The “Clear” Advantage of Invisalign Orthodontics
The best alternative to the hassles of metal braces.
Invisalign is ground-breaking technology that straightens teeth through a series of clear, virtually invisible, custom-molded aligners. Gone are the days of heavy metal implants and full head gear retainers. Invisalign aligners replace the wires and brackets of the past, making your orthodontic care nearly invisible to others around you. One of the best benefits of Invisalign is the ability to remove the aligners while you eat or brush your teeth.
How Long Does the Invisalign Treatment Take?
The average Invisalign course of treatment takes about a year. During that time, you will change to a new set of aligners every two weeks. The movement of your teeth is subtle from aligner to aligner. Before you know it, you have developed a beautiful, healthy smile.
You can have the confidence you need while looking great at work, at school and with friends.
What does Invisalign Treat?
In both clinical research and dental practices nationwide, Invisalign has proven effective to treat the following:
- Crowded teeth
- Shifting of teeth after braces
- Gaps in teeth
Best of all, Invisalign helps improve your overall health, including:
- Healthier gums
- Easier cleanings
- Improved chewing
- Reduced risk of abnormal tooth wear
- Improved speech
How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
Many of our Irvine patients wonder what the cost of Invisalign is. The cost for this treatment varies by patient, depending on factors such as the extent of treatment and number of aligners needed. Some insurance companies offer coverage, but it is best to check with your insurer first to verify coverage.
Invisalign Treatment Process
Your First Visit
If you’re ready for straighter, more attractive teeth, the first step is to schedule a consultation with one of our certified dentists in Irvine. During your first visit with our Invisalign dentists, we will examine your teeth, discuss your specific needs and goals and explain the course of treatment. We will decide whether Invisalign is appropriate for your case.
If it is, we will take some records, including X-rays that help us to visualize your jawbone and tooth roots, bite registration to determine how your upper and lower teeth fit together, impressions that help create a mold of your teeth, and photographs. Once we have gathered this information, we will program it into the Invisalign software. This program helps to map out your treatment based on your exact specifications. Your records and other details are then sent to the Invisalign laboratory that constructs your aligners.
Receiving Your Aligners
You should receive your first set of upper and lower aligners within a few weeks. Our dentists will deliver the first set and check to ensure a good fit. We will give you instructions for wearing and cleaning the aligners.
How Often Should I Wear Invisalign Retainers?
You should wear them for 20 to 22 hours per day, removing them to brush your teeth and eat. The aligners will gradually shift your teeth into the desired position and alignment.
A few weeks later, we will deliver your second set of aligners to replace the first set. We will check your teeth and monitor your progress. Altogether, you may wear 20 to 30 sets of aligners over the course of treatment.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
Most of our Irvine patients finish Invisalign treatment within a year. When you have achieved the desired results, you may be fitted for a special retainer to help you maintain your newly improved smile long-term.
Compare the ease and comfort of Invisalign to that of traditional braces. Braces have metal wires and brackets that are cemented onto the teeth. Braces are clunky, conspicuous and uncomfortable; the wire components can scratch and irritate the inside of the mouth, and the wires need to be tightened every few weeks, which causes additional discomfort. Many patients with braces wear them up to two years to see results.
Advantages and Disadvantages
All dental treatment options, including Invisalign, have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. These should be carefully considered before moving forward with treatment.
Advantages of Invisalign:
Inconspicuous. The aligners are virtually undetectable in the mouth when speaking or smiling.
No food restrictions. Because the aligners are removable for eating, there are no dietary limitations. Traditional metal braces make it difficult to eat certain sticky or crunchy foods out of fear that the food will pull or break a wire or bracket.
Generally more comfortable than metal brackets and wires: With Invisalign, the clear aligners straighten teeth so there are no monthly visits to have the wires tightened.
Teeth are easier to clean. Teeth can be brushed and flossed normally because the aligners are removable. Traditional braces make it more difficult to clean the nooks and crannies between the teeth.
Disadvantages of Invisalign:
Not appropriate for every case. Invisalign doesn’t treat every dental problem, including serious orthodontic or jaw issues. Some patients are better served with traditional braces.
