One of the most revolutionary orthodontic treatments to come along in many years, Invisalign® offers an array of benefits for both adults and adolescents who want to straighten their teeth or correct bite irregularities in the most discreet way possible. Our experienced dentists in Salisbury can help you renew the appearance of your smile with this advanced treatment that is often more comfortable, and definitely less noticeable, than traditional metal braces.

What Is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a way of straightening or repositioning the teeth within the jaws to correct a variety of problems, including misaligned teeth and bite concerns such as overbite, underbite, and crossbite. Invisalign® works by utilizing a system of clear, removable teeth aligners rather than brackets or wires to pull the teeth into the desired position. It can be used to close spaces between teeth, correct crowding or overlapping of teeth, and create a more balanced bite. Invisalign® can also be used prior to other cosmetic dentistry procedures to align the teeth first, which can result in a better outcome of the cosmetic treatment.

Invisalign® vs. Braces

Invisalign® and traditional braces both share the same goals: to correct common orthodontic concerns by helping patients achieve straighter teeth or improve bite issues. The major distinction between these two treatments lies in how they are designed to accomplish those goals. Unlike metal, ceramic, or clear braces, Invisalign® contains no mechanical parts whatsoever. The Invisalign® system involves a series of custom aligners made of a clear plastic material. The innovative design of each aligner allows for a gradual movement of the teeth into a better position without reliance on wires or brackets. This typically makes the treatment process more comfortable for patients, as there is no risk of food getting trapped between wires and no brackets that can potentially cut into the soft tissues of the mouth. The other major benefit of Invisalign® is that the aligners are translucent and virtually invisible while they are in place. This is a very important aspect for many individuals, some of whom may have avoided orthodontic treatment because of the prominent noticeability of braces on the teeth. In contrast to braces, the aligners are also removable, which can make it easier to eat and perform oral hygiene routines while undergoing treatment.

Invisalign® can be an ideal treatment for patients who have mild to moderate cases of teeth misalignment or bite irregularities. For those with more severe concerns, braces may be the better option. Once our dentist has evaluated your oral structures and talked with you about your goals, he or she can help you determine whether Invisalign® is the right option for your needs.

Invisalign® vs. Porcelain Veneers

While both Invisalign® and porcelain veneers can significantly enhance the smile, these two treatments are typically used to address different concerns. For instance, Invisalign® can be extremely effective at correcting misalignment and bite issues and can contribute to a much straighter smile. Veneers can also correct misaligned teeth, but not to the same extent as Invisalign®; rather, veneers are generally best suited for more mild gaps and spacing issues. In addition, veneers, which we custom-craft at our practice using durable porcelain, are primarily considered a cosmetic treatment, as they are utilized to mask discoloration, cracks, chips, and other aesthetic imperfections. Meanwhile, Invisalign® serves to improve both the appearance and functionality of the mouth.

Invisalign® vs. DIY Teeth Straightening Systems

You may have seen advertisements for over-the-counter teeth straightening systems. These systems, some of which can be bought at pharmacies or drugstores, often claim to offer quick straightening effects with aligners that can be used at home. As simple and convenient as these strategies may sound, there are a number of reasons why “do-it-yourself” teeth straightening is not endorsed by dental professionals.

DIY teeth straightening systems do not take into account the complex needs of certain patients. For instance, some individuals may not be good candidates for aligners, while others may need certain treatments prior to teeth straightening. In addition, attempting to straighten your own teeth without the supervision of a dentist makes you more vulnerable to complications for which you cannot test or treat yourself. Moreover, our team cautions you to refrain from using direct-to-consumer aligners and urges you to seek a highly qualified dentist to guide you through the Invisalign® process.

What Is the Invisalign® Treatment Process Like?

Invisalign® treatment involves the patient wearing a series of trays that are made specifically from models of their teeth. The Invisalign® certified dentist will take impressions of the mouth, a series of photographs, and any pertinent x-rays prior to beginning treatment. Then, through the Invisalign® software, the dentist uses digital models to create the treatment plan and determine how to move the teeth in order to accomplish the desired result. The aligners are then manufactured and given to you to take home. Each aligner tray is designed somewhat differently from the one that came before it, with slight modifications to allow for a very gradual shifting of the teeth into the ideal position. The aligner will be worn for about two weeks and then discarded to make way for the next one in the series. The total number of Invisalign® aligner trays will be based on how long it is projected to take to reach the optimal results. The treatment is based on patient compliance – the trays are thin, clear, and comfortable, but they must be worn at almost all times (except while eating, brushing/flossing) in order for them to work. It is typically recommended that Invisalign® be worn at least 22 hours each day.

