A lot of patients don’t realize that they don’t always need to rely on braces for their dental corrections. At Central Texas Orthodontics of Austin, TX, we offer both braces and Invisalign. This gives our patients various options that can fit into their needs and their lifestyles. While we’d be happy to answer your questions in person, today we’re going to cover some common questions people have about clear aligners.
Do You Need To Wear Invisalign Every Day?
The Importance of Consistency
Invisalign is a type of clear aligner, meaning they fit over your teeth and can be removed. This benefit may tempt patients to take their aligners out more often than they should. The truth is, in order to do their job, these aligners should be worn most of the time.
It’s generally recommended that your aligners be worn for about 20 to 22 hours each day; that leaves plenty of time to take them out so you can enjoy your meals and brush your teeth. To put things into perspective, braces are worn around the clock. Similarly, to enjoy the great results clear aligners can offer, it’s important to leave them in as much as possible so they can work their magic.
Your Treatment Length
Depending on how mild or severe your dental needs are, your treatment schedule may vary. Invisalign is a series, and each individual set of aligners is usually worn for several weeks. Each set is custom-made for you and will help gradually correct your smile until you reach your dental goals.
While some patients can complete their treatment in as little as six months, many find that 12 months is sufficient, and other patients need a bit longer to get the results they’re looking for. Knowing what to expect for your needs will be easier once you come in for a dental evaluation. We’ll be able to talk about what your goals are and give you a realistic idea of how long your treatment should take.
Understanding Your Options
Most patients opt to treat their top and bottom teeth at the same time, but sometimes patients want a single arch treatment that only manages either their top or bottom teeth. Ultimately, the options are fairly flexible. The treatment is designed to be customizable for each patient, and we will also be offering you our experience and advice.
How Can I Take Care of My Clear Aligners?
Keep Things Consistent
As your aligners become a daily part of your life, it’s important to make sure you make a habit of putting them somewhere safe and consistent when you take them out. Keeping them out of the curious reach of pets or young kids will help keep your aligners safe, and help you avoid unexpected delays in your treatment.
Have Extra Cases
It’s important to keep your aligners secure both when you’re at home and when you’re on the go. It can be helpful to have extra protective cases. That way if you lose one of your cases, or find yourself wanting a spare to bring along on a trip, you’ll be covered.
Keeping a case already packed in your gym bag or purse can help relieve stress, as you’ll know you’ll always be prepared.
Regularly Clean Them
If you don’t clean your aligners, you could end up reintroducing bacteria to your clean teeth when you put the aligners back on after brushing. Keeping your aligners clean will also help them stay clear, so your smile can look its best.
Some patients find that tracking their progress is a useful way to stay motivated. Taking occasional progress pictures of your teeth, or marking milestones down on the calendar can help you stay excited and keep up all your efforts.
What Can Be Fixed With Clear Aligners?
A consultation is your best bet for knowing whether braces or aligners would be the better fit for you. With that in mind, this is a versatile treatment that can help quite a few people.
Even if braces end up being a useful tool for you, sometimes it’s possible to use braces and aligners together. As an example, if you start your treatment with braces, you may be able to finish your results off with Invisalign so you won’t have to wear your braces as long.
Teeth that are packed too tightly together are often misaligned. Crooked teeth can cause uneven jaw alignment, which can lead to jaw and neck pain. Uneven tooth wear is another issue since premature enamel loss can lead to early tooth decay and an increased risk of losing teeth earlier on in life.
Whether you want to improve the spacing of your teeth for health or aesthetic reasons, clear aligners are a helpful way to achieve that.
Some patients want to reduce gaps between their teeth due to aesthetic preferences, while others find that these gaps have affected their speech, or their ability to comfortably eat their favorite foods. Just as this treatment can space overcrowded teeth out, it can also bring teeth closer together if needed.
Underbites and Overbites
Underbites and overbites are both fairly common alignment issues that can affect the structure of your jaw, and the health and appearance of your teeth. Since this treatment works by gradually correcting the position of your teeth, it can help your jaw and teeth both settle into a more well-aligned and comfortable position.
What Benefits Can I Expect?
True to their name, these aligners are nearly invisible when they’re being worn. The clear material is able to slide seamlessly over your teeth and allows them to show through. For patients who don’t want the visual aspect of braces but would like to pursue dental corrections, this could be the way to go.
If you have an event like a wedding coming up but don’t want to endlessly put off your dental corrections, this treatment can let you get started without worrying about looking back on the memories and seeing braces.
Do you suffer from allergies or food sensitivities? If so, it might be overwhelming to think of having to give up even more food options as you look into braces. Clear aligners allow you to keep eating whatever you like since you can simply remove the aligners during your meals. You won’t have to worry about whether your food is going to be too hard or chewy.
Keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces is very important. It can help avoid plaque buildup around the wires, brackets, and elastic. The problem is that some patients, especially if they’re busy, exhausted, or young, may try to cut corners when they brush their teeth. They may not brush as long as they should, or they may skip flossing if they find it too annoying to work around their braces.
While keeping your teeth clean is important with aligners too, Invisalign makes dental hygiene easier since you can take the aligners out and not have to work around braces. This can help make brushing and flossing more effective, which in turn should help protect your dental health and keep your breath fresh.
Another aspect that can make dental hygiene difficult is misaligned teeth. Even when you brush and floss as thoroughly as you can, misaligned teeth can create tight spaces where bacteria can thrive. Even with the use of professional dental tools, these areas can be challenging to address.
Having clean teeth has obvious benefits for the teeth themselves. It can help protect them from tartar, decay, and gum disease. Having healthy teeth is also important for the health of the whole body, as everything in the body is interconnected. By making dental hygiene easier, aligners can help you support the health of your body.
Aligners are made to handle a range of challenging dental corrections, but they’re also built to handle life. Of course, we don’t recommend purposely seeing how much your aligners can handle, but they are generally very strong and stable. For patients who have active jobs or active hobbies, this can be very good news.
Aligners don’t have any sharp corners since they’re made of well-rounded plastic. This drastically reduces friction. They also don’t have any brackets or wires, which can be prone to breaking during sports. This doubly helps with strength as well as comfort, which can be beneficial for patients with sensitive mouths.
Ready To Learn More During a Consultation?
Meeting with us is a great way to get individualized advice on any remaining questions you have. Contact us today at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, to set up your consultation and get yourself closer to a brand-new smile.