As an innovative treatment option, the Invisalign clear aligner system offers patients a freedom and flexibility that traditional braces aren’t able to. Using aligners to move the teeth is a relatively simple concept as orthodontics go, but even so, orthodontic treatment of any kind is a big commitment. Starting the journey towards a healthier smile with Invisalign is exciting, but it’s also normal to feel a little unsure about what to expect from the process.
That’s where we come in! Here at Kaplan Orthodontics, we want you to feel fully confident in the trust you’ve placed in our practice. Orthodontics always works best when you are a full partner in your treatment plan, so our expert team has put together this survival guide to Invisalign to help you better understand what the system actually is, how it works, and how you can get the most out of your clear aligners. Keep reading below to learn more!
(Are you a good candidate for Invisalign? Click here to schedule a free consultation with us and find out!)
What is Invisalign?
Instead of the brackets, wires, and bands that traditional braces use, Invisalign utilizes a series of clear, removable aligners to move your teeth into alignment. The aligners are made of a special thermoplastic resin that is custom-designed to fit snugly and comfortably over your own teeth. Because the aligners are removable and almost invisible, they can be an excellent alternative to traditional braces for many patients.
How does the Invisalign system work?
Once Dr. Kaplan has determined that Invisalign is a good fit for your smile, we will begin custom designing your aligners. A highly-detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums to map out a precise treatment plan that’s been personalized just for you. This plan includes the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and can also be used to give us an indication of how long treatment is likely to take. We may even be able to give you a sneak peek of what your smile will look like once treatment is complete!
Invisalign aligners are created from a special SmartTrack® material, which is durable while still offering a comfortable fit for you. While the total number of aligners worn during treatment varies from patient to patient, the average tends to be anywhere from 18-30 aligners. Treatment time also depends on the individual case, but in general, most patients complete the process in 9-15 months. This could be longer or shorter depending on your specific case, of course.
As the patient, you play a big part in the success of the Invisalign treatment process. Because the aligners are removable, and not a fixed appliance like braces, it’s up to you to wear them exactly as Dr. Kaplan directs you. That means keeping your aligners in for 20-22 hours each day, throughout the course of treatment, in order to get the best results.
You’ll also need to switch your aligners out regularly, based on your personalized treatment plan. This will usually be every one to two weeks, in order to keep up with the movement of your teeth. Regular check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process, just like with braces, so you can expect to be scheduled for follow-up appointments at our office every 8-12 weeks or so.
Maintaining an oral hygiene routine with Invisalign
Keeping the teeth and gums healthy is important for everyone, whether you’re an orthodontic patient or not. However, being in braces or aligners makes it even more essential. With Invisalign, this is incredibly easy to do! Simply remove the aligner before brushing and flossing the way you normally would. We recommend that all of our orthodontic patients brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss every night before bed.
Keeping your aligners clean is important, too. Dried saliva and plaque can breed bacteria, so rinse them every time you remove them. You can also soak them in denture cleaner or special Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep the trays clear and sanitized. Brushing your aligners is another option, but be sure to do so gently and carefully. Brushing too hard can scratch your aligners and leave visible etchings. Don’t use any toothpaste when cleaning your aligners! Many brands have abrasive agents that can dull them or create small openings for bacteria.
The best candidates for Invisalign
Invisalign can be a great option for many of the most common orthodontic issues in teens and adults. For cases that are more severe or complex, we may recommend other treatment methods. When you schedule a free consultation with our office, we’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is likely to work well for you and your smile!
Once Invisalign treatment is complete
The active phase of your orthodontic treatment isn’t the only phase. Even after you’re done with aligners, your teeth will still retain memories of their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they’ll begin drifting back towards those original positions. That’s why retainers are such an important part of the treatment process! Dr. Kaplan will provide you with a retainer, and you should always wear it as directed to help prevent any natural drifting and keep your newly straightened smile in place.
Invisalign is the clear choice at Kaplan Orthodontics
At Kaplan Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing you with an orthodontic experience that is as rewarding and stress-free as possible! Like anything new, the Invisalign system can take a little getting used to. But before you know it, they’ll be just one more part of your daily routine. Our expert team is also available to help if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan.
If you’re in Dunwoody or any of the surrounding communities, we’d love to meet you and share more about how Invisalign can change your smile. Give us a call today to schedule a FREE exam and take the first step towards a beautiful smile using Invisalign aligners!