Invisalign: The Clear Alternative to Braces


Traditionally, straightening your teeth meant wearing metal braces that although highly effective are quite visible. These braces are still widely used but today there are other options. While some people don’t mind wearing metal braces and even look forward to customizing their look with colored bands, adults, and self-conscious teenagers might not be so enthusiastic. This is where Invisalign can be a wonderful alternative to wearing traditional braces. With Invisalign, you can look forward to straightening your teeth nearly invisibly, so you can enjoy a beautifully straight smile without the need for any metal brackets or wires. This could be the ideal solution if you have always hankered after a straighter smile but have never relished the thought of wearing braces.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is very different from traditional braces, utilizing removable aligners that are custom-designed to fit tightly over your teeth. The clear aligners are made from BPA-free plastic and are very thin yet strong. Once fitted over your teeth, they are difficult to see. Unlike traditional braces, there are no brackets or wires of any kind and no need for elastics.

How Does It Work?

During treatment, you will be provided with a series of removable aligners to wear as treatment progresses. Each set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks and is then discarded so you can begin wearing a fresh set of aligners. Every set of aligners will continue to gradually move your teeth into positions that will have been predetermined by our experienced dentist, Dr. George Mitrogogos. Treatment with Invisalign is extremely effective, providing a very predictable outcome.

What Is the Process for Having Invisalign Treatment?

You will need an initial consultation with us here at Sanford Dental Excellence. Dr. Mitrogogos must carefully examine your teeth and jaws to determine if Invisalign is the right option for your orthodontic needs. As an experienced dentist, Dr. Mitrogogos will only recommend Invisalign if he knows this is the optimal solution and will achieve the desired outcome.

The next step is to take digital impressions of your teeth. To do this, your teeth are scanned using a tiny camera so there’s no need to have uncomfortable and messy tray impressions, which is perfect for people with a strong gag reflex. These digital images are highly accurate and are used to create a virtual 3-D model of your teeth using Invisalign’s specialized software. This allows Dr. Mitrogogos to precisely plan how each tooth will move during your treatment.

One advantage of Invisalign is that you will be able to view these 3-D images, so you can see exactly how treatment will improve the appearance of your teeth. It can be quite an exciting moment! Once your treatment plan is completed, your aligners will be custom-made, and we will show you how to insert and remove them, and how to take care of them.

What to Expect During Treatment?

Treatment with Invisalign is very easy and any disruption to your everyday life will be minimal. You simply need to keep the aligners in your mouth for at least 22 hours every day, ideally only removing them whenever you need to brush or floss, or for mealtimes. There is no need to change your diet, although you should clean your teeth after each meal and before you reinsert your aligners. With Invisalign, you should find it very easy to maintain excellent oral hygiene right throughout treatment.

It is possible to remove your aligners for the occasional special event but it’s not advisable to do this too frequently because it could slow down your progress. Initially, when you first begin to wear your aligners you may feel some minor discomfort which is perfectly normal with any type of orthodontic treatment. These feelings should soon settle down as your teeth become accustomed to the aligners. If needed, you can take over-the-counter painkillers, but you will receive much more detailed advice when you first receive your Invisalign aligners. You will need to see Dr. Mitrogogos occasionally, to check treatment is progressing as planned and to receive more aligners. These visits shouldn’t take too long because there are no fixed braces to adjust and tighten.

Who Can Have Invisalign?

Many adults and teenagers will be suitable for this treatment. Invisalign does produce a system specifically for teenagers and which includes colored wear indicators that show the aligners are being worn as directed. Invisalign can be used to correct many common orthodontic problems including overbites and underbites, open bites and crossbites, as well as problems with overcrowding or teeth that are incorrectly spaced. If you originally received orthodontic treatment as a child but have seen your teeth shift position with age, Invisalign could help you. It can be very effective in correcting cosmetically oriented problems with teeth and where only the front teeth are affected. Invisalign isn’t designed to correct severe malocclusion or bite problems. One thing to bear in mind with Invisalign treatment is that compliance is vital. If you are likely to forget to wear your aligners, fixed braces could be a more suitable and effective choice.

How Long Will Treatment Take?

Typically, treatment with Invisalign will take roughly the same time as with fixed braces. Many people will complete treatment within 12-18 months, but this time could be shorter or longer. It all depends on the orthodontic problems requiring correction and Dr. Mitrogogos will be able to give you a much more accurate estimate during your first consultation. Sometimes corrections only involving your front teeth may be completed in as little as a few months, providing you with a straight, healthy smile and avoiding the need for more invasive treatments such as veneers or crowns.

Will I Need to Wear Retainers?

Retainers are always necessary following the completion of orthodontic treatment but with Invisalign, there is no need to worry about wearing your retainers. They will be made from the same clear plastic as your aligners and are comfortable to wear. You must wear retainers until your teeth have settled down into their new positions. Initially, you may need to wear your retainers most or all the time, gradually reducing this as your teeth become accustomed to having been realigned.

Invisalign can be a wonderful treatment and this system utilizes advanced orthodontic techniques. It has been used to successfully treat hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and it’s highly likely that you already know one or two who have used this system, provided of course they have let you into their secret. The aligners used by Invisalign are so discreet that many people will not even realize you are straightening your smile. Contact our team at Sanford Dental Excellence today to find out how we can help you achieve your best smile!

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