Making the choice to straighten your smile with Invisalign is a big decision, and it can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming. That’s especially true if you don’t know much about the system or what to expect from the treatment process. Here at Brady Orthodontics, we want you to feel confident in the care we provide from your first appointment to your last! That starts with giving you the trusted information you need to feel fully prepared for the experience ahead. To get your treatment off on the right foot, let’s take a closer look at what the Invisalign system actually is, how it works, and how you can get the best smile out of your clear aligners.
What is Invisalign?
Traditional metal or ceramic braces are what we call fixed appliances. The brackets are attached directly to the teeth and can only be removed by a trained professional. In contrast, Invisalign aligners are removable appliances. Although they are made to snugly fit over the teeth, nothing is attached to the actual tooth surface.
The appearance of Invisalign aligners is deceptively simple. They’re strong enough to move teeth without any brackets or wires, and the special thermoplastic resin molds to your teeth for a comfortable fit. Because they’re removable and nearly invisible, this system offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than traditional braces, making them a great option for anyone wanting a discreet treatment method that won’t interfere with their daily life!
How does the Invisalign system work?
Once Dr. Brady determines you’re a good fit for Invisalign, we’ll begin the process by creating a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth. This scan will allow us to custom design your aligners and map out a precise treatment plan. The plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and will also give us an idea of how long treatment is likely to take in your case.
The total number of aligners needed will vary since every patient responds to treatment in their own way. Some patients may need as few as 12, while others might need many more. Treatment times will also vary, but overall, the average tends to be somewhere between 5 and 15 months.
Since Invisalign aligners are removable and not fixed like braces, you play a big role in how successful the system is. Once you receive your aligners, you’ll need to wear them for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the treatment process. You’ll also need to switch them out at predetermined intervals, usually every 1-2 weeks. Doing so is what allows the aligners to keep up with the movement of your teeth.
Just like a braces patient, regular check-ups will still be an essential part of your treatment process. You can expect to see Dr. Brady for follow-up appointments every 4-8 weeks or so. During these visits, we’ll take a look and make sure that everything is progressing according to your treatment plan. If something comes up and you can’t make an appointment for any reason, let us know as soon as you can and we’ll be happy to reschedule for you. This is important for keeping your treatment on track!
Caring for your smile (and your Invisalign aligners!)
While braces can come with a bit of a learning curve when it comes to oral care, Invisalign makes it easy to keep your mouth healthy as you straighten your smile! Simply remove your aligner, then brush and floss just like you normally would. Good dental care is especially important for orthodontic patients, so make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing every night before bed.
It’s also a breeze keeping your aligners clean. Rinse them out any time you remove them, then soak them in denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep the trays clear and sanitized. You should always brush and floss your teeth before you put an aligner back in to keep harmful particles from getting trapped. If you want a deeper clean for your aligners, you can also brush them gently with a soft toothbrush or clean them with a clear antibacterial soap.
While Invisalign treatment is pretty flexible, there are still some things you should avoid to keep your aligners safe.
- DON’T eat or drink anything but water while you’re wearing your aligners. Many foods and drinks can stain or discolor your aligners, and some may even cause odors.
- DON’T use toothpaste to clean your aligners. The abrasive agents that make your teeth sparkle have the opposite effect on aligners. They can also create small traps for bacteria.
- DON’T leave your aligners unprotected when they’re not in your mouth, as this can expose them to harmful germs and bacteria.
- DON’T soak your aligners in any sort of mouthwash.
- DON’T put aligners in heated liquid of any kind.
What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?
No matter what kind of orthodontic appliance you use, your teeth will always retain a memory of their previous place in your mouth. As you age, they will begin to drift back towards those spaces naturally. For this reason, retainers are crucial to the long-term success of your orthodontic treatment! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. In order to maintain your newly straightened smile, you’ll need to wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Brady.
Get a smile you love from the Invisalign experts at Brady Orthodontics
Invisalign tends to work best for teens and adults with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Complex or severe cases may require more precision than a removable aligner is able to achieve. When you schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Brady, he’ll perform a thorough examination and determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you!
If you’re in Winnetka or the surrounding communities and have any questions about Invisalign or your treatment plan, our team is always happy to help walk you through it. We aim to provide you with a rewarding orthodontic experience from start to finish, so get in touch today to get started! Your best smile is waiting for you at Brady Orthodontics!