Invisalign is a completely new approach to orthodontic treatment. In the past, the only way to straighten teeth and correct bites was with metal braces, which used a combination of brackets and archwires to push and pull your teeth into alignment. In contrast, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners to gently shift your teeth into the exact positions planned by your dentist. Although it is an orthodontic treatment, it is often offered by general dentists as a complement to their cosmetic dentistry services. Here’s how Invisalign works and what you can expect from the process.
Your First Appointment
During your first appointment, Dr. Levitt will evaluate your orthodontic needs to determine if Invisalign is the right fit for you. Although Invisalign does work well for most patients, there are some who have complex orthodontic cases that are better treated with traditional braces.
If you are a good candidate for Invisalign, the process begins by using an advanced digital scanner to take impressions of your bite. If you’ve had traditional impressions taken with trays and impression material in the past, you’ll find this is a much more comfortable experience! These scans take only seconds to create and they give us a better view of your mouth.
With this image, we’re able to create a three-dimensional model of your smile on our computer. We can even show you a preview of what your teeth will look like once your treatment is complete! Dr. Levitt uses the model of your smile to carefully plan your Invisalign treatment. Each set of aligners you wear will bring you a little bit closer to the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted by using gentle pressure to move your teeth into proper alignment.
Wearing Your Invisalign Aligners
Your treatment plan will be sent to Invisalign, where your aligners are made from a state-of-the-art clear plastic material. Once the aligners arrive at our office, we’ll ask you to come in to pick them up so you can begin treatment. Then every two weeks, or as directed, you’ll switch to a new set of aligners.
Invisalign moves your teeth predictably and gradually. Many patients who have had experience with traditional metal braces as teens find that Invisalign is much more comfortable. As long as you wear your aligners for at least 22 hours each day, you’re likely to achieve your results in 12 to 18 months, which is the average for most patients. Only take your aligners out for eating, brushing, and flossing.
Every four to six weeks, you’ll come back to our office so Dr. Levitt can examine your teeth and make sure your treatment is on the right track. These appointments are painless and quick, but they’re quite important—it’s this close oversight by a dentist that sets Invisalign apart from mail order aligners, which can result in damage to your teeth.
Your Invisalign Results
Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, your results will last as long as you maintain them. This means you’ll have to wear a retainer after you’ve finished with your aligners.
We offer Invisalign Vivera retainers, which look just like aligners, but they’re made with a thicker plastic for increased durability. You’ll wear your retainers all day at first, just like you did with your aligners, but eventually you’ll switch to nighttime use only.