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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.

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

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.

Is Invisalign® covered by insurance?

Orthodontic procedures are often at least partially covered by many dental insurance policies, and Invisalign® is typically classified as such. Our dental team can assist you with determining whether your policy covers this treatment.

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.

Do you have questions about Invisalign®? Contact Delmarva Dental Services today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

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