Is Invisalign right for you?

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.

A Brand-New Book — 9 Years in the Making – from Dr. Pitner

Happy New Year!

I hope 2017 is off to a great start for everyone. I know these first weeks have been very exciting for me. As of this month, I am now a published author, and my book, Improve Your Smile, Transform Your Life: A Guide to Orthodontics for Adults, is now available. Getting my book ready has been a huge undertaking. Depending on how you look at it, I have either been working on this book for the last 12 months, or for nine years.

The original nugget of idea formed when I was working on my master’s degree in applied positive psychology back in 2007. As part of the program, we had to complete a capstone project, and I chose to submit a book proposal with an example chapter about the psychology behind a smile.

Diving into the research, I learned so much! What happens in our brains to cause us to smile? How does the smile impact our brains even after we’ve stopped smiling? How does happiness influence our health, success, and overall well-being? A smile is basically the only psychological marker for happiness, and there was so much research for me to do on the subject.

I intended on continuing my book even after the program was over. However, as it tends to happen, life got in the way, and I realized I didn’t have time for a project of that scale. The book got pushed to the side, though it never really disappeared. A corner of my brain always remained dedicated to that first chapter, kicking around ideas.

In the past year, my book idea came back to the front of my mind as I started creating Pitner Downtown, our orthodontics office specifically for adults. I saw that, while there are resources available on general orthodontics — traditionally geared towards children and teens — there was very little readily available information focusing on orthodontics for adults.

I knew it was my job to write the book to fill that gap because I have met so many people, especially adults, who just won’t smile. They’ve spent their whole life learning how not to smile because they’re embarrassed about their teeth. Knowing what I do about how important a true smile is, I wanted there to be some way for me to share that knowledge with everyone, so no one is being denied the benefits of a smile.

This book was an amazing opportunity to take all the stuff I know academically and all the information I’ve learned working with actual people in the real world. My book answers questions a lot of adults have, like “Are there options that won’t make me look like a preteen?” or “Can you move teeth in an adult?” The book also covers all of your treatment options, as well as the new technology that makes treatment faster and easier.

Featuring facts and science, with all my favorite stories and real life experiences, the book is basically everything I could ever want my patients to know, presented in a way that I hope is both interesting to read and incredibly useful.

Improve Your Smile, Transform Your Life: A Guide to Orthodontics for Adults is available on Amazon. I’m so excited to have this book finally on paper — or pixels for e-book readers.