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What is Invisalign®, exactly?
Invisalign® has become so popular that many people have heard about it but may not have a good understanding of the ins and outs of this orthodontic therapy. Metal braces are the intervention of choice for complex cases of crooked teeth and poor bite quality but Invisalign® straightens teeth without using brackets and arch wires as their guide.
Invisalign® uses special aligners to straighten the teeth. When you see your dentist for an assessment of your candidacy for Invisalign®, he or she will take a 3D scan of your mouth. This scan can be viewed by you and your dentist while simulation technology provides a preview of what your results could be with Invisalign®.
If you’re happy with what you see,
Your dentist will forward your scan information to a lab that is certified to produce Invisalign® aligners and all you need to do is wait for it to arrive! When you receive your aligners, you can expect there to be between 20 and 30 pairs. These aligners are custom made to fit your mouth and will click right into place over your upper and lower teeth. Since they are very transparent and very thin it’s important to treat these aligners with care and be sure to always place them in their carrying case when they are out of the mouth.
You’ll wear each set of aligners for two or three weeks (at the instruction of your dentist) before moving on to the next pair in your aligner kit.
Invisalign® works by putting precise pressure on the teeth that need adjustment. This pressure is gentle and as a result you won’t feel the discomfort that braces wearers feel in the days following their regular manual adjustments. With more adjustments more often, Invisalign® is able to provide the same result without the hassle of braces.
Since this pressure is key to success with the program, it is important that you wear your aligners constantly – except at mealtimes. You should aim for 22 hours of daily wear, allowing 2 hours total to eat meals, snacks and beverages. Since you will sleep with the aligners in, it is important to address any sign of clenching and grinding in your sleep before you begin your treatment program. Clenching and grinding on the thin aligner will compromise its fit and may even break it entirely. Ask your dentist about any visual signs of abnormal wear on the teeth if you are unsure.
When you are wearing aligners,
it is critical that your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned before placing them in the mouth. Bacteria can proliferate quickly in a dark, warm, moist environment and food that is trapped between the aligner and the teeth will subject the teeth to acid which weakens the enamel and causes cavities.
Bacterium that are allowed to build up under the aligner can be very irritating to the gums and can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. Medical conditions like diabetes may make it more difficult to control plaque overgrowth.
With Invisalign® there are no restrictions where food and drinks are concerned. When your aligners are removed to eat, help yourself to any of your favourite foods. Unlike braces, there are no brackets to risk breaking. Teas and other hot beverages should always be enjoyed with aligners removed. The heat will ruin the fit of your aligners and set you back in your progress.
One of the greatest advantages of Invisalign® is the comfort and convenience you enjoy while completing the treatment program. Lesions on the cheeks and inner lips are not applicable here – your aligners are so thin that your cheeks and lips won’t even know that they’re there. No more fussing with dental wax and struggling with floss – you can maintain your normal oral health routines.
Invisalign® can take some getting used-to for those who are in the habit of grazing throughout the day, and those who are always sipping a soda. You will likely find yourself limiting your snacks since eating requires that teeth be brushed and flossed every time. Many patients have found their overall health improve as an indirect result of wearing Invisalign® – drinking more water and eating fewer snacks. So, what are you waiting for?
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