You are never too old to have your teeth straightened and aligned, but the thought of having braces as an adult may make you decide to leave your teeth alone because you don’t want metal brackets stuck to your teeth for years. This is why alternatives like Invisalign exist, however; dentists know patients don’t want to have orthodontic work stuck to their teeth where everyone can see it. So what is Invisalign? Invisalign offers a less visible method of correcting misaligned teeth that is just as effective as traditional braces.
Many people find themselves asking, “what is Invisalign?” Invisalign is a series of clear trays that gradually move your teeth into their desired positions. You have a mold of your mouth taken just like you would for traditional braces, and then several hard molds are made. These molds look like the trays used in home whitening kits except the material is not flexible, and the tooth alignment will be just a bit different from what your teeth currently look like. You’ll return to the dentist every few weeks to get another tray and check your progress. How long you use each tray varies because some tooth movements may take longer to accomplish than others. Overall, you can expect to use the trays for about a year.
Traditional braces require you to have brackets cemented to each tooth; these brackets can be clear instead of gray metal, but they are still fairly obvious and need a stiff wire running along each to pull the teeth into position. Every few weeks you go in to have the wires replaced and tightened. When you’re done with your regimen, the orthodontist has to chip each bracket off your teeth and scrape away remaining cement.
With Invisalign, you wear your first tray, which can seem a bit tight, until it’s no longer tight and the dentist gives you the next tray. You repeat this process until you’ve gone through all of the trays in your regimen. You wear the trays for about 22-23 hours each day, taking them out only to eat and brush your teeth. You do have to eat fairly quickly because you need to get those trays back onto your teeth as soon as possible. You can’t take three hours to eat your meals.
There is nothing permanent with this system. You will have tooth colored attachments placed where needed but they will be removed at the end of treatment.There are no wires, which makes the system much more comfortable; with traditional braces, if the ends of the wires aren’t trimmed properly when the wires are replaced, they can poke into the insides of your cheeks. The trays are clear, so if you merely talk to someone, they’re probably not going to notice that you are wearing Invisalign.
One more very good reason to use the Invisalign trays instead of braces is that cleaning your teeth and eating are so much easier. Yes, you can’t linger over meals, but you won’t have to dice apples and avoid sticky foods like you would with traditional braces. When you have those brackets, you risk knocking them off your teeth if you bite into harder foods, including semi-hard fruits. With the trays, you just remove the tray, eat, and put the tray back in.
As for cleaning, remove the tray and brush and floss as you normally would. Compare that to traditional brace brackets that create extra ledges and hard-to-reach spots, which can leave white stains (calcifications) on your teeth that don’t go away. These white stains form because of plaque, and you need to brush your teeth very well when you have those brackets, but sometimes you just can’t reach every single spot.
You do need to see your dentist regularly, and that means taking time off from work every few weeks; this is not a system that you modify when you feel like it. Be aware that removable trays are also losable trays; when you take the tray out to eat or clean your teeth, keep it in its container (that you’ll get from your dentist), and do not lose that container. Keep it with you instead of setting it down on a random surface.
When you get a new tray in the series, watch for gum irritation, which can occur if the edges of the tray extend too far onto the surface of the gums. The trays can be fixed, so call your dentist immediately to have the tray modified. Don’t give up on the system as a whole.
As mentioned, these trays have to be worn most of the time, even when you sleep. That means that when you first get the trays, you’ll need to talk — and talk and talk until you have practiced enough so that you don’t sound like you have trays in your mouth. Note that this speech adjustment occurs with regular braces, too; with the trays, though, it’s vital that you don’t give up and take out the trays constantly when talking. That can quickly spiral into never wearing the trays. Perseverance pays off.
If you are still asking yourself what is Invisalign, or if you know you want to use Invisalign, you need to start with a visit to a dentist. For those in the Charlotte area, Southview Dentistry offers flexible appointment scheduling, state-of-the-art technology, staff who are excellent at explaining to you what is happening in each procedure, and dentists who have been consistently rated among the top dentists in Charlotte by other dentists. When you look for a dentist Charlotte offers two of the best, and they are both at Southview.
If you’re ready to investigate more on what is invisalign and how it can help you, our dentists are waiting to help you at Southview Dentistry. Call or use the website to request an appointment. The Invisalign system is easy to use and much more convenient than traditional braces. Call the office with any questions you have.