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How Does Invisalign Work?

A Thorough Overview of Invisalign

Clear, less noticeable, and often preferred by both teens and adults, Invisalign braces get a lot of attention from people who want to correct their smiles. If you are in the Birmingham area and think Invisalign could be the best solution for your dental issues, it’s best to get a formal introduction to these braces to get you started. Here’s a breakdown of what issues Invisalign can correct, how these braces differ from metal versions, how the process works, and more. 

Types of Problems Invisalign Can Correct

Invisalign can correct many of the common bite and alignment issues much the same as regular braces. Some of the common dental issues that may be corrected with treatment include: 

  • Teeth crowding
  • Slight underbite 
  • Overbite 
  • Gaps between teeth 
  • Slight crossbite
  • Open bite 

Aligner braces are most often recommended for patients who have mild to moderate issues. The aligners may not be enough to correct moderate to severe problems. Your chosen dentist will work with you to determine if Invisalign braces will be effective for the issues with your smile. 

Benefits of Invisalign vs. Metal Braces

Reasons to choose invisible braces over metal braces are not hard to find. Most people naturally choose Invisalign because they can get the work done they need without the braces being as visible. The aligners are crystal clear and conform to your teeth, so most people do not know that you are wearing braces unless they get really close to you. But beyond the aesthetic value compared to metal braces, there are several other advantages, including: 

  • The aligners can be removed for special events, such as a class reunion or date 
  • You can eat whatever you want; metal braces come with a long list of foods to avoid 
  • The aligners will not cause abrasions on your lips or mouth
  • It is easier to keep your teeth properly cleaned because the aligner is removable and dental hygiene pretty much stays the same

The Invisalign Clear Braces Process

The clear aligner braces gradually straighten your smile over time by putting gentle pressure on certain teeth to push or pull them into the proper position. To achieve this, the dentist will first get several 3D images of your teeth and mouth and do some examinations. You will get a set of aligners to take home that will have to be changed every few weeks. Periodically, you will visit the dentistry center to check out your progress and to get a new set of aligners. 

The aligners are made specifically to fit your teeth and your teeth only. Each set of aligners will have a slightly different shape to coincide with your changing smile. You may feel a gentle pressure or tightness when you wear the aligners, but this should only cause minimal discomfort and should pass within a few days of wearing a new aligner. You will continue through the dental treatment process until your smile and bite imperfections are where they need to be. 

Patient FAQs About Invisalign Treatment 

Patients who feel like invisible braces are the best solution should talk openly with their dentist about any questions they have before treatment. When it comes to dentistry, the more informed you are, the more comfortable you will be with any procedure, including braces. Take a look at some of the general questions most patients have about Invisalign. 

How long will the treatment take?

Invisalign treatment can take a different length of time for every patient. The dentist will create a plan to follow in the beginning, but that plan may have to be adjusted throughout the course of treatment depending on how well things move along. Generally, patients will wear the aligners for between 12 and 18 months. 

Do you have to visit the dentist more frequently with Invisalign?

Appointments with Invisalign are no more frequent than what they are with regular braces. At each appointment, you will get a set of aligners and told when to change them. You will only return to the dentist when you need a new set of aligners and when you need to monitor your progress. 

Do you wear the aligners while eating or drinking?

It is recommended that you take your aligners off while eating, snacking, or chewing gum to prevent damage. You can wear your aligners while drinking, but some drinks may leave stains on the aligners, such as coffee, tea, or dark-colored juices. If you can’t take your aligners off while drinking, make sure you properly clean them after you do drink something that could stain them. 

Does Invisalign work for adults and children?

Invisalign works for both adults and children, and it can be used on both baby and permanent teeth. Some adults may see a longer treatment plan than children; it just depends on how well your teeth respond to treatment. 

How do you keep the aligner clean?

Most importantly, take your aligners off while you eat and make sure you clean them regularly. Your dentist may give you a cleaning solution to keep the aligner clean when they are not being worn. If you take your aligners off and eat, brush, floss, and rinse your mouth before putting the aligners back on to prevent causing stains inside. 

Do you still have to wear a retainer after Invisalign?

Wearing a retainer helps prevent your teeth from shifting after treatment. Almost all types of dentistry treatment with braces will require that you wear a retainer after treatment concludes. However, this is also something that is done on a case-by-case basis, so whether or not you need a retainer can vary. 

Getting braces of any kind can be a big decision to make. Your best plan of action is to schedule a consultation with a dentist to discuss your questions and options. If you would like to know more about Invisalign, reach out to us at Great Smiles Birmingham for an appointment. 

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