How Long Does Invisalign® Take?

Invisalign® is known for producing excellent results in a quicker amount of time when compared to braces. In fact, many patients see optimal outcomes of Invisalign® within about nine to 15 months. Some individuals may need to wear the aligners for longer periods; others for a shorter amount of time. The projected duration of the treatment ultimately depends on each patient’s orthodontic needs, the severity of their concerns, and their goals for results.

At the completion of treatment, retainers are provided for the patient to wear in order to maintain the alignment. Failure to wear the retainers often results in relapse of the tooth position, so it’s important to follow the recommendations of your dentist to make sure the results of Invisalign® last well into the future!

Does Invisalign® Hurt?

Without the need for wires and braces to correct orthodontic concerns, Invisalign® is often a more comfortable treatment when compared to other techniques. When you first start wearing the aligners, you may feel a bit of soreness or pressure for a few days—this can happen as the mouth begins adjusting to the plastic aligners. In most cases, an over-the-counter pain medicine is all that’s necessary to alleviate these temporary effects.

How to Clean Invisalign® Aligners

Cleaning your Invisalign® aligners is a cinch. A good scrub with a toothbrush under warm water (be careful about the temperature—water that is too hot may alter the shape of the aligners) is typically quite enough to adequately clean the appliances. Using an antibacterial soap can give the aligners an even deeper cleaning; however, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before putting them back in.

What Does Invisalign® Cost? 

It is very important to note that Invisalign® procedures are completely customized for each individual patient’s unique orthodontic needs, so the total price of Invisalign® varies. The complexity and severity of your orthodontic concerns, the number of Invisalign® clear teeth aligners that will be necessary for the best results, the projected length of your treatment, and other factors will be taken into account for the final cost.

A friendly member of our dental team will produce a cost estimate that includes all associated expenses once your personalized treatment plan is developed during the initial consultation. We are also happy to talk with you about the variety of payment methods we accept at our practice, or answer your questions about dental care financing that can help pay for your Invisalign® treatment over time. Our office works with several reputable lending agencies that offer convenient financing plans for qualified applicants. We believe a beautiful, healthy smile should be within reach for everyone, regardless of their personal financial situation. Our team looks forward to helping you achieve your goals in a way that best fits your budget.

Is Invisalign® Covered by Insurance?

Since Invisalign® is categorized as an orthodontic treatment, many dental insurance policies that cover orthodontic care also offer at least partial coverage for Invisalign®. We can help you navigate your insurance benefits to determine whether Invisalign® is a covered treatment.

Invisalign® Teen

Invisalign® is available in a form that is specifically designed for the unique orthodontic needs of teenage and adolescent patients. Invisalign® Teen utilizes essentially the same principles and techniques as the standard version for adults, and provides teenagers who may be particularly self-conscious about orthodontic treatment with a discreet way to address misalignment and bite concerns. This option can be ideal for adolescent patients who would like to make sure they can attend school and social events without worrying about the appearance of their smile as they undergo orthodontic treatment.

How to Choose an Invisalign® Dentist

As you begin the process of researching the best Invisalign® dentist for your needs, there are some things to look for that can help you in your search. Familiarizing yourself with a prospective dentist’s experience with Invisalign® is often a good place to start. You can typically get a general idea of a dentist’s background on the practice’s website, and you can also contact the dentist directly to find out more about their training and skills as they relate to Invisalign® in particular, such as whether they are an Invisalign®-certified dentist. Determining how many Invisalign® treatments the dentist has performed, and inquiring as to how successful the procedure has been for previous patients, can also be helpful. If you feel like you have found the best choice among dentists in your area, you can then schedule a consultation. This can serve as the final step in your research as you talk with the dentist about your goals and evaluate your rapport to determine if you feel comfortable and confident in the dentist’s care.

We will be happy to provide you with any information regarding our dentist’s experience with Invisalign®, and we look forward to answering your questions!

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Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Invisalign®

What is Invisalign® made of?

The custom-designed Invisalign® aligners are composed of a flexible, clear plastic material called SmartTrack®. This special type of thermoplastic is very thin, allowing it to fit as well as possible over the teeth.

How noticeable is Invisalign®?

The limited noticeability of Invisalign® is one of the treatment’s most popular benefits. The transparent aligners involve no mechanical parts and are virtually see-through. While they are on the teeth, they are practically invisible.

