Invisalign has been used to treat orthodontic conditions for over 20 years. Many patients prefer it over traditional braces because the aligners are invisible, and they can be removed when eating or playing sports. At Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, we offer teeth straightening treatments to children, teenagers, and adults. Read on to find out how invisible aligners work and how many months it takes for you to achieve the perfect smile.
How Long Does Teeth Straightening Take with Invisalign?
Most orthodontic treatments involving invisible aligners take six to eighteen months. The exact duration depends on the kind of condition the patient is suffering from and the results they are hoping to achieve. Since treatment is fully customizable, each patient can get the smile they’ve always dreamed of.
While the person is being treated, they wear their aligners every day, and they are sent new trays whenever their teeth have adjusted to the current ones. Once the initial treatment is over, the patient returns to the clinic to have their bite evaluated. If they now have the smile they desired, treatment is complete. At that point, they’ll need to wear retainers for a few months.
How Does It Work?
If you’re interested in having your teeth straightened out, contact us at the clinic, and ask us for an initial consultation. We’ll take images and x-rays of your teeth to determine whether you’re a good candidate for invisible aligners. If so, we’ll create a digital model of your teeth and send it to the manufacturers, who will create trays for you.
The average patient needs 20-30 trays, and each one is worn for a week or two. However, those who have minor issues might require as few as 15, and those who need a significant correction might get up to 50 different aligners. You’ll have your first set of trays fitted at the clinic, but subsequent ones will be sent directly to your house.
What Happens After Treatment Is Complete?
When you’ve worn your last tray, you’ll return to the clinic, and you and your dentist will evaluate whether the desired outcome has been achieved. If you’ve used the invisible aligners as directed, there’s no reason why treatment shouldn’t work. In fact, around 96% of patients achieve their goals. To make sure your teeth don’t go back to their original shape, you’ll need to wear retainers for a while.
Each patient is different, so there are no general guidelines. We’ll evaluate your bite and let you know how long you’ll need to wear retainers. Typically, the first set is worn full time, like your invisible aligners. Then, you’ll be able to reduce the number of hours, until you’re only using retainers at night. Most patients can stop wearing them three to six months after they complete treatment.
Who Can Take Part in Treatment?
A wide range of orthodontic conditions can be addressed with invisible aligners. Most commonly, the trays are used to straighten out crooked teeth, but they are also effective at correcting certain kinds of overbite, crossbite, underbite, and open bite. If you have large gaps between your teeth or crowded teeth, invisible aligners might be suitable, but it depends on the severity of your issue.
People who have rotated teeth, problems with their gums, or teeth that are tilted forward or back might not be good candidates. Invisible aligners are unsuitable for anyone who has had previous dental work like a bridge or crowns. If you need to have a tooth extracted, you might not be eligible.
Is It Safe for Everyone?
Invisible aligners aren’t invasive, and there’s no need for an operation or anesthesia. For this reason, they are safe for virtually every patient, and even people who have other health conditions are able to take part in treatment. The trays are made of medical-grade thermoplastic polymers that can be worn safely for many months at a time. They don’t contain BPA or other toxic chemicals.
Invisible aligners aren’t made with latex, so they are suitable for patients who have a latex allergy. Despite this, it’s important to speak to your dentist about your medical history before starting treatments. Inform us about your past and current conditions, the medications you take, and any allergies you have. That way, we won’t recommend a treatment that could be unsafe for you.
The Benefits of Invisible Aligners
There are several teeth straightening treatments currently available. The most common ones are traditional metal braces and Invisalign. While both of these interventions are effective, many patients prefer invisible aligners because they don’t affect the appearance of the teeth, they’re more hygienic, very few lifestyle changes are required, and treatment is quick and easy.
Your Appearance Doesn’t Change
As you can tell from the name, invisible aligners are see-through, so most people won’t even notice that you’re wearing them. This is a great advantage for patients who are concerned about how braces change their appearance. Teenagers, in particular, love invisible aligners because they don’t have to worry about being bullied at school.
The treatment is also popular with people who are getting orthodontic treatment at an older age. These patients often need to appear professional at their job, so they can’t have traditional braces. Invisible aligners aren’t visible, and they can be taken out during important meetings and presentations. That way, patients can improve their smiles without having to compromise their professional life.
One of the most difficult things about getting braces is that you have to change your oral hygiene routine. There are special devices that help patients to brush and floss with braces, but even if they are used diligently, problems like cavities and gum disease sometimes occur. With invisible aligners, this isn’t a problem. Before you eat or drink something other than water, you simply take your trays out.
When you’re done, you brush your teeth and pop the aligners back into your mouth. In the evening, you remove them and clean them with a special solution. Since the trays are changed every week or fortnight, it’s highly unlikely that they will become discolored or unhygienic.
Few Lifestyle Changes Are Required
Most people spend around 10-15 minutes per day removing, re-inserting, and cleaning their invisible aligners. Because the process is quite simple, you don’t have to change your lifestyle or stop doing activities you love. If you participate in a high-impact sport, ask your doctor whether you should remove your aligners during training.
Because you remove your trays while you’re eating, you’ll still be able to consume all your favorite foods, even chewy and crunchy ones. This is important for people who are underweight or hoping to lose weight, since they need to maintain a specific kind of diet. It also makes invisible aligners particularly suitable for patients with allergies and food intolerances. Never eat while your trays are in your mouth because this could cause discoloration.
It’s Quick and Easy
When you get braces, you have to visit your dentist frequently. With invisible aligners, this isn’t the case. You simply come to the clinic for your initial consultation, during which we examine your teeth. If you’re eligible for treatment, we’ll either create the digital model of your mouth during the first meeting or book an additional session. Once the manufacturers have created your trays, you’ll come back to have the first one fitted.
You won’t have to return every time you need new trays. Instead, they are sent directly to your home. We’ll simply book an appointment at the clinic once every four to eight weeks to check on your progress.
It’s Not Very Painful
Many people avoid getting orthodontic treatment because they are worried that they’ll be in pain. Invisible aligners don’t cause a lot of discomfort because the change is very gradual. Each tray is only slightly different from the last one, so your teeth won’t be forced into an uncomfortable position. Usually, patients don’t feel pain, but they might experience slight pressure for one or two days when a new tray is fitted.
Achieve the Perfect Smile Now
Patients typically wear aligners for six to eighteen months, depending on the severity of their orthodontic condition. Afterward, they might need to use retainers for several months. Reach out to us at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX to find out more about Invisalign and our other teeth straightening methods. We’ll invite you to an initial consultation to determine whether you’re a good candidate and how many months you’ll need to wear your aligners.