What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a visually appealing, non-metal alternative to braces that straightens teeth more hygienically and comfortably. It is used to achieve a better smile for patients who have moderate to mild misalignment. Invisalign also corrects crowding to make it easier to keep your teeth clean, and it can also align a bite, for better chewing. Invisalign could take as little as six months to see a noticeable change in your smile. It is a clear aligner that offers an unobtrusive alternative to traditional braces. With Invisalign treating over 9 million smiles and counting, we here at Compassionate Dentistry would love to help you get access to this technology.
The Invisalign Process
- Examination: During your first examination, we’ll discuss whether Invisalign is a treatment that you should consider and if you have any other dental conditions. Despite the success of Invisalign, it will not work for everyone. Braces are better for addressing more complex orthodontic problems. If this is the case, Dr. Riechers will walk you through other options. If you are a candidate for Invisalign, you’ll discuss the treatment expectations.
- Digital Records: The next step is to create an accurate model of your mouth and teeth. Digital scans and photographs are taken and a digital model is made, which is sent to the Invisalign laboratory to plan your smile. Dr. Riechers works with their technicians until they get the ideal outcome.
- Consultation: Now you can come in and see how your teeth are planned to move, and see the resulting smile. We can give you a fairly accurate estimate of treatment time and an exact cost. If you are happy with the results, we can have Invisalign start manufacturing your custom aligners!
- Tray Fitting: When your custom trays arrive, Dr. Riechers will ensure that they fit properly. In most cases, composite ‘buttons’ are placed on the teeth temporarily during the active treatment phase, to help the tray grab the teeth for more efficient movement. These attachments don’t hurt, they are the same color as your teeth, and they are easily removed when your treatment concludes.
- Follow-up Appointments: Dr. Riechers will check your tooth movements and tray fit. It is important to periodically check your progress. If your treatment is not progressing as planned, you may need a new digital scan so that a new set of aligners can be ordered.
- Show Off Your New Smile: After a period of time, your teeth will have straightened. This length of time depends on the severity of misalignment, but if worn as prescribed, you are guaranteed to see results.
Advantages of Invisalign
- Appearance. Invisalign retainers are practically invisible; they are able to move teeth without unsightly metal wires and painful brackets. Invisalign simply looks better than traditional braces. It is perfect for adults or self-conscious teens because people likely won’t notice you are having orthodontic treatment done. They are also quickly removed for special photo moments.
- You can take them out to eat. With traditional braces, you can’t take them out to eat. You typically wear Invisalign retainers for 22 hours a day, but you take them out to eat, meaning you can maintain your normal diet and eat hard, sticky, or chewy foods. With traditional braces, if you eat some of the previously mentioned foods, you could easily break the wire or a bracket. (Make sure you brush well afterward!)
- Easier to Brush and Floss. With traditional braces, you have to be more careful when brushing your teeth. You also to be more diligent with your brushing practices so plaque and decay don’t build up around your braces. With Invisalign, you just remove the retainers and brush and floss your teeth like normal.
- Fewer Appointments. Invisalign retainers often require fewer appointments than traditional braces. Appointments are usually every 4-6 weeks, where braces appointments are typically monthly, at a minimum.
- Comfort. Invisalign retainers are typically more comfortable than traditional braces because there are no metal wires or brackets.
Drawbacks of Invisalign
- Discipline. Patients have to be extremely disciplined and dedicated. As mentioned earlier, you have to wear Invisalign for 22 hours a day. If you don’t do this, the treatment might not produce the results you want.
- No Cost Savings. Invisalign can cost just as much as braces. You won’t notice much savings if you are looking at Invisalign instead of braces, based solely on financial reasons.
- Universality. Depending on the severity, Invisalign isn’t for everyone. That’s why it’s important to schedule a consultation to determine the best treatment for your teeth. Severe misalignment will need brackets and wires to treat.
- Easier to Lose. When you want to eat, brush, or floss you have to remove your Invisalign retainers. Invisalign retainers are easier to lose than traditional braces since braces can’t be taken out on your own. If you lose Invisalign retainers they take time to replace and will result in a longer treatment time.
Tips for After You Get Your Invisalign Aligners
- You will most likely experience some tooth discomfort with Invisalign, as the aligners are meant to push your teeth into an ideal position, but this discomfort is often less than with traditional braces. After you first get your aligners, you might notice you are speaking with a slight lisp, which typically resolves quickly with practice.
- Keep your teeth clean.
- Keep your trays clean and clear.
- Keep a retainer case handy for when you take your aligners off and bite on your chewies (rubber cylinders) when you put them back in so they fully seat on your teeth.
- Once you finish your Invisalign treatment, continue to wear a retainer as your teeth tend to want to shift back to their original position before Invisalign treatment. Retention is for life!
Invisalign costs are similar to that of traditional braces. The cost of Invisalign is between $3600-5500, depending on the complexity of the case. We here at Compassionate Dentistry accept Care Credit, which offers special 2-year interest-free financing, as well as accept insurance plans and offer a cash or check discount for those using a self-pay option.
Ready to get started on your journey to a better smile? Give us a call to schedule your free consultation today.