The Invisalign clear aligner system is a popular orthodontic option that offers patients a freedom and flexibility they simply can’t get with traditional braces. The concept behind using aligners to move the teeth is relatively simple as orthodontics go, but even so, treatment of any kind is a big commitment. When you make the decision to work towards a healthier smile with Invisalign, it’s exciting! But it can also feel a little overwhelming, particularly if you don’t know much about the system, or if you aren’t sure what to expect from the process. That’s where we come in!
Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics, it’s important to us that you feel fully confident in the trust you’ve placed in our practice. Orthodontics is most successful when you are a full partner in your treatment plan, and that’s why our expert team has put together this survival guide to Invisalign. Keep reading below to learn what the system actually is, how it works, and how you can get the most out of your clear aligners!
(Are you a good candidate for Invisalign? Click here to schedule a free consultation with us and find out!)
What is Invisalign?
While traditional braces use brackets, wires, and bands to move the teeth into more desirable positions, Invisalign utilizes a series of clear, removable aligners. These aligners are made of a special thermoplastic resin that is custom-designed to fit snugly and comfortably over your own teeth. Because they are removable and almost invisible, Invisalign aligners can be an excellent alternative to traditional braces for many patients.
How does the Invisalign system work?
Once Dr. Faja-Fernandez has determined that you’re a good fit for Invisalign, we’ll begin custom designing your aligners. This starts with a highly-detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums, which will help us map out a precise treatment plan that’s 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!
The Invisalign aligners are created from a special SmartTrack® material, which is strong but still comfortable. The total number of aligners worn during treatment varies from patient to patient, but on average, patients tend to need anywhere from 18-30 aligners. Treatment time also depends on each individual case, but in general, the process will normally be completed in 9-15 months. This could be longer or shorter depending on your specific case, of course!
As the patient, you play a big role in how successful your Invisalign treatment will be. Unlike braces, which are a fixed appliance, the Invisalign aligners are removable. That means it’s up to you to wear them exactly as Dr.Faja-Fernandez recommends. Aligners need to be worn for at least 20-22 hours each day, throughout the course of treatment, in order to get the best results. Ideally, you will only remove them to eat or drink anything other than water, or when you are brushing and flossing.
You’ll also need to switch your aligners out regularly to keep up with the movements your teeth are making. This will usually be every 1-2 weeks, depending on your personalized treatment plan. Regular check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process, just like with braces, so you can expect follow-up appointments at our Myrtle Beach office every 8-12 weeks or so.
Caring for your Invisalign aligners
Whether you’re an orthodontic patient or not, it’s important to keep your teeth and gums healthy. This is even more essential when you are in braces or wearing aligners. This is easy to achieve with Invisalign! 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 bad bacteria, so you’ll want to rinse your aligner every time you take it out. They can also be soaked in denture cleaner or with 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, as 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 are great for giving you sparkling teeth, but can dull aligners or create small openings for bacteria in them.
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 be a good fit for you and your smile!
Once your Invisalign treatment is complete
Even after you’ve used your last aligner, your teeth will still retain memories of their previous place in your mouth and begin drifting back towards those original positions over time. That’s why retainers are such an important part of the treatment process! Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, Dr. Faja-Fernandez will provide you with a retainer and advise you on how to wear it for long-lasting results. You should always this retainer as directed to help prevent any natural drifting and keep your newly straightened smile in place.
Invisalign is the clear choice for great smiles at Seabreeze Orthodontics
At Seabreeze Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to providing you with a rewarding orthodontic experience that is as stress-free as possible. Like anything new, the Invisalign system can take a little getting used to, but before you know it, it will be just one more part of your daily routine! Our expert team is always available to help if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan or the Invisalign system.
If you’re in Myrtle Beach 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 consultation and take the first step towards a beautiful smile using Invisalign aligners!