Here at Bluebird Orthodontics, we don’t take your trust in our team lightly. We know that choosing orthodontic treatment is a big decision, and an investment of both your time and finances. It’s important to us that you feel respected, understood, and confident in the treatment process from your first appointment to your last!
If you’ve recently decided that Invisalign is the right choice for you or your child, we want you to be fully prepared for the experience ahead. To make sure you start treatment off on the right foot, let’s explore what the Invisalign system actually is, how it works, and how you can get the best smile out of your clear aligners.
(Are you a good fit for Invisalign? Click here to find out with a free consultation!)
What is Invisalign?
There are two types of orthodontic appliances, fixed and removable. Traditional metal or ceramic braces are fixed appliances, which means the brackets are attached directly to the teeth and can only be removed by a trained professional. Invisalign aligners are removable orthodontic appliances. While they are made to snugly fit over the teeth, nothing is attached to the actual tooth surface. The underlying function is the same as braces, but aligners are able to achieve tooth movement without any brackets, wires, or bands.
Invisalign aligners have a simple design from the outside, but they’re made from a special thermoplastic resin that molds to your teeth for an exceptionally comfortable fit. Since they’re removable and nearly invisible, aligners offer a bit more freedom and flexibility than traditional braces are able to. This makes them a great option for patients who are looking for a discreet treatment that won’t interfere with their daily life!
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
In general, Invisalign tends to work best for teens and adults with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Complex or severe cases may require more precision than a removable aligner is able to achieve. When you schedule your free consultation with Dr. Frank, she will perform a thorough examination and determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you.
How does the Invisalign system work?
Once you decide to go ahead with treatment, our first step will be creating a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth. We use this to custom design your aligners and map out a precise treatment plan. The plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and will give us some indication of how long we expect treatment to take.
Since every patient responds to treatment in their own way, the total number of aligners needed will vary from case to case. Some patients may need as few as 12, while others might need many more. Treatment times will also vary, but the average tends to be somewhere between 5 and 15 months.
Because Invisalign aligners are removable and not fixed like braces, the system depends on you to be successful! Once you receive your aligners, you’ll need to wear them for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the treatment process. You’ll also need to switch them out at predetermined intervals, usually every 1-2 weeks. This allows the aligners to keep up with the movement of your teeth.
Just like a braces patient, regular check-ups will still be an essential part of your treatment process. We’ll schedule you for follow-up appointments every 4-8 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Frank will ensure that everything is progressing according to your treatment plan. It’s important not to skip these appointments! If something comes up and you can’t make it for any reason, get in touch as soon as possible and we’ll reschedule. This will keep your treatment on track.
Caring for your smile and your Invisalign aligners
Invisalign makes it simple to keep your mouth healthy as you straighten your smile! Simply remove your aligner, then brush and floss just like you normally would. It’s important to pay close attention to your oral health while you’re an orthodontic patient, so make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing every night before bed.
It’s just as easy to keep your aligners clean. Rinse them out any time you remove them, then soak them in denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep the trays clear and sanitized. You should always brush and floss your teeth before you put an aligner back in to keep harmful particles from getting trapped. If you want a deeper clean for your aligners, you can also brush them gently with a soft toothbrush or clean them with a clear antibacterial soap.
While Invisalign treatment is pretty flexible, there are still some things you should avoid to keep your aligners safe. This includes NOT doing any of the following:
- Eating or drinking anything but water while you’re wearing your aligners. Many foods and drinks can stain or discolor your aligners, and some may even cause odors.
- Using toothpaste to clean your aligners. The abrasive agents that make your teeth sparkle have the opposite effect on aligners. They can also create small traps for bacteria.
- Leaving your aligners unprotected when they’re not in your mouth, as this can expose them to harmful germs and bacteria.
- Soaking your aligners in any sort of mouthwash
- Putting them in heated liquid of any kind
What happens after Invisalign treatment is complete?
No matter what kind of orthodontic appliance you use, your teeth will always retain a memory of their previous place in your mouth. As you age, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those spaces. For this reason, retainers play a big role in the long-term success of your orthodontic treatment! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. You’ll need to wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Frank in order to maintain your newly straightened smile.
Straighten your smile with the Invisalign experts at Bluebird Orthodontics
Just like anything new in life, Invisalign aligners come with a little bit of a learning curve. Before you know it, though, they’ll be just one more part of your daily routine! If you have any questions about Invisalign or your treatment plan, we’re always happy to help walk you through it. We aim to provide you with a positive, stress-free experience from start to finish!
If you’re in Commack or the surrounding communities, and would like more information on how Invisalign can improve your smile, give us a call today and schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Dorie Frank.