Clear aligner therapy with Invisalign
When we look in the mirror, we want to be happy with the teeth smiling back at us. In a perfect world, we would all be born with healthy teeth that are bright, white, well proportioned, and straight. Some of us are born with naturally straight teeth, but most of us are not. In fact, it is estimated that at any given time, up to 4 million Americans are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment in order to get straighter, healthier teeth. This used to mean one thing: braces. And even though braces do a great job of putting teeth into a more ideal alignment, there are some annoying downsides. It is more difficult to eat certain foods, plaque collects around the teeth more easily, flossing and brushing are much harder, and while you’re patiently waiting for your teeth to move into that perfect smile, you’ve got a mouth full of metal.
Until about 20 years ago or so, if a patient wanted straighter teeth, the only option was braces. But now dentist and orthodontists have another tool at their disposal: clear aligner therapy. Clear aligner therapy uses a series of thin, removable, custom-made aligners that fit right over your natural teeth to create a more ideal dentition. Companies like Invisalign have revolutionized the orthodontics world, giving patients the ability to have straighter smiles without putting up with two years of wires and brackets fixed to their teeth. Because aligners are removable, patients can brush and floss their teeth just like they already do every day. This means less of a risk for cavities and demineralization of the teeth that is common with traditional braces.
Aligners are worn 22 hours a day, and removed only when eating. After a week to two weeks of wear, the teeth have been gently moved enough that the patient can insert the next set of aligners, and little by little the teeth are more ideally positioned. Patients love clear aligner therapy for many reasons, but one of the best parts is, as the Invisalign name suggests, most people don’t even see the aligners. And unlike braces, there are no sharp areas poking into your cheeks and gums.
For patients interested in clear aligner therapy, the first appointment consists of a thorough exam and impressions, photographs, and x-rays if necessary. The impressions are then sent to Invisalign, where they are scanned into a computer and analyzed. After that, a simulated model is created that shows how your teeth will move from aligner to aligner, and how your teeth are likely to look once treatment is complete. After reviewing the simulation with Dr. Tommy or Dr. Liz, the aligners are manufactured through 3D-printing, and sent to the dental office. We will make sure the aligners fit perfectly, and we’ll see you at regularly scheduled intervals until your treatment is complete, and your teeth look and feel gorgeous and healthy. You won’t be able to stop smiling. Are your teeth crowded or crooked? Have the spaces in between your teeth always bothered you?