The name Invisalign® may well be familiar from various advertising campaigns, or marketing, but for those considering treatment, it’s important to understand how the process works, and if it’s a viable option for you or a family member. Clearly, the more you know the better, and having a good understanding of the overall process will set the stage for better decision making.
As with other treatments or procedures, but particularly with Invisalign®, an initial consult is necessary, and with a provider who is specifically trained. Most likely, you will be involved with a dentist, at which time you’ll be examined to determine if the treatment is right for you. At the same time, your dentist will discuss inherent benefits, and will describe the treatment plan in greater detail.
Depending on your case, Invisalign® can address a wide variety of conditions, from basic to the more complex. During the initial consult, it’s an ideal opportunity to ask all of the relevant questions – about the treatment plan; about the costs; even about insurance coverage. From all respects, the decision to proceed is an important one – it’s a long-term commitment and a serious investment for most.
Your dentist begins treatment by taking comprehensive x-rays and impressions of the teeth. This is the basis for a detailed 3 dimensional image of the teeth in a digital form. It’s also an opportunity for the dentist to assess the precise movement of your teeth, and to estimate the extent of the treatment plan. The Invisalign® technology also makes it possible to view a virtual demo of how the teeth will change.
Needless to say, every case and every patient is unique, however, treatments usually take about a year (for adults). Initially, a set of customized “clear aligners” is made, and designed specifically for your teeth. Made of “BPA-free” plastic, the aligners are quite comfortable, and will not irritate the inside of your mouth. At this stage, you wear the aligners during the day, and remove for eating, brushing or flossing.
The whole idea behind Invisalign® is for the teeth to shift gradually, and move into place while you are wearing the aligners. And because they are practically invisible, it means they are inconspicuous while you wear them. Every second week, you’ll be wearing new aligners, and slowly make progress with the treatment plan. In order to monitor the treatment, your dentist will check you, likely every six weeks.
For the best results, it’s recommended that aligners be worn between 20 and 22 hours a day – that means from day one through the entire lifespan of treatment. For the patient, changes are noticeable at virtually every stage of treatment, making for a positive and empowering experience, even with some of the inconveniences. By the end of treatment, chances are you’ll be flashing your smile more than ever.
Undoubtedly, the most important thing about teeth is proper care. And after the Invisalign® treatment, it’s equally important. Your new teeth deserve proper oral hygiene, supplemented by regular dental exams. After all, preventing tooth decay and damage is far more desirable than any treatments or procedures.