Having straight aligned teeth is something that many of us put at the top of our priority list. Whether you are a busy executive, a college student, or somewhere in between, we all know how vital our smiles can be. Our smiles help to exhibit self-confidence, which is critical in so many aspects of life. Just the act of smiling can be a mood booster and can help us have a better day than if we maintained a frown.
Crowded or crooked teeth can also lead to health issues, especially gum disease, which can contribute to diabetes, stroke, and heart disease when left untreated. For these reasons, many adults turn to Invisalign to get straighter teeth on the sly.
We understand that orthodontic treatment can be costly, especially when we have so many other competing priorities and expenses. Therefore, we want to help our patients be informed with the correct information about Invisalign to make an informed decision. Check out our list of the top 10 frequently asked questions about Invisalign. We’re convinced that the answers to your top questions will tell you everything you need to know.
Let’s start with the basics. Invisalign clear braces are made of comfortable and smooth BPA-free plastic that is worn directly over your teeth, subtly shifting those teeth over time into the correct position. Creating Invisalign clear aligners is relatively easy as your dentist uses X-rays, digital images, and impressions to make an accurate 3-D image of your teeth. This means your new Invisalign braces will fit snugly and comfortably in order to do their job.
Invisalign is best for teenagers and adults, and we tell patients all the time that they are never too old for Invisalign treatment! Children have a more malleable jawbone and are still developing until early adulthood. Thus, traditional braces are more effective in this situation.
While there can be some discomfort with each aligner based on the amount of movement needed for your teeth, it usually goes away after 24 to 48 hours. We recommend that patients take Ibuprofin when getting new aligners to help alleviate any mild discomfort.
As the name suggests, Invisalign was designed to create an aesthetically-pleasing option for those wanting straighter teeth without the permanent metallic look that comes with traditional braces. Invisalign aligners are made of a safe thermoplastic translucent material. You can see your teeth through the trays when they are in place, and the trays themselves look somewhat similar to teeth-whitening trays. Patients often turn to Invisalign aligners because they are more discreet and are custom-made for you and only you.
It’s vital to understand that treatment times will vary from patient to patient. Most Invisalign treatments, however, take six months to two years. The treatment time is directly related to the complexity of your situation and your ideal smile. During your treatment period, you should anticipate that you will wear your clear braces for 20 to 22 hours per day.
Invisalign clear aligners are only to be removed for eating or brushing your teeth, though they can also be removed periodically for important social events, public speaking events, etc. Failure to wear your trays for the recommended 20 to 22 hours whenever possible may lead to treatment complications, delayed results, and mouth discomfort. Adhering to the instructions provided to you by your dentist will help ensure that your treatment moves along as quickly as possible.
It’s not uncommon for us to address frequently asked questions about Invisalign vs. braces. And the truth is that many people prefer the look and feel of Invisalign, but many patients choose metal braces. When choosing between Invisalign aligners and braces, patients must consider the level of correction needed, age, and lifestyle choices. Ultimately, however, Invisalign offers a discreet appearance, a customized and comfortable fit, ease of brushing and flossing since the aligners are removable, and fewer trips to the dentist or orthodontist for tightening.
It doesn’t help that our teeth shift as we age. It’s not uncommon, either, for patients to experience a partial shift of their teeth back to their original positions after braces treatment, especially if the patient doesn’t wear their retainer as directed. Thankfully, if your teeth have shifted after your braces treatment is done, you can now use Invisalign to correct any new issues that have arisen.
If you are currently wearing metal braces and want to switch to Invisalign, this might be an option for you as well. Again, it will depend on your unique situation and the dentist providing your treatment. At First Dental Associates, we have helped some of our patients switch from traditional metal braces to clear Invisalign aligners. We’re happy to have a consultation with you to see if this makes sense in your situation.
Caring for your Invisalign clear aligners is a necessity not only to preserve your treatment but to protect your oral health, too. Your aligners should be rinsed with water every night. You should also brush them gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, but not the one that you use to brush your teeth (get a separate soft-bristled brush for your aligners). You can use a clear gently liquid soap to wash away food particles and debris that have built up throughout the day. Just be sure to rinse the aligners thoroughly after cleaning to remove any remnants of soap or remaining debris.
We get asked this question quite often: Is Smile Direct Club a good idea? Smile Direct Club is a teledentistry program that provides clear aligners created for mild to moderate teeth correction. However, the program can be a little complicated to understand. What is most important to know is that Smile Direct Club is a three-step process that helps patients create custom-fitted clear aligners all in the comfort of their own home. Patients can elect to visit one of the company’s SmileShops for an in-person scan, but Smile Direct encourages a do-it-yourself at-home process.
While the Smile Direct Club option can be effective, it does not provide quite as comfortable or customized of a fit. That said, we encourage you to discuss this alternative option with your dentist if you’re looking into it.
Your insurance coverage is often subject to the plan you select or what your employer decides to cover. The best way to find out your coverage is to contact your insurance company directly. In some cases, the office staff, such as those at First Dental Associates, can help you understand your coverage. Your insurance may pay for a certain percentage or dollar amount of your Invisalign treatment. Sometimes, however, there is a lifetime cap on the amount insurance will pay for orthodontia, which could impact you if you have received orthodontic therapies in the past.
At First Dental Associates, we offer a variety of payment options to make it easy for you to cover what your insurance will not. We accept cash, checks, all major credit cards, 12-month interest-free financing through Care Credit, and two-year interest-free financing through Invisalign.
We understand that the decision to get Invisalign treatment is not one that should be taken lightly. If you have more questions about Invisalign that we haven’t answered here today, we encourage you to reach out to your dentist or orthodontist. And if you live or work in Reading, MA, or the surrounding areas, give us a call at 781-531-8738 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you and helping you achieve a brighter, whiter, and straighter smile!