In recent years, orthodontics has seen some pretty impressive advancements in both technology and technique. This has given patients more treatment options than ever before, including Invisalign, a popular alternative to traditional braces. The Invisalign clear aligner system offers the same results as braces without any brackets, wires, or bands, making them a perfect choice for patients who want a little extra flexibility as they straighten their smile.
If you’ve been considering treatment with Westfall Orthodontics, but prefer a more subtle option that will let you keep your normal routine intact throughout the process, Invisalign could be just what you’re looking for! But what exactly is Invisalign, and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look at this innovative system!
What is Invisalign?
Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, meaning they are affixed to the teeth and can only be removed by an orthodontist. By contrast, Invisalign uses a series of removable clear trays to gently move the teeth over time. While the trays may look simple, they’re actually made of a special thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to correct a variety of common orthodontic issues. To achieve this, the customized aligners are switched out at regular intervals throughout the treatment process.
How does Invisalign work?
The first step in your orthodontic journey is an initial consultation with Dr. Westfall in our Abingdon, Bristol, or Richlands office. During this visit, he will examine your mouth, discuss any orthodontic needs, and let you know if your smile seems to be a good fit for Invisalign. Following this, we can begin mapping out a precise treatment plan for you. This will be based on a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums that includes the exact movements we want your teeth to make. It will also gives us some indication of how long we believe treatment will take.
With this plan in place, we can custom design your aligners using the 3D scan and Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material. This material is durable, comfortable, and virtually invisible! The total number of aligners each patient requires will vary from case to case, but the average is usually somewhere between 10 and 48. Total treatment times also vary, but tend to be from 6-24 months for most patients.
Because Invisalign aligners are removable, patient compliance is essential. In order for treatment to work properly, you’ll need to wear your aligners for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment. Depending on your specific treatment plan, you’ll also switch to a new aligner every 1-2 weeks, and will see Dr. Westfall every 6-8 weeks or so. During these check-ups, he’ll check the movements your teeth are making and ensure everything is proceeding as it should.
What benefits does Invisalign offer?
Besides the comfort and invisibility of Invisalign aligners, the system offers other benefits as well! The food restrictions that come with braces can be one of the biggest learning curves, as patients must avoid anything too chewy or crunchy until treatment is complete. That means avoiding a number of foods, like whole apples and carrots, popcorn and most chips, and many different kinds of candy, too. Although it’s definitely worth all the effort in the end, it can be a bit frustrating at times. Fortunately, Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed when you eat or drink anything other than water, so all your favorite foods are still on the table!
Having removable aligners also makes it easier to care for your teeth and gums while you’re undergoing treatment. Oral hygiene is especially important as an orthodontic patient, but braces can make brushing and flossing difficult and time-consuming. With Invisalign, aligners are simply taken out before brushing and flossing. Cleaning them is a simple process, too! There are special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.
Removable aligners are also useful for those who play contact sports, play music, or for special occasions when you just want your natural smile to shine through, such as weddings, prom, senior pictures, and homecoming dances.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
Generally speaking, Invisalign works best for teen and adult patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. When you have your initial consultation with us, Dr. Westfall will be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you. If a more traditional treatment method would be better for your smile, he will recommend that to you instead.
What happens once treatment is complete?
Even with orthodontic treatment, the teeth will retain memories of their previous place in the mouth. There’s a natural tendency for them to drift back to their original positions over time, which is why it’s so important to wear a retainer regularly! Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, we’ll provide you with a retainer to help prevent any drifting and keep your newly straightened smile in place. For the best results, you should always wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Westfall.
Find your best smile with Westfall Orthodontics
Invisalign continues to gain popularity as an alternative to traditional braces, and changes the way people view orthodontic treatment every day! If you’d like to learn more about how Invisalign could improve your smile, get in touch today to schedule a complimentary consultation with our talented team. We’re here to help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of!