Today’s breakthroughs in retainer technology allow you to make a surprising amount of dental adjustments without having to undergo issues with brackets and wires. There’s no need for a long-term commitment to old-fashioned metal braces to adjust the alignment of your teeth. Invisalign is perhaps one of the best known options. Understanding the ins and outs of using nearly invisible aligners will prepare you for undergoing the commitment. While it’s not an immediate solution to your teeth alignment issues, it’s likely one of your best options for getting a straighter smile in a few months to a few years.
If you’ve used metal braces in the past, you’re most likely a perfect candidate for Invisalign. It’s great for restoring any shifting that might have occurred since you had the braces as a child or teenager. If you’ve never used braces but have good overall oral hygiene and no active gum disease or decay issues, this treatment is likely a good choice. While it’s not always a good fit for advanced alignment issues that need major adjustments, for the majority of tilted, twisted, or gapped teeth, these aligners will do all the necessary work over the course of a number of months. You’ll need all of your natural teeth in order to use these retainers. They need to apply pressure braced against all of your teeth, so missing teeth will mean you need a different type of braces to compensate.
Most patients use Invisalign for around one full year. That’s a lot shorter than the two to three year time frame often associated with traditional braces. Some patients will need 18 months to 2 years of use instead, but this is rare. Your dentist can give you a better idea of what to expect based on the exact adjustments and amount of alignment change you need. The more your teeth need to move, the longer you’ll need to wear the retainers. If you want your alignment process to wrap up before a specific date, discuss your goals with your dentist to determine which treatment will provide those results.
It’s the nearly invisible appearance that makes Invisalign so popular among adults and teenagers who don’t like the appearance of traditional braces. While there are options for tooth-colored brackets and low visibility wires to minimize the metal look, it’s still quite noticeable that you’re wearing braces. Invisalign retainers are clear and hard to spot unless someone is inches away from your face. It’s easy to wear your retainers all day, even in photos, and remove them as needed for eating and drinking. There are none of the food and drink restrictions that come with traditional braces either. While there is a small adjustment period where you might experience mild discomfort, you’ll quickly adjust to the lightweight retainers and experience less interruption of your speech patterns.
For very minor alignment issues, you may want to consider veneers instead of actually adjusting the teeth. This is often a quick resolution to an issue that is wholly cosmetic. Your dentist can tell you if your bite pattern is impacted by the alignment issue or not. If it’s not a problem, veneers can disguise the look of gaps or tilted teeth all in one visit. However, they can’t actually improve the alignment and must be replaced every 10 years or so. If you undergo an Invisalign treatment, you’ll have straight and perfectly aligned teeth for the rest of your life in most cases.
You’ll wear your Invisalign retainer for 22 hours a day, taking them out only to clean them and for eating and drinking. This ensures you get constant pressure without too much discomfort at any time. Since the retainer breaks down from being worn so much, you’ll continuously get new retainers while undergoing treatment. This also allows for slight changes in the design to further increase the adjustment until your teeth are straight. Your dentist will check your progress every time you’re in the chair for a routine cleaning and ensure you’re getting new retainers on the right schedule.
Don’t miss any appointments with your Ballwin, MO dentist when following an Invisalign treatment plan. They’ll need to check your teeth and alignment regularly to see how you’re progressing. If the treatment stalls or moves faster than expected, new aligners will be needed to keep you on track.
Without proper cleaning, the retainers can become dirty and damaged. Clean the retainer multiple times a day by rinsing it with fresh water. Brush the aligner twice a day with a soft toothbrush and abrasive-free toothpaste. Brush your teeth three times a day and rinse your mouth well after eating or drinking anything.
When it’s time to move to a new retainer design, put it in at night at first. Using it for bedtime wear for the first few days will allow you to adapt to the change in shape without experiencing too much discomfort. Then you can move to wearing the new retainer both day and night.
If you find it uncomfortable to wear your retainer at any point aside from the first few days of a new design, call your dentist. There may be an issue with the fit or another dental health problem that needs immediate treatment so you don’t have to interrupt the use of the retainers.
The cost of Invisalign treatment varies between patients depending on the length of treatment and the number of retainers they’ll need over the course of it. The amount of adjustment needed also affects the price. You can expect to spend around $3,500 for shorter and milder treatments, or upwards of $4,000 for more typical treatments which can represent a significant savings compared to traditional braces.
Most people who use Invisalign as adults will see long-lasting results. You may need another round of Invisalign in 20 years or more if your teeth shift again, but it’s not a common issue. Children are more likely to need additional treatment in their 20s or 30s to follow up and restore the original alignment improvements. This is true with traditional braces as well, so it’s not a reason to avoid Invisalign. Secondary rounds of Invisalign tend to work quickly and therefore cost a little less than the original round of treatment.
Discuss your options for Invisalign and more with our team here at 100 West Dental. We’re your experts in Invisalign in Ballwin, MO and can quickly determine if you’re a good candidate for this treatment. Schedule an appointment today or bring it up during your next routine cleaning in our office. We’re proud to offer a wide range of cosmetic and preventative treatments to improve your smile!