You’re thinking about straight, uniform, beautiful teeth and a head-turning smile. It could change your life, and certainly make you feel better about how you look. But if you’ve been told that before getting braces you’ll need tooth extractions, you may want to check out Invisalign.
Invisalign can effectively treat orthodontic issues while also, in some cases, eliminating the need for tooth extractions. However, Invisalign is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. You’ll need to meet with an Invisalign-certified dentist or orthodontist to learn whether this clear orthodontic aligner system is right for you.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign corrects a multitude of orthodontic issues, but much more discreetly than traditional braces. Invisalign has changed the way people view orthodontics. The process involves wearing a series of custom, clear aligners that fit snugly over the teeth. Each aligner shifts teeth into a new position. Over the course of about 18 months or less, teeth are moved into the ideal position.
Aligners perform the same work as braces, but without the distracting and sometimes painful metal. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign does not require wires or brackets, so there’s nothing to tighten and nothing to create sores in the mouth.
How does Invisalign work?
Your first appointment will involve taking a digital scan of your teeth. With the image, the dentist can create blueprints for your custom aligners. Fabricating aligners can take up to three weeks from start to finish.
Expect to attend another visit when the aligners are ready. You will try on your first set of aligners to make sure they fit properly. You may also need to have attachments applied to your teeth to hold the aligners in position. These attachments consist of tiny clear dots made from dental bonding material. The aligners slide over the attachments and fit securely.
Your dentist will give you a few aligners to wear in upcoming weeks, and you’ll need to schedule your next visit. Expect to see the dentist every eight weeks so that he or she can monitor the movement of your teeth. Feel free to run any questions or concerns by your dentist at your visits, or call the office any time.
Invisalign works by incrementally moving teeth until the desired results are achieved. Most patients wear each set of aligners for one or two weeks and then move on to the next set. During that time, each tooth can move up to a quarter of a millimeter. The entire process can take anywhere from a few months to about 18 months.
Wearing the aligners at least 20 to 22 hours per day will keep you on track to complete treatment as planned. Only remove the aligners to eat a meal and brush your teeth. Failure to wear the aligners the recommended time each day keeps teeth from moving as they should. Teeth can actually move back to their previous position, which is called relapse. If relapse occurs you may have to start all over.
What can Invisalign correct?
Invisalign can correct a multitude of dental issues. Some of the most common include:
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps between teeth
How can Invisalign prevent the need for tooth extraction?
Your dentist will tell you whether Invisalign will allow you to avoid extractions. He or she will need to evaluate your mouth and jaws, as well as x-rays.
If overcrowding is your issue, Invisalign may expand your dental arch and allow teeth to move into their proper position. If your arch expands, you may not need tooth extraction. The dentist will consider the level of crowding and how much additional space you need when determining your best treatment options.
Some patients, especially those with severe crowding, may need to have teeth slenderized. This will most likely occur later during treatment when teeth have had a chance to shift and valuable space has been created. Teeth slenderizing involves removing a tiny portion from one or both sides of a tooth or multiple teeth. This procedure is quick and results are immediate, and most importantly, it can eliminate the need for tooth extraction.
Teeth slenderizing alone is not a valid solution to overcrowding. When it is used in conjunction with an orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign, you may not need a tooth extraction.
If your dentist recommends tooth extraction due to tooth decay then Invisalign probably won’t be an effective treatment for your situation. This also applies to other serious dental issues such as a broken tooth or tooth infection. Invisalign works to straighten the teeth and reduce crowding. When a tooth needs extraction for health reasons, it should be replaced by a bridge or implant. Then the patient can consider orthodontics as a cosmetic treatment to straighten crooked teeth.
Dental needs vary, so check with the dentist to see if Invisalign is a wise treatment for you.
Am I a good candidate?
A good candidate for Invisalign has minor crowding, small gaps between teeth, or teeth that are crooked..
Responsible patients make great candidates for Invisalign. Treatment requires good self-discipline. Aligners should be worn 22 hours a day for seven days a week to remain on plan.
What can’t Invisalign correct?
Invisalign may not be the answer when a patient presents with extreme crowding, significant malocclusion,, or raised or lowered teeth (also referred to as intrusion or extrusion). Invisalign cannot correct teeth that are unerupted or impacted..
While Invisalign serves as an excellent option for many patients, it may not solve your dental issues.Metro Dental Care will provide you with solid advice on how to proceed with your treatment. We want to give you the best smile possible.
Schedule a Consultation to Learn More
If you’d like to learn more about Invisalign, please give our Denver office a call to schedule your initial consultation. The dentist will examine your teeth and determine the appropriate course of treatment. You can discuss your options and decide whether you’d like to move forward with the recommended treatment plan.
Metro Dental Care, a family-friendly dental practice, treats patients of all ages. We love helping our patients enjoy picture-perfect smiles. Please call us today at (303) 534-2626 to schedule a visit.