Invisalign Clear Aligners for Teeth Straightening: How it Works

Before Invisalign, our options for straighter teeth typically involved metal braces. Braces are highly effective and can correct even severely misaligned jaws, but a perfect smile is attainable without the brackets for most crooked teeth.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a system of clear, custom aligners that fit snugly to your teeth to gently move them into the proper position over a period of months. Since the aligners are made from a transparent and flexible thermoplastic, they’re both sturdy and hardly visible.

As you progress through your treatment plan, you’ll use a series of trays to mold your teeth slowly and gently to the proper position. The aligners are designed to be worn most of the time—in fact, for best results, you wear them for 20-22 hours! Don’t worry. After you get used to them, they’re comfortable and barely noticeable.

What issues can Invisalign treat?

Invisalign is primarily associated with straightening smiles. These clear aligners are highly effective at adjusting the placement of your teeth to close gaps and reduce crowding. However, there are other distinct health benefits that clear aligners like Invisalign can provide.

  • Achieve a perfect smile
    In most cases, Invisalign can correct your teeth alignment in around 12-18 months.
  • Mild to moderate bite correction
    Misaligned bites can wear down your teeth, cause jaw pain, make chewing difficult, and cause speech impediments. Crossbites, overbites, and underbites can often be treated by using Invisalign. Correcting your bite concerns can help correct difficulties chewing, prevent painful injuries caused by unintentional bites to your tongue or cheek, and protect your enamel from grinding teeth.
  • Prevent tooth decay
    Crowded teeth that overlap give bacteria and plaque all sorts of nooks and crevices to hide in that are difficult for even the most advanced toothbrushes or floss to reach. After your teeth are straightened out, bacteria will have less of a place to hide, making your daily brushing sessions and dental cleanings far more effective.
  • Boost your self-esteem
    The mental health toll that comes from being self-conscious about your teeth shouldn’t be understated. Alignment correction helps patients feel more at ease, smile more freely, and feel more confident in their appearance.

Though Invisalign is versatile for most mouths, there are some situations where metal braces are more appropriate for your desired results. Invisalign may not be the right option for you if you have short or round teeth, highly rotated teeth, gaps larger than 6mm, or previous dental work like veneers, crowns, or bridges. If you’re interested and think you fit this criteria—don’t be discouraged. Go ahead and talk your options over with your dentist to see if Invisalign will work for you.

Benefits of Invisalign Over Other Treatment Options

Braces

Invisalign isn’t nearly as visible as traditional metal braces and won’t irritate the inside of your lips or cheeks like braces do. The other benefit of Invisalign is that you can eat any food you’d like during treatment since you’ll take your aligner out during meals. On the other hand, braces require a strict diet that avoids hard, chewy, or sticky foods.

Online aligner companies

Websites have popped up all over the internet, offering supposedly inexpensive clear aligner programs. However, these websites provide treatments that use inaccurate molding methods and aren’t monitored by a dentist.

Some may have good luck with these aligners, however, it’s a gamble. With online companies, you just can’t guarantee the materials will be of high quality, that your aligners will properly fit, or that your progress will be ideal.

Invisalign Treatment Process

Invisalign is a relatively simple process, but it does require a commitment to a few consistent appointments, regular cleaning, and extra care to ensure you get your wear time in. Let’s break down the process so you’ll know exactly what to expect from start to finish.

Initial Appointment

You’ll start by working directly with one of our dentists to ensure that Invisalign is a good fit for your smile goals. If you and your dentist agree that you are an ideal candidate, we’ll work together to determine your treatment time and protocol.

In the past, the mold of your teeth was created using a gooey dental putty that wasn’t much fun or entirely accurate. That isn’t the case now, thanks to advanced technology. Instead, we’ll use a digital scanner to analyze your teeth and create a 3D mold quickly. This method only takes a few minutes, is highly accurate, and can be received at the lab creating your aligners the same day.

While performing your digital scan, your dentist will also simulate what your smile will look like after your complete your Invisalign treatments.

Starting Your Aligners

Once we receive your aligners back from the laboratory, it’s time for your fitting. In some cases, you may have small, clear attachments placed on your teeth to help your aligners fit correctly. These are barely noticeable and temporary. After your aligners are on and you understand the process moving forward, you’ll be ready to get on a clear path to straight teeth.

Now, you will wear your aligners all the time except when you are eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. When you have your aligners out, go ahead and rinse them out before putting them back in.

While most wouldn’t describe Invisalign as painful, it can cause some mild soreness when you are first fitted with your aligners or when you change sizes.

Progress Reports

After a few weeks, your dentist will want to check in with you to make sure that your teeth are progressing properly. You will have these types of appointments periodically under your dentist’s guidance, however, switching to a new set of aligners will be done at home.

App-Powered Guidance

The nice thing about our approach to Invisalign is not every check-in needs to be in person. We use the app AlignFlow to provide virtual care outside of your regular in-person check-in appointments. This provides you with an easy form of communication so we can answer your questions and track much of your progress without the need for you to visit the office quite as regularly.

The app is truly the best of both worlds. You get detailed, in-person treatment alongside remote monitoring that nets great results with less time in the dentist’s chair.

Finish Line

After you have completed your treatment plan, you’ll have straight teeth! To protect your hard work, you’ll need to wear a retainer regularly at night for a while to give your bones time to adjust to your new teeth positions. Once your jaw settles, you can reduce your time wearing the retainer under the guidance of your dentist.

How much does Invisalign cost?

The cost of Invisalign varies based on your treatment plan, insurance coverage, and individual needs. At keith + associates, we partner with CareCredit to help make monthly payment plans easy and affordable.

Get started with Invisalign

Invisalign has been proven for over 20 years to provide great teeth straightening results safely, comfortably, and affordably. When clear aligners are correctly cleaned and cared for, they blend in with your teeth almost seamlessly, so you can smile with ease, even during treatment.

If you’re ready to get started with Invisalign, the experienced doctors at keith + associates are here to help. Our friendly staff is excited to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Call us at 913-384-0044 or book an appointment online to get started on the path towards beautifully straight teeth.

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