Survival Guide: Invisalign

As the most popular alternative to traditional braces we have right now, Invisalign is on its way to becoming a household name. This exciting treatment option offers patients the same beautiful results as braces without using any brackets, wires, or bands. The freedom and flexibility the aligners allow simply isn’t available with other methods of treatment, making Invisalign especially attractive to teen and adult patients.

Taking the first step towards achieving the straighter smile you’ve always wanted is really exciting, but it can also feel a little overwhelming, particularly if you don’t know much about the system or what to expect from the process. At Seabreeze Orthodontics, it’s important to us that you feel confident in your decision to pursue treatment with our practice. To learn more about what Invisalign actually is, how it works, and how clear aligners can give you a beautiful smile, keep reading below!

What is Invisalign?

Traditional braces use brackets, wires, and bands to move the teeth into more desirable positions. They are a fixed appliance, meaning the brackets are affixed directly to the teeth and can only be removed by an orthodontist. In contrast, Invisalign utilizes a series of removable clear 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 nearly invisible, Invisalign aligners can be an excellent alternative to traditional braces.

Seabreeze assistant working on a patient's teeth. Survival Guide: Invisalign

How does the Invisalign clear aligner system work?

Dr. Faja-Fernandez will first need to examine your mouth to determine if you are a good fit for Invisalign. If you are, we can begin the process of custom designing your aligners. Using a highly-detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums, we’ll map out a precise treatment plan that’s personalized just for you. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and will also give us an indication of how long we expect treatment to take.

The aligners themselves are created from a special SmartTrack® material, which is strong but still fits comfortably over your own teeth. Because each patient responds to treatment in their own way, the total number of aligners required will vary from case to case. On average, however, patients tend to need anywhere from 18-30 aligners over the course of their treatment. Treatment times will also vary depending on your specific needs, but in general, the process can take anywhere from 9-15 months. Keep in mind, however, that this could be longer or shorter depending on your particular case.

Patient compliance plays a big role in how successful your Invisalign treatment will be! Because the Invisalign aligners are removable, it’s up to you to wear them exactly as directed by your doctor. To work properly and produce the best results, aligners must be worn for at least 20-22 hours every day throughout treatment. You should only remove them to eat or drink anything other than water, or when you are brushing and flossing.

Aligners will need to be switched out for the next in the series at predetermined intervals 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 also part of the treatment process, just like they are with braces. You can expect follow-up appointments with us every 6-10 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Faja-Fernandez will check to be sure everything is proceeding the way it should, so it’s important not to miss them!

Caring for Invisalign aligners

Whether you’re an orthodontic patient or not, it’s important to keep your teeth and gums healthy. While this can sometimes be frustrating and time-consuming when you’re wearing braces, it couldn’t be easier 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.

It’s important to take care of your aligners, too. Dried saliva and plaque breed bacteria, so you should rinse your aligner every time you take it out. To keep the trays clear and sanitized, you can soak them in denture cleaner or with special Invisalign cleaning crystals. Brushing your aligners is another option, just be sure to do so gently and carefully. Brushing too hard can scratch your aligners and leave visible etchings.

You never need to use toothpaste to clean your aligners. In fact, this can damage the material. Many toothpaste brands have abrasive agents that are great for giving you sparkling teeth, but can actually dull aligners or create small openings for bacteria to grow in them.

Who are 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 Myrtle Beach office, we’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is likely to be a good fit for you and your smile.

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Whatever treatment method you choose, your teeth will always retain memories of their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they’ll naturally begin drifting back towards those original positions. This is why retainers are such an important part of the complete treatment process! Once you’ve finished the active phase of Invisalign treatment, Dr. Faja-Fernandez will provide you with a retainer and advise you on how to wear it for long-lasting results. Wearing your retainer as directed will help prevent any natural drifting and keep your newly straightened smile in place!

Dr. Juan working on a patient's teeth

Choose Invisalign for your best smile at Seabreeze Orthodontics

Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics, we’re all about providing patients with an orthodontic experience that’s as positive and stress-free as possible. While the Invisalign system can take a little getting used to, the aligners will be just one more part of your daily routine before you know it!

Remember that if you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan or the Invisalign system, our talented team is always available to help. For more information on how Invisalign could benefit your smile, give us a call today to schedule a FREE consultation and take the first step towards a healthier, straighter smile!