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Introducing Invisalign® – Clear Braces
Braces are a big deal for dentists in Concord, CA, and a general orthodontic procedure at Willow Pass Dental Care in Concord, CA, and millions of Americans.
Braces are virtually a rite of passage for countless children and teenagers in the United States, but they are also popular for adults. However, traditional metal braces aren’t hip anymore. They are considered too fussy, uncomfortable, and downright unattractive.
Welcome to the new standard in orthodontic treatment — clear braces by Invisalign®.
As the name implies, clear braces are the aesthetic solution to the issue of fussy and visually unappealing conventional braces.
Also referred to as clear aligners, clear braces are virtually invisible to the naked eye and allow orthodontic patients to live the life they want to with minimal disturbance or interference.
What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® is an orthodontic dental treatment that aids in the straightening and alignment of teeth.
They have become much more popular than conventional braces though they have not had an extensive history as that of metal braces. During the 18th and 19th centuries, dentistry made significant advancements with orthodontic appliances like mouth guards and braces.
In the early 1800s, conventional metal braces were officially on the market, and they worked in much of the same ways as they do now. However, in the late 1900s, clear aligners began to take shape in the dental field, and by the early 2000s, Invisalign® Clear Aligners were ready to be used by dentists for their patients. They were created as an alternative to bulky and inconvenient metal braces.
Invisalign® Clear Braces
What makes Invisalign unique is its ability to show the same results as metal braces but in a quicker amount of time and with a more aesthetic appeal for the person wearing them. In addition, invisalign® clear aligners are precise as they sound.
Invisalign® Clear Aligners are a clear orthodontic appliance placed over the teeth much like a mouth guard to gently pull the teeth into their proper positions over a series of months. They are custom-made to fit each individual perfectly, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” for the consumer. Instead, their clear design is more appealing to most patients who want to keep their smile and confidence that metal brackets and wires would take away.
Invisalign® is more attractive and comfortable for the patient and takes half the time to complete, unlike metal braces.
What is Invisalign® Made Of?
Invisalign® clear aligners are made from a transparent medical grade polyurethane resin, also known as a BPA-free plastic, so there is no fear of ingesting any toxic materials or chemicals. In addition, this material is strong enough to shift your teeth into the proper position while not being bulky or uncomfortable and almost entirely unnoticeable.
As long as Invisalign® clear aligners are used correctly, there is no need to worry about any major or even minor side effects or issues.
It is important to note that this material is essentially made-to-order, so it is essential to let your dentist know what you are looking to get out of tooth movement so they can properly create your Invisalign® trays.
Who Benefits from Invisalign®?
Traditional metal braces are often associated with high schoolers because you don’t often see many people wearing braces once they reach adulthood.
Because tooth alignment is essential for your oral health, Invisalign is an excellent alternative. Whether you are a teenager or an adult, you can wear Invisalign® as long as you need help with one of the following tooth alignment needs:
- Closing the gaps that have formed between teeth
- Moving your teeth to fix overcrowding
- Treating an underbite, overbite, or crossbite
Once you are properly examined, and the correct steps are taken, your dentist will be able to decide if an Invisalign® Clear Aligner is best for your situation.
How Does Invisalign® Work?
Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign® offers a much more user-friendly approach for the person wearing them.
Instead of using a fixed wire to pull the teeth into their proper alignment, Invisalign® is a series of custom-made molds that you will switch out and wear over several months until your teeth are in their correct and approved positions.
These clear aligners are made using computer-generated technology, so each new mold created for you fits precisely to optimize tooth movement.
Prepping for Invisalign®
Before receiving your Invisalign® trays from your dentist, you need to take part in a series of examinations to make sure your new clear aligners fit your specific needs.
1. The dentist will exam your teeth.
Your dentist will perform a dental exam to examine your teeth to see their placement and determine where they should be moved in your mouth.
Your dentist will be looking for any of the following to see if you are a candidate for Invisalign®:
- Overbite, underbite, or crossbite
- Gaps between the teeth
If your situation is more severe, you may require conventional metal braces and won’t be eligible for the Invisalign® clear aligner.
2. X-rays will be taken of your mouth.
Once the initial exam is done, your dentist will take x-rays of your mouth.
An x-ray is the only time a dentist or orthodontist will be able to see the roots of your teeth, which helps in deciding the most accurate plan to align your teeth correctly.
3. Dentist will take an impression of your mouth.
Next, it is time to take an impression of your mouth. This can be done using two different methods:
- A traditional method is used in which a material called polyvinylsiloxane (PVS) is used with an impression tray to record, with great detail, your teeth within the arch of your mouth. Then, the dentist will use this information to fabricate the Invisalign® clear aligners.
- The best method is a digital intraoral scanner that the dentist will use to record a digitized visual of the teeth in your mouth.A digital 3D model of your teeth will be the final step in establishing a treatment plan. It will provide the most detailed look into your mouth so the manufacturers and dental professionals can create a perfectly individualized set of Invisalign® trays for your treatment plan.The scanning software ensures that your Invisalign® is tailored specifically for you, from the tooth movement to the correct gum line.
