A smile is often taken to be the first form of greeting and a first impression. That’s why so many people are worried about smiling with crooked teeth or a crossbite, causing them to be uncomfortable and nervous in social interactions. According to the National Oral Health Alliance, 9 out of 10 have experienced embarrassment due to their teeth, contributing to poor self image.
For a number of years, conventional metal braces were the only solution to realign teeth. But then came along Invisalign, trays are transparently put on the teeth to straighten them, serving the same purpose as traditional metal braces but without all the problems associated with braces. For example not being able to eat something as simple as apples or corn on the cob, and not being able to brush completely.
Invisalign Benefits as a Clear Orthodontic Alignment Device
Invisalign is a smart and appealing replacement for metal braces, since they are made of invisible plastic moulds. That means a tension free smile without being overly conscious about wires and brackets.
The good news is that since there are no wires or sharp edges attached with Invisalign aligners, your mouth doesn’t get any sores or injuries. They are easy to wear without any hassle.
Easy to remove
Unlike the metal braces which cannot be taken off whenever wanted, Invisalign can be easily removed for brushing, cleaning or flossing the teeth which lowers risk of gum disease and improves oral hygiene.
Shorter duration of treatment
Invisalign treatment can usually be rolled up in a year to year and a half. Metal braces can take up to five long years of teeth straightening.
There isn’t a detailed routine in cleaning Invisalign Aligners.They do tend to become dull over time, but cleaning them with a simple toothbrush dipped in water and bleach does the cleaning magic. This can be done on alternate days.
The Treatment Process
The Invisalign process begins with an initial consultation with the orthodontist. They check your teeth in detail and determine whether Invisalign is the right treatment option for you or not. They will also answer any queries related to the before and after process of the treatment at this point. The coverage costs are usually discussed at this point as well.
This step includes the orthodontist taking teeth impressions, running x-rays and taking tooth photographs in order to start formulating your records. These teeth impressions are further used to create digital teeth model for treatment. They ascertain how the teeth position will eventually be moving. There is a bit of trial and error regarding teeth position adjustments.
Your first aligners
Once the impressions have been finalized, Invisalign will make the custom aligners for teeth straightening and deliver them back to your orthodontist. Often the number of aligners needed for a course of weeks depends upon the complexity of the treatment plan.
Usually the orthodontist checks your progress after every six to eight weeks and depending upon the movement of teeth in between, you will be handed on a new set of aligners in accordance with the treatment plan.
What to expect?
Getting Invisalign aligners can be a new and a different experience. Patients who get these need to be mindful of these minor shifts or no changes at all.
Minor speech distortions
Patients who get their Invisalign treatment may notice slight speech change in the first few days. This is usually due to the fact that the tongue is adjusting to the new device and this can cause a slight lisp. But as the adjustment gets better, the speech becomes normal once again.
Since patients are using the aligners for the first time, the teeth and gums get compressed against new directions which can cause tenderness in the mouth, initially. Wearing it again and again will make the mouth adapt to it. If the pain/soreness is caused by sharp edges of the aligners, covering them with dental wax is a good idea to prevent scraping.
Hassle free eating & drinking
Food or drink does not impact your aligners. In fact its easy to take them off conveniently at the time of eating or drinking. Just take them out before eating and put them back after eating and cleaning your teeth. The bonus with Invisalign is that unlike metal braces, there is no fear of food sticking or getting trapped in between wires.
Clean, Clean & Clean
There is a two-fold plan to it. Firstly, it’s vital to take care of oral hygiene in the form of regular brushing and flossing after every snack or meal. This will prevent plaque formation, and since the aligners are in close proximity with your teeth, massive bacteria might build up on the tooth and gum line thus causing infection.
The second part is to clean the aligners itself when they are outside of the mouth. This can be done in a number of ways including soaking trays in clear mouthwash, a 50-50 water and hydrogen peroxide solution, or soaking them in half and half vinegar and water infusion. Cleaning measures like these will help avoid discoloration of the tray, or from the build up of bacteria and bad odor on the aligners tray.
An additional factor to keep in mind is the use of “attachments” in some cases. They are tiny pieces which are glued to the tooth enamel, are often white in colour. They help the aligners grip a tooth that aids in the movement of the tooth. In other words they facilitate in the treatment process.
For more strong and successful results, it is necessary to wear aligners for at least 22 hrs a day and take them out only for cleaning, eating or drinking.
Post treatment procedure can be different for everyone. Some might notice a huge shift in their teeth position. But like many other Orthodontic treatments, there is a risk of teeth regressing back to their original form once again. It is better to discuss at this point the use of “Retainers:, to maintain the desired teeth position.
Many times patients are relieved when they no longer have to wear aligners or attachments all the time. But surely the effort is worth it in the end, provided active measures are taken in the end to maintain that new, envious smile.