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Invisalign: A Clear Alternative

Everybody wants a great smile, but a lot of us need help getting there. More and more people are having success with clear orthodontic devices called aligners. By using a series of clear removable aligners, Invisalign straightens your teeth right before your eyes. We change them about every two weeks, and your teeth can move—little by little, week by week—until they have moved to the final position that's been prescribed. Invisalign is comfortable to wear and is also removable so you can eat, drink, brush, and floss as usual.

One of the primary concerns people often have about dental braces is the aesthetic impact of the metalwork on their smile. Especially for adults, the prospect of wearing unattractive metal braces for long periods of time can be very discouraging.  Invisalign® offers an almost invisible aligning system that straightens teeth fast and contains no metal.

Invisalign® treatment consists of a series of custom-made aligning trays.  The dentist changes the trays every several weeks to fit the new tooth configuration.  In addition to the reduced visual impact, Invisalign® aligning trays can be temporarily removed for important occasions – meaning that treatment duration is patient-controlled.  A great number of people report complete satisfaction with both the Invisalign® treatment and the stunning results.

What are the primary benefits of Invisalign?

1)     Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible. No one may even notice that you're wearing them, making Invisalign a seamless fit with your lifestyle
2)      Invisalign aligners are removable. For the best results and a timely outcome, aligners should be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day. However, unlike with braces, you have the flexibility to remove your aligners to eat and drink what you want during treatment. And you can also remove the aligners to brush and floss as you normally would, for fresh breath and good oral hygiene
3)      There are no metal brackets or wires that could cause irritation to your mouth, an advantage over traditional braces. Plus, since your office visits during treatment don't involve metal or wire adjustments, you'll likely spend less time in the doctor's chair
4)      Invisalign allows you to view your virtual results and treatment plan before you start so you can see how your straightened teeth will look when your treatment is complete. Instead of imagining how much better it can be, you'll be able to see it for yourself

What kind of bite problems can Invisalign® correct?

Invisalign® corrects the same dental problems as traditional metal braces; the only difference is that Invisalign® trays are almost invisible to the naked eye, and can be removed at will.

Here are some problems that are commonly corrected with Invisalign®:
1)      Overcrowding – This occurs when there is too little space for the teeth to align normally in the mouth.  Overcrowding can cause tooth decay and increase the likelihood of gum disease.
2)       Large gaps between teeth – This can sometimes occur because teeth are missing or because the jaw continues to grow abnormally.
3)      Crossbite – This common dental problem occurs when one or multiple upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth.  As a consequence, uneven wear can lead to bone erosion and gum disease.
4)      Overbite – This problem occurs when the upper teeth project further than, or completely cover, the lower teeth.  Eventually, jaw pain and TMJ may occur.
5)      Underbite – This is the inverse of the overbite; the lower teeth project further than, or completely cover, the upper teeth.  Eventually, jaw pain and TMJ can occur.

What advantages does Invisalign® offer over traditional braces and veneers?

Traditional dental braces, Invisalign® aligning trays, and dental veneers are three different ways to perfect the alignment of the teeth.  There are many different considerations to make when deciding which treatment will be best, and each of these options works better in certain situations.

Invisalign® differs from traditional braces in that the aligning trays are fully removable.  This means that more discipline and commitment is required from the patient.  This is not usually a problem since the trays are comfortable and nearly invisible.  Almost identical results can be obtained by using either treatment.

Invisalign® is preferable to veneers in many cases because unlike veneers, Invisalign® actually straightens the teeth. Veneers are thin covers that the dentist permanently affixes to the teeth.  Teeth must be etched beforehand, meaning that to remove dental veneers, an alternative covering must be constructed.  In addition to being somewhat expensive, veneers can break and often last for less than 20 years.

What does Invisalign® treatment involve?

The first step after deciding to move ahead with Invisalign® is having a digital 3-D laser scan of your mouth using our Itero scanner so your custom aligners can be made. They will also need some other photos and panoramic x-rays of your entire mouth. After starting treatment, you will need to wear your aligners as much as possible, removing them only to eat, brush, and floss. Each set of aligners will be worn for about 2 weeks - each set brings your teeth closer to their final position. Most patients go through 18 – 30 sets of aligners in about 9 – 15 months before their teeth are properly aligned, but the amount of aligners and total time will vary for each patient.  After completion of treatment, you should expect to wear a retainer each night to prevent your teeth from drifting and undoing the treatment.

What are some considerations when wearing Invisalign® trays?

Life with Invisalign® aligning trays may take several weeks to get used to.  The trays should be worn constantly, except when eating and drinking.  It is important to remove the trays when consuming food or drink because food can become trapped between the tray and the teeth, causing tooth decay.

Usually, new trays are necessary every two weeks, and progress between appointments can be seen with the naked eye. There is no doubt that Invisalign® aligning trays have revolutionized orthodontics.  Invisalign® is renowned for being both comfortable and effective.

Who is the best candidate?

It is for all ages.  It can be used to help patients with a variety of issues - widely spaced teeth, an overbite, an underbite, overly crowded teeth, or a cross bite. Patients must be willing to commit to wearing the aligners at all times unless they are eating, brushing their teeth, or flossing. Patients will also need to return to Dental Associates of Arlington every 4-6 weeks during their Invisalign treatment so Dr. Swift can check their progress and make adjustments as needed.

While most people think that braces are only for children and teenagers, Invisalign® is perfect for adults who had braces as teenagers but never wore their retainer.  It's also great for adults whose parents couldn't afford to give them braces but who now want to have their teeth straightened.

What is the general maintenance a patient has to do?

When the patient comes to see our cosmetic dentist for their first set of aligners, the our cosmetic dentist will will go over how to care for your Invisalign® aligners. When not in use, the aligners should be placed in a container that will be provided. At least weekly they need to soak for a couple of hours in a cleaning solution.  The dental staff will also go over a few of their own cleaning tips that have helped many of their patients keep their aligners in their best condition.

Once you’ve completed treatment and achieved your perfectly aligned smile, it’s important to maintain your results. Invisalign® offers Vivera® custom made retainers to wear each evening, the first one of which we provide at no charge. Using the same imaging technology, Vivera® retainers are 30% stronger than other clear retainers and are both durable and effective at keeping your teeth in place. Vivera® can also benefit patients who had traditional wire braces if they need a great retainer.

How do I get started with Invisalign?

It's simple — Contact us today at 781-648-0279 to schedule a free Invisalign consultation!  We will perform a Smile Assessment to see if invisalign in Arlington, MA is right for you.

Many patients come into Dental Associates of Arlington to get a complete Smile Makeover.  We serve communities like Arlington, MA, and surrounding areas like Belmont, Cambridge, Lexington, Medford, Somerville, Watertown, and Winchester.

For some patients Invisalign® is the first step in their total Smile Makeover treatment plan, as just like a house, a good foundation with the teeth in proper alignment will make any cosmetic work last much longer. However, for some patients Invisalign® braces by themselves along with some whitening may be all they need to get the smile they desire!