takes a few days to feel comfortable with the aligner in their mouth. It may sound like a slight lisp until your mouth and tongue get used to the aligner in your mouth. After that, everything is back to normal. If this concerns you, talk to us!
Won’t I Have to Clean the Aligners?
Yes. You want the aligners to remain invisible to others so it’s important to keep them clean and avoid staining them. Invisalign has special cleaning tablets to use when you brush and rinse them in lukewarm water. After you eat, you should brush your teeth to keep up with good oral hygiene practices and remove any food residue that might stain the aligners when you put them back in.
Avoid using denture cleaners, scented soaps, mouthwashes, or toothpaste on your aligners. These products are too harsh for the aligner’s material.
Do I Have to Avoid Certain Foods?
No! You should be taking the aligners out while you eat, so that means you can enjoy all your favorite foods at meals. Just remember to brush and floss after you eat and before re-inserting the aligners.
This doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want while the aligners are in your mouth. Especially avoid sticky, chewy, crunchy, or hard foods. They will damage the aligners, leading to additional costs to replace them. Also, be mindful of foods that can stain your aligners if they are still in your mouth.
How Expensive Is Invisalign Treatment and Is It Covered by Insurance?
The cost of the Invisalign System is similar to the cost of any other kind of braces. Your dentist will work with you to determine the exact cost of your treatment. This will be based on the complexity of your case and how many aligners will be needed.
Check with your insurance carrier if you are considering Invisalign braces. Many plans cover the aligners up to a certain dollar amount or percentage of the overall plan. This is something we can help coordinate with your insurance company.
After My Invisalign Treatment Is Over, Will I Need a Retainer?
In almost all cases, yes. Any kind of braces calls for using a retainer after the treatment ends. This prevents the teeth from shifting back to their old positions. Each case is different, though, so we will evaluate if your case calls for the use of a retainer.
As a Top Invisalign Dentist, We Can Help You Get the Smile You Deserve!
Our dentists here at Wilmington Dental Associates are experienced in the Invisalign System and we want to help you create the most beautiful smile you can envision. We hope these Invisalign FAQs have addressed your major questions and concerns about clear aligners.
Your customized treatment plan may take less time and money than you thought. If you have more questions about Invisalign or any other dental treatments, we’re here to help. So, contact us today or set up a consultation so we can get started!