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With the advances made in the field of orthodontics, more people than ever are straightening their teeth. What used to be reserved only for the elite has become more widely available, and these days any conversation about braces quickly moves to a discussion about the option to correct alignment using Invisalign®. Is it any wonder? Not only is Invisalign® practical and effective, it’s practically invisible!
How Does it Work?
Invisalign® technology uses the same principles as traditional braces, though they couldn’t look more different. Traditional braces use metal brackets cemented onto each tooth to straighten their alignment by applying pressure with an arch wire that connects each tooth. Consistent gentle pressure exerted on the tooth causes a slow breakdown of the bone on the opposing side. While bone is worn away on one side, the body is busy slowly reinforcing the bone on the other side of the tooth as it moves in the direction of the pressure. This amazing ability to erode and generate bone is made possible by a small ligament holding the tooth in place in the bone and transferring forces exerted from the braces into the bone.
Invisalign® applies the same principle by using gentle pressure from the aligners to slowly reposition teeth. Aligners are custom-made to fit your dental arches perfectly in order to achieve this effect.
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All services performed by a general dentist.
What You Want to Know About Invisalign®
The treatment involves using thin, clear aligners that vary slightly over time. Each new aligner in the system provides added pressure in different places until such time as ideal alignment is reached.
What is the Process to Begin Invisalign®?
If you are interested in Invisalign®, the first step is to meet with your dentist to discuss whether you are a candidate for the treatment. Mild and moderate alignment problems can be corrected effectively using the Invisalign® system, but severe cases still require traditional brackets and wires.
If your dentist agrees that you are a candidate, the next step will be to have a 3D digital scan of your mouth completed. This scan allows your dentist to show you the position of your teeth currently, and what the potential results could offer. This is done with photo simulation software. If you decide to go ahead with Invisalign®, those 3D images will provide all the information needed for an Invisalign® lab to create a series of aligners to make your potential alignment a daily reality.
How to Wear Aligners
Your dentist will direct you to begin by clipping your upper and lower aligners down over clean teeth – that’s all there is to getting started! You will wear these aligners for two weeks, or as directed by your physician, before changing to the next aligners in the series. At first, you’ll feel like you’re wearing your aligners all the time – because you are. Aligners should be worn a minimum of 22 hours per day. The only time that aligners should be removed is for eating and cleaning. Once the teeth are clean of any food particles or acidity, the aligners should be clicked back into place. This routine will become a natural part of your day before long.
What’s the Catch?
Oral hygiene is among the most important aspects of your treatment, so you should be sure that you are prepared to adhere to strict oral hygiene. Failing to clean teeth can lead to decay or the development of gingivitis over time, since the snug aligners will hold agitators against the teeth and restrict your body’s ability to flush the teeth with saliva. If you don’t adhere to a good hygiene regimen, your teeth could suffer damages, however, if you follow recommendations your overall health could improve. That is because most patients find it understandably monotonous to clean the teeth every time they snack or have a sweet drink and tend to snack less and less as they wear the aligners. Water often becomes the beverage of choice for Invisalign® wearers for the same reason.
Are They Truly Invisible?
Aligners are so transparent that others rarely notice them in place. They fit so closely to the teeth that even a side profile view doesn’t give away your secret. With this transparency comes increased risk for losing your aligners, however. Setting aligners on a napkin or table while you eat is not advisable, since they can easily be thrown away. Keep your carrying case with you at all times, and only place aligners in the case.
What can I Eat with Invisalign®?
Aside from their aesthetic benefit, Invisalign® has one other major benefit over metal braces: you can eat whatever you wish (as long as you brush your teeth afterward). With aligners, there is no worry about sticky or crunchy foods breaking brackets off teeth. While your aligners are in their tray, you can enjoy your favourite foods, and no metal wires means that cleaning the teeth is easy.
If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentists, contact our clinic today.