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Survival Guide: Invisalign

Here at Swan Orthodontics, we love Invisalign! The clear aligner system is an innovative treatment option that offers many of our patients a flexible alternative to traditional braces. The use of aligners to move teeth is a relatively simple concept as orthodontics go, but treatment of any kind is a big commitment. While it’s exciting to start the journey towards a healthier smile with Invisalign, it’s also normal to feel a little unsure about what to expect if you’re unfamiliar with the process.

Orthodontics is at its most successful when you’re a full partner in your treatment plan,  and we want you to feel fully confident in the trust you’ve placed in us. That’s why we’ve put together this survival guide to Invisalign to help you better understand what the system is, how it works, and how you can get the most out of your clear aligners. Ready to learn more? Let’s take a look!

(Are you a good candidate for Invisalign? Click here to schedule a free consultation with us and find out!)

What is Invisalign?

Rather than using brackets, wires, and bands like traditional braces, Invisalign utilizes a series of clear aligners instead. These aligners are made of a special thermoplastic resin custom-designed for your smile, so they fit snugly and comfortably over your own teeth. Because they are removable and nearly invisible, Invisalign aligners can be an excellent alternative to traditional braces for many teen and adult patients.

How does the Invisalign system work?

Once Dr. Swan has determined that Invisalign is a good fit for your smile, we’ll begin the process of custom designing your aligners. Using a highly-detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums, we’ll map out a precise treatment plan that’s been personalized just for you. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and can give us some indication of how long your treatment is likely to take. You may even get the chance to see what your smile will look like once treatment is complete!

Invisalign aligners are created from a special SmartTrack® material that is durable but comfortable. The total number of aligners worn during the treatment process will vary from patient to patient, but the average tends to be somewhere around 18-30 aligners. Treatment time also depends on each individual case, but in general, most patients are finished in 9-15 months. It’s important to note that this could be longer or shorter depending on your specific case.

Patients play an important role in the success of the Invisalign system. Unlike braces, which are a fixed appliance, Invisalign aligners are removable. That means it’s up to you to wear them exactly as directed, keeping them in for at least 20-22 hours each day throughout the course of treatment. Failure to do so can lengthen your treatment time and affect your results.

Aligners also need to be changed regularly to keep up with the movement of your teeth. This will usually happen every one or two weeks, but this will depend on your personalized treatment plan. Regular check-ups are another essential part of the treatment process, just like with braces, so you can expect follow-up appointments at our Caledonia office every 6-12 weeks or so.

Maintaining a good dental hygiene routine with Invisalign

Good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it’s even more essential if you’re an orthodontic patient. Fortunately, Invisalign makes it easy to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean! Simply remove the aligner before brushing and flossing the way you normally would. We recommend our orthodontic patients brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss every night before bed.

Keeping your aligners clean is important, too. Dried saliva and plaque can breed bacteria, so rinse them every time you remove them. You can also soak them in denture cleaner or special Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep the trays clear and sanitized. Brushing your aligners is another option, but take care to do it gently and carefully. Brushing too hard can scratch your aligners and leave visible etchings. Avoid using any toothpaste when cleaning your aligners, since many brands have abrasive agents that can dull the aligners, or create small openings for bacteria.

The best candidates for Invisalign

Invisalign can be an excellent option for many of the most common orthodontic issues in teens and adults. For cases that are more severe or complex, we may recommend other treatment methods. When you schedule a free consultation with our office, we’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is likely to work well for you and your smile!

Dr. Swan and patient

Once your Invisalign treatment is complete

Treatment doesn’t stop once you’ve gone through all your aligners. Once the active phase is complete, your teeth will still retain memories of their previous place in your mouth, but they have a tendency to start drifting back towards those original positions over time. That’s why retainers are such an important part of the overall treatment process! After Dr. Swan provides you with a retainer, you should always wear it as directed to help prevent any of that natural drifting and keep your newly straightened smile stay in place.

Invisalign is the clear choice at Swan Orthodontics

Here at Swan Orthodontics, our entire team is committed to providing you with a positive and stress-free orthodontic experience. Like anything new, the Invisalign system can take a little getting used to. Stick with it, and before you know it, it will be just one more part of your daily routine! Remember that we’re also available to help if you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan.

If you’re in Caledonia or the surrounding areas, we’d love to meet you and share more about how Invisalign can change your smile – and your life! – for the better. Give us a call today to schedule your FREE exam and take the first step towards a healthier, straighter smile using Invisalign system!