There have been many amazing changes in the orthodontic field in recent years, from incredible advances in technology to innovative new treatment options. Here at Shine Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer one such option in the form of Invisalign clear aligner therapy! For patients who want to improve their smile but are on the fence about traditional braces, Invisalign can be an excellent alternative. The clear aligner system offers patients the same beautiful results as braces without having to use any brackets, wires, or bands! But what exactly is Invisalign? How does it work? Let’s take a closer look!
What is Invisalign?
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, we use both fixed and removable appliances. Because braces are attached directly to the teeth and can only be removed by an orthodontic professional, they are known as a fixed appliance. Invisalign aligners, on the other hand, are removable appliances. While the aligners are custom-designed to fit over your own teeth snugly, no part of them is attached directly to the teeth.
Although they look very different, Invisalign uses a series of these removable aligners to shift your teeth in much the same way brackets and wires do. The design may appear to be relatively simple, but don’t let that fool you! Aligners are made of a special type of thermoplastic resin that is strong enough to shift your teeth into more optimal positions. In order to do so, the aligners are switched out at predetermined intervals throughout the treatment process to keep your teeth moving according to Dr. McGrogan prescribed plan.
How does Invisalign work?
Once Dr. McGrogan has determined that Invisalign is a good fit for your smile, we’ll begin mapping out a precise treatment plan using a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make. It’s actually fine-tuned to fractions of millimeters, so it’s incredibly accurate! It will also give us an indication of how long we expect your treatment to take.
This scan is then used to create your custom aligners. These are made from Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material, which is both comfortable and durable. Every patient responds to treatment in their own way, so the total number of aligners needed throughout the process will vary from case to case. However, the average is usually somewhere between 10 and 48, with the total treatment time averaging anywhere from 5 to 18 months.
You play an essential role in how successful your Invisalign treatment will be! Because the aligners are removable, it’s up to you to wear them as directed by Dr. McGrogan. In order for the system to work, aligners need to be worn for 20-22 hours daily, throughout the course of treatment. You’ll also need to be vigilant about changing your aligners out for the next in the series. While the exact timing will depend on your personalized treatment plan, this generally happens every 1-2 weeks.
As with braces, regular check-ups are an important part of the treatment process. You’ll be scheduled for appointments in our Holly Springs office every 6-10 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. McGrogan will check that everything is progressing as it should be according to your treatment plan. This is necessary to keep your teeth moving on schedule, so do your best not to miss any!
What advantages does Invisalign have over braces?
Invisalign’s removable aligners allows patients a freedom and flexibility that more traditional treatment methods just can’t match! One example of this is food restrictions. Many people who have worn braces will tell you that having to give up some of their favorite foods was one of the hardest parts of treatment. In order to protect the wires and brackets, patients in braces must steer clear of anything crunchy or chewy, which eliminates several foods and snacks. This is no problem for Invisalign patients, thanks to the removable aligners. You simply take them out any time you want to eat, then put them back in when you’re done. No food restrictions certainly makes orthodontic treatment a lot more fun!
Removable aligners make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, too. The wires, brackets, and bands that accompany traditional braces can make brushing and flossing a difficult and time-consuming task. With Invisalign, aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Cleaning the aligners themselves is a cinch, too! There are special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
Removable aligners can also be a bonus if you’re an athlete, since you can simply wear your Invisalign aligner along with a regular mouthguard. They’re great for musicians who play certain instruments as well, as there are no wires or brackets to get in the way of your playing. Invisalign aligners can also be removed for short periods of time. This is perfect for those special events where you only want your natural smile shining through, such as weddings, prom, and senior pictures.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
In general, Invisalign tends to work best for adult and teen patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are more complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. During your FREE consultation with Dr. McGrogan, she will determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you, or if you’d be better served by more traditional orthodontic treatment. We will only recommend the treatment we believe is best for your unique smile!
What happens after treatment is complete?
Your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth no matter what treatment option you decide on. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if there’s no pressure there to stop them. That’s why you’ll hear us talk (and talk…and talk…) about the importance of regular retainer use! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. In order to maintain your newly straightened smile, you should always wear it exactly as directed by Dr. McGrogan.
Invisalign is the clear choice for beautiful smiles at Shine Orthodontics
Invisalign continues to be the most popular alternative to braces, and it’s not hard to see why! This exciting aligner system has changed the way people view orthodontic treatment, and we’re proud to offer it to our patients in Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, Apex and the surrounding communities.
If you’d like to learn more about Invisalign and the amazing things it can do for your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation in our new state-of-the-art office in Holly Springs! With Invisalign and Shine Orthodontics, you can achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.