What can I drink with Invisalign®?

Water is perfectly fine to drink while your Invisalign® aligners are still on the teeth; however, it’s best to take some precautions with other types of beverages. Drinks such as tea and wine can stain the aligners. Also, hot beverages may warp the plastic composition of the aligners. It can be helpful to use a straw for beverages other than water. You may want to remove the aligners for drinking certain kinds of beverages, but be sure that the aligners stay in for at least 22 hours each day. If you would like to keep the aligners in while drinking beverages that are high in sugar or for drinks that could leave stains, please be sure to brush your teeth and clean the aligners right after consumption.

How long do I need to wear a retainer after Invisalign®?

In most cases, patients who have orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign® or braces will need to wear a retainer after the initial treatment is complete. This is necessary in order to maintain the new and improved position of the teeth and prevent them from gradually reverting back to the previous position. How long you will need to wear a retainer is dependent on your individual needs; our dentist will be able to provide more specific instructions once you have been evaluated. For many patients, a retainer will be required full-time for several months, and then that time can be reduced to the point that you will only need to wear it at night for a specified period.

What is the best age to get Invisalign®?

In terms of an Invisalign® candidate’s age, we do not generally recommend this treatment for children. With that in mind, we typically perform Invisalign® procedures for patients aged 16 and older, and there is no upper age limit. The initial oral evaluation of each individual’s needs and goals will help determine whether Invisalign® may be an ideal solution.

Does Invisalign® work faster than braces?

Provided the patient wears their aligners for the recommended amount of time and strictly adheres to maintenance instructions, Invisalign® can achieve optimal straightening results in as little as nine to 15 months. They generally work faster than traditional braces, which typically take around two years to straighten teeth. However, this will ultimately depend on the complexity of a patient’s treatment plan.

Can I chew gum with Invisalign®?

Our dentists advise you not to chew gum while wearing your Invisalign® aligners, as gum can damage your custom trays. In addition, gum containing sugar can cause buildups of harmful bacteria, which can in turn cause tooth decay and stains. If you want to chew gum while going through the Invisalign® treatment process, you will need to temporarily remove your aligners. Keep in mind, though, that this should be done minimally, as you should wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day for best results.

Can I smoke with Invisalign®?

It is highly recommended that if you are using Invisalign® you refrain from smoking, as it can not only damage your aligners but also impact the health of your mouth. For those who were smokers before seeking out Invisalign® treatment, it is often advised by their cosmetic dentist that they quit before receiving their corrective aligners.

If you choose to smoke while undergoing Invisalign® treatment, the aligners should first be removed, and you should brush your teeth before returning the trays to your mouth. This should be done minimally, though, as you will need to wear your aligners for the majority of every day in order to achieve optimal results. In general, while it is possible to smoke with Invisalign®, our dentists typically recommend avoiding it to prevent unnecessary complications with the treatment process.

How often will I need Invisalign® follow-up appointments?

In order to achieve optimal benefits and results from your Invisalign® treatment, you will need to follow a strict schedule of visiting your cosmetic dentist. Generally, you will have a follow-up appointment every four to eight weeks to monitor your progress. The check ups will allow the cosmetic dentist to analyze your progress and make adjustments if necessary.

Can I switch to Invisalign® if I currently have braces?

Whether you can switch to Invisalign® if you already have braces will be dependent on your individual case. Making this transition is possible for many people, such as those wanting to change to a discreet or removable braces system, but not everyone may be a good candidate. Each person’s braces and Invisalign® treatment plan will be tailored to their specific needs and, as a result, each case will be different.

If the braces process is far enough along, it may be in your best interest to simply finish out your current treatment. In addition, if you have more advanced orthodontic needs, Invisalign® may not be the best option for correcting your complex concerns. Before any decisions about switching treatments are made, your dentist will assess your orthodontic needs and treatment progress.

How does Invisalign® move the teeth?

Using a patented thermoplastic material, Invisalign® aligners are able to gradually move teeth by causing gentle and consistent tension. This subtle manipulation slowly repositions and shifts the overall alignment of your teeth. As you graduate to the next set of aligners in your treatment series, you should be able to see your results continue to develop.

Who invented Invisalign®?

Zia Chishti invented the original design of Invisalign® during the 1990s while attending Stanford University. Chishti was undergoing his own orthodontics treatment when he came up with the idea for Invisalign®. He and Kelsey Wirth teamed up with other Stanford students to create the product.

Do you have questions about Invisalign®

Contact Delmarva Dental Services today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

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