Is Invisalign right for you?

Posted on January 17, 2017 by Dr. Leslie Pitner. Tagged:

For some people, the thought of 1-2 years in braces sounds like serving time in teeth prison!  If that is you, the great news is that we now have new and better options such as Invisalign.

For those who don’t know much about Invisalign, here is the “cut to the chase” version. Invisalign is a completely different system for moving your teeth than braces. Instead of brackets and wires, a 3-D virtual model is made of your teeth and, from that model, I can virtually create your new smile. From that, a series of clear retainers called “aligners” are made that gradually shift your teeth to their ideal positions. You wear the aligners a minimum of 20 (preferably 22) hours per day. At prescribed intervals (usually 1 to 2 weeks), you change the aligner to the next one in the series. This process moves your teeth over time to your ideal straight smile.

Things to like

Two big benefits stand out to most people. First, you can remove your Invisalign aligners to eat. Compared to having to eat with braces, this is pretty nice. You avoid the challenging cleaning you need to do with braces because you don’t have the brackets and wire to clean around.  This is not to say that you can get away without taking care of your teeth, but it is the same as what you need to do without Invisalign – no more, no less.  Being able to remove your aligners to eat means there are also no restrictions on what you can eat.  Popcorn at the movies – no problem!

Second, the aligners are clear so they are much less noticeable than braces. Most people looking into Invisalign are looking for a discreet option for straightening their teeth.

Sounds good, right? It is a great system, but there are a few other things to consider before deciding if Invisalign is right for you.

All that glitters

One of the system’s greatest benefits is also the greatest temptation. For Invisalign to be effective, the aligners must be worn for 20 hours per day and 22 hours is preferred. The idea that you can remove the device for a little break can be very enticing, but realize that your treatment could drag on if you cheat from time to time.

For some people, having only a couple of hours per day to eat and brush before putting their aligner back on leaves them feeling rushed. This can lead to unscheduled breaks from using their aligner which we already know isn’t good.

You will quickly learn that these aligners stain. And what stains them more than anything? Coffee. Which might be a non-starter for some. But keep in mind that you switch aligners every two weeks so they won’t get too stained in that time.

You will also have attachments on some of your teeth to help them move correctly. In some cases, a patient might need enough of these attachments that they may look like they are wearing white braces, thus defeating a little bit of the original intent. Usually though, Invisalign is less noticeable than traditional braces.

Lastly, although you might think that you’ll be done after the first batch of trays, most people will need to have refinement aligners to reach the ideal result.

If you decide you want some type of clear or discreet orthodontic treatment, make sure that you ask about all of the options. If you’re looking for something aesthetic, then you and your orthodontist might consider clear ceramic braces, or even hidden lingual braces which are which are attached to the back of your teeth. We can even make appliances that are very similar to Invisalign right in the office.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us here. We’d love to discuss what your options are and help you discover the best treatment for you.