4. A series of pictures of your teeth will be taken.
Finally, the dentist will take a series of pictures of your teeth. Once all of the pieces are collected, the dentist will electronically submit them to the Invisalign® laboratory so the customized aligners can be crafted.
Keep in mind that after the initial steps are taken, your dentist will have a clear idea of how the aligners will work overtime. The 3D scanning will also give you a detailed idea of how your teeth will move throughout the treatment plan.
Using The Clear Aligner
Once your clear aligners are sent to the dental office, the front office staff will make an appointment for you to try your new clear aligners.
At that appointment, your dentist will check the fit and make any adjustments that may be necessary.
Remember that while the fit needs to be precise, it is supposed to have a little discomfort since the tray is trying to move your teeth little by little. After you are given your first set of clear aligners, you will need to wear them all day, every day.
The only time you can remove your Invisalign® is when you are eating, brushing, and flossing your teeth. Even though your Invisalign isn’t as bulky and uncomfortable as traditional metal braces, they still pull your teeth, causing a layer of discomfort. This discomfort can cause people to want to remove them more often, but you must keep them on for at least 22 hours of the day.
Once given your Invisalign® trays, you will wear the set every day, all day, for two weeks.
You will switch to a new set of aligners at each bi-weekly interval. Each time you put on a new set of clear aligners, it will fit tightly over your teeth because each new set is a specifically designed movement to gently push your teeth in the right direction.
After a few days, your teeth will begin to move into the next position, and the clear aligner may even start to feel loose or not as tight as before.
Keep in mind that Invisalign® clear aligners are made for gradual tooth movement. You do not want to speed the process along because that could be detrimental to the health of your existing teeth. If you feel that the aligner is too loose, wait them out for the entire two weeks before switching to the next set. Changing too early can negatively affect your complete treatment plan.
After six weeks have gone by, you will have a new dental checkup with your dentist for your aligners and see the overall progress that you are making. At these dental checkups, your dentist will be able to determine if any adjustments need to be made to either the aligners or the actual plan. This process will continue in this pattern until the entire plan is completed and the results are met.
Clear Aligners vs Braces
What are clear aligners?
Clear aligners, like Invisalign®, have taken the dental world by storm with their aesthetically appealing way of adjusting an individual’s teeth.
Clear aligners are plastic and transparent dental braces that adjust an individual’s teeth. When created, the clear aligner is customizable to fit each individual perfectly, creating pressure and moving the patient’s teeth to their appropriate position.
As the patient’s treatment regimen continues, the clear aligners shift until the teeth are realigned to the desired result.
What are braces?
Dental braces are orthodontic devices used to align, straighten, and correct an individual’s teeth based on their bite, gap, and current tooth position.
There are three different types of braces:
- Conventional braces that use metal strips and/or bands
- Lingual braces are brackets that attach to the back of the person’s teeth
- Brackets cemented/bonded to teeth that are made out of metal or plastic
Braces work by moving your teeth under constant pressure as your jaw begins to adapt to its new location. The first few days after getting braces and getting them tightened are the most uncomfortable because the pressure is new.
Advantages of Clear Aligners
Individuals are required to remove their aligners when they eat, allowing them to not have any change in their diet. Braces force you to no longer eat hard or sticky foods during their wear.
Because clear aligners are removable, they can be taken out so you can easily brush and floss your teeth. Braces require more care; cleaning them incorrectly could damage the metal.
Provide more comfort:
Braces can rub against your cheeks and lips, causing discomfort, but clear aligners provide no discomfort on those inner parts of your mouth, although they may be uncomfortable as the teeth move.
Clear aligners are clear, making them relatively invisible to the general public. On the other hand, braces are metal and easily visible to everyone.
Advantages of Braces
Braces can be used in all cases.
Braces can be used for every single treatment option for tooth correction. On the other hand, Aligners can only treat most, not all.
There is a variety
Braces come in all types of metal options. You can get braces with or without color, and you can even get porcelain braces that don’t show as much as metal.
Better chance of working
Clear aligners need to be worn, usually 22 hours a day, and often people may forget to wear them because they are so easy to remove. In addition, braces are fixed to your teeth, so you cannot lose them or forget to wear them, ensuring optimal results.
Length of Wear
Braces will usually take longer for adults to completely realign their teeth than if you began the process when younger. It is important to note that the hygiene, eating habits, and regular visits you maintain also affect the length of time you need to wear the braces.
On average, the orthodontic treatment can take between 16-18 months and, in some more severe cases, be as long as 24 – 48 months or more.
On average, clear aligner treatment can range from 12 to 18 months. However, you may only need them for as little as six months in some cases.
Since clear aligners are removable, your orthodontist will require you to wear the clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day.
Failure to wear your clear aligner for the desired amount of time each day can set back the progress of tooth alignment.
Do I Need Braces or Clear Aligners?
We often see that older adults want to use clear aligners because they work better for their specific circumstances. In addition, they are virtually invisible, which is exceptionally appealing to those who worry about their appearance or perception while wearing braces.
Braces are usually more effective when adjusting teeth that have severe overcrowding and require a more intense movement. In addition, braces are more cost-effective than aligners, and because no one can remove them but an orthodontist, you do not have to worry about losing them.
Your orthodontist will be sure to go over all of your options to meet your preferred situation.