Everyone dreams of having a perfect smile. Unfortunately, a few crooked, crowded, or gapping teeth can affect your confidence. More than that, misaligned teeth can also put people at risk of very serious dental issues like tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw pain.
If your dentist has recently recommended that you or your teen consider options for better aligning your teeth, you may be wondering, Options? I thought there were only metal braces?! In 1997, Zia Chishti, invented a method that is now known as Invisalign. It has since revolutionized the orthodontic world with a less invasive, barely noticeable alternative for improving their smiles.
What Is Invisalign, And How Does It Work?
Invisalign is a system of clear plastic aligner trays used over a determined period to help straighten teeth. Based on a schedule decided by your dentist, you’ll upgrade to a new tray that slightly moves the position of your teeth to the desired position over time. To make the aligners, your dentist first creates a virtual impression of your teeth by utilizing advanced 3D computer-imaging technology. After the virtual image is completed, your dentist will be able to show you a comparison of what your teeth look like now and what they will look like after the Invisalign treatment. Using the model, your dentist will either print the aligners in-house or order them. Throughout treatment, you will visit your dentist so they can monitor your progress.
What Should You Know Before Getting Invisalign?
Suppose you have only heard the name Invisalign before and are a little curious to learn more about it; good for you. It’s vital to do your research before making a significant decision like adjusting your teeth. We’d be happy to help provide information and answers to your questions. Below are a few key things we like to educate our Invisalign candidate patients about before they proceed. If you are deciding whether Invisalign makes sense for you or your teen, consider the following:
Invisalign Works In Less Time Than Braces
For a typical patient, Invisalign results are seen quicker than those who choose the traditional route of metal braces. Invisalign saves a lot of time, including what is typically spent going to dental appointments for adjustments to braces! On average, a course of adjusting your teeth with Invisalign lasts about 6-18 months.
Invisalign is Discreet
If your teen is reluctant to wear metal braces for fear of being bullied, or you’re embarrassed to be seen in them as an adult with a professional career… fear not! Invisalign is a suitable alternative for many people in all sorts of chapters of their life. It is hard to detect, due to expert fitting, so people often don’t realize you are wearing anything. Many patients slowly build more confidence while wearing Invisalign, knowing their teeth are becoming more straight while being undetected by others.
Who is a Good Candidate for Invisalign?
Candidates for Invisalign come from a broad spectrum of the population. While there have been patients in their 80’s who’ve reaped the benefits of Invisalign, it is most typical that candidates are teens or adults. Satisfaction rates with Invisalign are very high at about 96%.
One of the most significant determinants of whether or not someone is an ideal Invisalign candidate is as much about whether they will wear their aligners as recommended as it is about anything else! Taking them out for too long can defeat the purpose. Aligner trays should be worn for at least 22 hours a day.
It is essential to know that Invisalign is recommended for people with mild to moderate issues such as underbites, overbites, gaps between teeth, and crowding. People with more severe cases can benefit from other options and may need teeth pulled. The best way to understand if you are a candidate is to schedule an Invisalign consultation with your dentist.
Invisalign is a viable method for aligning teeth and improving bites. Many patients prefer the clear aligner trays over metal braces due to Invisalign being:
- Nearly invisible to the eye
- More comfortable than sharp braces, which can cut up your cheeks
- Able to provide faster results than traditional braces
- Easy to upgrade to your next aligner tray at home and possibility minimizing visits to your dentist
- Removable for short periods, allowing you to:
- Eat more easily
- Smile more naturally for photos being taken
- Brush your teeth more thoroughly (this eliminates the risk of discolored squares on your teeth that braces can sometimes lead to)
- Clean your aligner trays meticulously and prevent cavities
What Should You Know While Wearing Invisalign?
Once you’ve started using Invisalign, you’ll find that the maintenance is very manageable. Your dentist will provide you with information on how to continue your oral healthcare and best practices for your aligner trays. The following is imperative to having a successful treatment and taking care of your teeth during Invisalign:
- Continue to floss, brush, and rinse your teeth twice a day
- Change your trays when recommended
- Do not go back to using an old tray if something happens to your current one; contact your dentist
- Clean your trays as instructed by your dentist
- Remove your aligner trays before eating and cleaning your teeth
- Do not take your Invisalign trays off for longer than 2 hours a day
Can Straightening Your Teeth with Invisalign Improve Your Health?
Straightening your teeth with Invisalign is an excellent option for anybody looking to fix their smile, but did you also know that having straighter teeth can help with your overall health? The ADA has reported that having straight teeth can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
How Does Having Straight Teeth Impact Your Overall Health?
The simple answer is that straight teeth are much easier to keep clean than crooked teeth. When a person has misaligned teeth, it becomes harder to remove plaque and bacteria buildup, leading to gum infections and disease. By straightening your teeth with Invisalign, you will have healthier gums, improved hygiene, and less wear on your teeth because you will be able to brush and floss easier around your teeth and reduce the stress on your jawbone and joints.
How do Misaligned Teeth Impact Your Overall Health?
The problem with misaligned teeth goes way beyond just a cosmetic issue, poorly aligned teeth can cause the following issues in just your mouth:
- Receding gum
- Gum disease
- Indentations at the gum line
- Cold sensitivity
- Chipped or fractured teeth
- Tooth loss
And if left untreated, severe gum infections can increase the risk of:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Pregnancy complications
While these may seem a bit dramatic, the cause of these health problems can be traced back to the following occurrences:
- Bacteria forms under the gums, specifically in areas that are hard to clean, like misaligned teeth
- Bacteria triggers an inflammatory response from your body
- Your immune system fights the inflammatory reaction with white blood cells
- The combination of your immune response, plaque, and bacteria can lead to the hardening of arteries which can lead to heart disease and stroke
While it is not the only thing that you need to do to lead a healthier life, having straight teeth and practicing proper dental hygiene can help eliminate the bacteria that forms in your mouth and prevent it from entering the rest of your body. Invisalign can help you quickly and discreetly take that first step toward living a happier, healthier life.