Here at Van Vliet Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer patients a variety of affordable treatment options, including Invisalign clear aligners. This innovative system is our most popular alternative to traditional braces, giving patients the same beautiful results without any brackets, bands, or wires. This offers an extra measure of freedom that our teen and adult patients love! Although Invisalign aligners have been in use for about twenty years now, they’re still seen as the “new kid” on the orthodontic block, especially compared to braces. That’s resulted in some common misconceptions about what the Invisalign system is and how it works to straighten smiles. We’re here to clear things up and give you the truth about this exciting treatment option!
Keep reading below for more information on how Invisalign can transform your smile into something truly special.
What is the Invisalign clear aligner system?
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, we can use both fixed and removable appliances to correct common issues. Braces are a fixed appliance, which means the brackets are attached directly to the surface of the teeth and can only be removed by an experienced orthodontic professional. In contrast, Invisalign aligners are removable appliances. The aligners are custom-designed to fit snugly, but no part of them is actually attached to the surface of the teeth.
Invisalign uses a series of these removable aligners to shift your teeth, working in much the same way brackets and wires. The aligners are made of a special type of thermoplastic resin which allows them to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth. Using gentle pressure over time, the aligners gradually straighten the teeth. They eventually leave nothing behind but a beautiful smile!
How does the Invisalign system work?
The first step in any orthodontic journey should be a consultation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Van Vliet. We offer this initial visit at no charge, and it includes digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion with him about any specific areas of concern. This will give him what he needs to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you and your smile!
If you do decide to move ahead with Invisalign, we’ll begin by mapping out a precise treatment plan for you using a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan includes the exact movements we want your teeth to make and will also give us an indication of how long we expect treatment to take.
We’ll also use this scan to generate your custom aligners. Once they’re in your hands, it’s up to you to wear them as directed. Patient compliance is essential for Invisalign’s success! The aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day throughout the treatment process in order to produce the desired results.
Aligners also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements of the teeth. Regular check-ups will be scheduled for every 8-10 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Van Vliet will check your teeth and ensure that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan.
Every smile is unique and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way, so there’s no uniform answer for how long treatment will take. In general, however, the average amount of time spent in aligners will be anywhere from 9-15 months. The good news? This is slightly less time than most patients spend in braces!
What advantages does Invisalign have over traditional braces?
Invisalign is more than just an attractive alternative to traditional metal braces. The removable aligners also allow extra flexibility that other methods can’t match! Food restrictions are a perfect example. Many people who have worn braces will tell you that having to forego some of their favorite foods was one of the hardest parts of treatment. To protect the wires and brackets, patients in braces must steer clear of anything crunchy or chewy. This is never an issue with Invisalign! You simply take them whenever you want to eat, then put them back in when you’re done.
Removable aligners make it easier to maintain a good dental hygiene routine, too. The wires, brackets, and bands that accompany traditional braces can make cleaning the teeth a time-consuming task. With Invisalign, aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Cleaning the aligners themselves is also a cinch! There are special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.
Who’s a good candidate for Invisalign?
When patients are fully compliant, Invisalign can work just as well as braces in treating many of the most common orthodontic issues. That said, cases that are especially complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. During your initial consultation, Dr. Van Vliet will determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you. He will only ever recommend the treatment he believes to be best for your individual smile.
What happens after Invisalign treatment is complete?
Whether you wear braces or aligners, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if there’s nothing to stop them. That’s why retainers are so important! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. To maintain your newly straightened smile, you should always wear it exactly as directed.
Trust your smile to the Invisalign experts at Van Vliet Orthodontics
When you lay it all out, it’s easy to see why Invisalign is our most popular alternative to traditional braces! This exciting system continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment every day. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of Invisalign’s clear aligners, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Van Vliet!