What comes to your mind when you think about braces? Does the image of a mouth full of metal brackets and wires appear? Do months of adjustments and painstaking care flood your thoughts? Though traditional braces require a significant amount of time and commitment, there are other options that are not as invasive or noticeable. Here are just a few options for braces that are not as noticeable as metal braces:
- Ceramic braces- These can come in the same color as your teeth so they can blend in with the rest of your mouth.
- Invisalign– These clear “retainer”- like teeth molds can be inserted and removed at will.
Of the options, the only one that doesn’t involve gluing brackets onto your teeth or inserting any wires is Invisalign. It’s a popular braces alternative for anyone who doesn’t want brackets and for those who want the option of a less-invasive procedure. It’s the most popular among adults and teens because the molds can be easily removed for eating, whereas braces are permanent until they’re removed.
How Invisalign Works
First, you’ll have a consultation with your orthodontist to see if Invisalign is the option that will best correct your teeth. Overall, Invisalign is meant to straighten out moderate to minor imperfections like crooked teeth. If you have bite issues or severely problematic tooth alignment, then this option may not be strong enough to completely fix them.
If your condition is approved for Invisalign, then your mouth will be set into a mold which your dentist will use as a model for your first clear tooth-aligner. You’ll then receive a clear tooth mold, also known as an “aligner”, that resembles a mouth guard or retainer. It will be close to your current teeth’s shape but with some slight alterations that are meant to guide your teeth into a more uniform position. Each treatment plan is uniquely tailored to the patient’s condition.
Over the course of your treatment, you’ll receive new aligners that will further guide your teeth to their desired positions. When you’ve met your correction goals, you’ll then receive a retainer you’ll need to wear for a certain frequency until your teeth have settled. You most likely need to wear your retainer weekly for an extended period of time to keep the results of your Invisalign treatment in place.
How Long Does Invisalign Last?
The short answer is 12 months, which is the average treatment time. Of course, this means that treatments can be shorter or longer than this duration – for very mild cases treated with Invisalign Express, the treatment can be done in as little as 3 months!
The treatment’s length depends on a variety of factors like:
- How much treatment you need. Are your teeth just lightly crooked or are there some more dramatic imperfections to correct? The more severe your problem, the longer it will take.
- How well you stay on track. Invisalign is unique in that you can take the molds out anytime you want. It’s advised that you only take them out to eat, brush, floss, and clean them. Sometimes people “cheat” on their treatment and take their Invisalign out for special occasions like proms, hangouts, or dates. However, be advised that the more time you spend away from treatment, the longer it will take to work. We advise that you wear your aligners about 22hrs/day.
- How faithfully you keep your appointments. Though life can get busy, it’s important to make it to your appointments for new fittings and to receive your new mold. If you postpone your appointments, you postpone your progress as well.
If you stay on top of your prescribed treatment and follow all the guidelines from your orthodontist, you’ll have the fastest treatment time for your specific tooth alignment needs. Remember, your Invisalign journey is only temporary. You’re investing in a lifetime of beautiful teeth that only requires a short time of lifestyle changes.
Is Invisalign Right For You?
The only sure way to know if Invisalign is the braces option for you is to schedule a free consultation. We’ll be able to take a look at your teeth and tell you what kind of treatment options are available to you, including Invisalign. If you have any questions about our orthodontic treatments or any other dental services we provide, simply give us a call during our business hours or leave us a message.