Requires discipline and compliance. Invisalign does require self-discipline and compliance to see results. For example, the aligners must be worn at least 20 hours a day to see results, cleaned regularly and protected from damage. Every few weeks, they must be replaced with the next set in the sequence. Patients that do not want to worry about complying with these guidelines are probably better suited to braces.
How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign uses a series of custom clear aligners to gradually shift teeth into the proper position and alignment. Each set of aligners is typically worn for about two weeks, and then swapped out for the next set in the series.
Am I a candidate for Invisalign treatment?
Invisalign treatment might be a good option for you if your teeth are slightly crooked, crowded or poorly aligned. If your orthodontic problems are more serious, you might be better suited to traditional braces.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Invisalign aligners are clear and discreet, so no one should notice you are wearing them. They are comfortable and do not irritate the insides of the cheeks or the soft tissues of your mouth. The aligners are easily removable for eating, so you can enjoy all of your favorite foods during treatment. Treatment time is usually shorter than that of traditional braces.
What are the aligners made of?
Invisalign aligners are constructed from a thin thermoplastic material. They look similar to teeth whitening trays. Each set of aligners is custom created for the specific case.
How long do I wear the aligners during the day?
It is recommended you wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day. You can remove your aligners for eating and cleaning.
How long does Invisalign treatment take?
Treatment time varies by patient, but many patients are able to complete treatment within a year.
How should I clean the aligners?
There is a special cleansing system available for purchase that you can use to clean the aligners. Or, you can simply brush them with your toothpaste and rinse them.
What if I lose or misplace my aligners?
Accidents happen, and aligners can get lost or broken. Because it is a common problem, Invisalign treatment includes one or two built-in replacement aligners at no added cost to you.
There are some cases where you may be better off wearing the last aligner in your sequence, or advancing to the next aligner, depending on where you are in your treatment phase. However, don’t try to decide on your own; our Invisalign specialist will recommend the best course of action during a phone call or an office visit.
If you require an identical replacement, we can certainly accommodate that. Replacing an aligner may tack on a few weeks to the total treatment time, but it should not delay your results significantly.
Will I need to wear a retainer after Invisalign treatment is complete?
Yes, it is usually recommended patients wear a retainer to prevent the teeth from returning to their original position. Our Invisalign dentists can confirm whether you will need one for the upper teeth, lower teeth or both.
Good Candidates for Invisalign
Teenagers and adults who are concerned about their smiles and poorly aligned teeth may be good candidates for Invisalign treatment. However, not everyone will benefit from Invisalign. Irvine patients with severe tooth alignment problems or very poor oral health are advised to view our alternative solutions. We are often able to address these oral issues with other treatments before patients begin using Invisalign.
Is Invisalign OK for Teenagers?
Yes, Invisalign is appropriate for some teenagers. In fact, there is a specific system designed for teens called Invisalign Teen, which fixes cases of gapped teeth, crowded teeth, underbite, overbite, crossbite or open bite.
The Invisalign Teen system is very similar to the Invisalign system for adults. It is ideal for teens because the aligners aren’t conspicuous so they won’t cause patients to feel self-conscious around their friends or classmates. The aligners can also be easily removed so that patients can enjoy their favorite foods, play sports or participate in other after-school activities and hobbies.
There are a few differences in the Invisalign Teen aligners. First, they are designed with small blue dots that fade after about two weeks of wear. These dots help parents and our Invisalign specialists to monitor and track the teen’s compliance with wearing the aligners. If the teen is not diligent about wearing them as recommended, our dentists will know and can talk to the patient about being more compliant.
Also, the aligners are designed with additional space for adult teeth that need to emerge or “erupt” from beneath the gum line. Finally, the Invisalign Teen system comes with complimentary replacement aligners in case patients break or misplace their originals.
Remember that not all teens qualify for teeth straightening treatment with Invisalign. For those that don’t, our dentists can explore alternative options, including traditional braces.
Schedule an Appointment
To find out if you are a good candidate for transparent aligners, please schedule a consultation today at our dental practice in Irvine. You will be able to learn more about Invisalign and other orthodontic options from our Invisalign experts.
Dr. Ali Mansouri and Dr. Shery Mansouri are board certified dentists who have been serving Irvine patients with top quality dentistry services for over 12 years.