Billed as “the clear alternative to braces,” Invisalign is a newer treatment alternative. It is nearly invisible, removable, and only needs to be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day. Invisalign works for both teens and adults, and is an excellent choice for many people. Yet you might not be sure what to expect, since Invisalign is very different from traditional braces.

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Invisalign or Braces?

Braces have been the treatment of choice for crooked or crowded teeth, as well as overbites and underbites, for many years. While they work well, they do have a number of drawbacks. Braces are made of metal, which can be irritating to the cheeks and gums. They must be worn 24 hours a day, making it tough to brush and floss your teeth, as well as to eat some foods.

Invisalign aligners are made of smooth plastic, so they are much less likely to cause irritation. In addition, they are easy to remove for eating, brushing, and flossing. They are almost invisible, removing any sense of self-consciousness or embarrassment. Invisalign also requires fewer visits to the dentist, with most patients only needing to be seen every 4 to 6 weeks.

For teens, the Invisalign Teen program offers several advantages. The aligners are made with sensors that let parents and the dentist know that they are being worn properly. In addition, Invisalign Teen offers six free aligner replacements in case they are lost or broken.

Invisalign at our office is generally 20-30% less than the same treatment at an orthodontist. Our doctors have over 15 years of experience working with and treating patients with Invisalign. Also, if you have orthodontic coverage your Invisalign treatment will be covered just the same way traditional braces are covered.

Getting Started

The personalized Invisalign experience begins with a customized treatment plan. Your dentist will take detailed information about your teeth, including impressions, photographs, and digital X-rays. He or she will then use Invisalign software to model how the treatment will change your teeth over time, and tell you how long your treatment will take. Most adults require about a year, while teens might take a bit longer.

You can switch to Invisalign if you already have braces, but the process is slightly different. Your braces have to come off before the dentist can take impressions of your teeth, and then it takes three to four weeks for your custom aligners to be prepared. In the meantime, you will receive a plastic retainer to wear to avoid letting your teeth slip out of place.

The First Few Days

When your first set of aligners arrives, your dentist will bond small tooth colored fasteners to your teeth to help the aligners fit properly. Many people experience a little bit of discomfort in the first few days as they learn to adapt to the fasteners. However, this discomfort is usually minimal compared to the pain of new wire braces, and lasts only a short time.

Daily Life

Living with Invisalign does not require many changes to your daily routine. If you want to eat braces-unfriendly foods such as popcorn or apples, just remove your aligner. You should also take it out to brush and floss your teeth. The biggest adjustment is remembering to put your aligner back in. If you are forgetful by nature, try setting a reminder on your phone every time you take out the aligner. Keep in mind that the more you remember to wear it, the better your smile will look when you’re finished.

Changing Aligners

You will change your aligners every two weeks through the treatment process. Each new set of aligners represents another step in your journey toward a great smile, so be sure to change the aligners on time. Most people don’t experience much, if any, discomfort with each new set of aligners, because they are made to fit the changing position of your teeth. You will check in with your dentist every four to six weeks, so be sure to let him or her know if you have any trouble.

Finishing Treatment

When your Invisalign treatment is over, you will not experience the same dramatic effect as people have when their braces are removed. Since Invisalign is almost invisible, you will have enjoyed monitoring your progress throughout your treatment, rather than seeing a big reveal at the end. However, you will be able to move on with confidence, knowing that you have a terrific smile.

In most cases your dentist will prescribe a retainer for you to wear after finishing treatment. If this happens, be sure to use it as recommended. It will prevent your teeth from shifting and undoing some of the effects of your Invisalign treatment.

Family Dental Care of Bellevue provides quality dental care to patients and their families. Call us today at 425-643-5778 to see how we can help improve your smile.

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