Commonly Asked Questions about Invisalign
Question: I saw the Invisalign video on tv and it made it seem it works like normal metal braces. Can someone explain the difference between Invisalign and braces?
Answer: In the recent 5 years, there has been many advancements in Invisalign Clear Braces. A lot of orthodontist went so far as to stop doing metal braces all together. Invisalign is very smart in the sense that every time an impression or an Invisalign case is done, the computers learn how teeth are moved and what works. Invisalign is typically for individuals who do not want the unsightly metal brackets on their teeth. Invisalign is more esthetically pleasing and is typically for professionals and individuals who typically are self-conscious about their looks.
It's best to consult with a Dentist and/or an Orthodontist about your options. Invisalign clear aligner therapy, like braces (bracket and wire) are tools a dentist can use to create the proper force and momentum to safely re-position and align teeth. Invisalign is beneficial more than braces in the sense that a computer monitors the movement of your teeth, so the movements are very predictable.
Invisalign treatment does not contain unsightly metal and wires, but rather it is a clear plastic. Teeth have tooth colored "attachments" placed for anchorage and certain movements, these tooth colored attachments are the same type of filling materials that you typically get if you were to have a cavity. At URBN Dental, we use all BPA-Free fillings.
It is a lot easier to clean Invisalign than traditional braces, the difference is incredible. As, aligners are not worn when eating and drinking and are taken off when brushing and flossing. Whereas, traditional braces are fixed in the mouth and therefore are prone to trap food and are difficult to keep clean. Traditional braces are kind of like a spider web, since there are so many kinks and brackets on your teeth, food is more prone to get caught.
After reading this, one may ask, why would anyone choose braces? The answer is that in medicine there are always different options to achieve a desired outcome. And there are always different variables that make one option better than the next.
So why are there still metal braces? The reason why is because compliance is a big factor when it comes to invisalign. Is the patient able to be compliant enough to wear a removable device (Invisalign) ? Vs a fixed wire and bracket?
Some Doctors are used to metal brackets and have not been trained in Invisalign, so they offer metal brackets because they are more comfortable with what they have been practicing and/or do not have enough experience with different options and therefore, suggest the one they are more comfortable with over the other.
An experienced Invisalign provider can easily tell you if you are better served with Invisalign or better served with bracket and wires or a combination of the two.
QUESTION: How much does Invisalign cost? Are there different Invisalign prices for the different stages of treatment?
ANSWER: Invisalign may cost anywhere from $3000 to $6500 depending on the complexity of movement of teeth, everyone's teeth are different. Your Invisalign doctor will look at the functionality as well as the cosmetic goals the individual may have.
At URBN Dental, we allow patients to see the actual results on the computer imaging program before they commit to treatment. The process takes about a half hour to gather all the information. This way our patients know how many aligners they will need and how long the treatment will take, before they commit to treatment. Our patients love this! An actual visualization of their results before deciding to proceed with treatment!
Invisalign is a method we use to straighten teeth using a set of clear plastic trays. You can straighten crowded/crooked teeth, close small gaps in between your teeth, and improve your bite without anyone knowing you are wearing braces. Invisalign works very fast, with recent improvements there are cases in which patients are able to change out their trays every week as opposed to biweekly. Invisalign may be able to work up to 50% faster now with the new technology.
QUESTION: What is involved in cleaning Invisalign aligners? How long does the Invisalign cleaning process take?
ANSWER: The best way to clean Invisalign is to think about keeping it as simple as possible.
Cleaning Invisalign should NOT be done with regular tooth paste. The reason why is that there are abrasives inside toothpaste that causes micro scratches into the Invisalign tray. These micro scratches attract bacteria. Other products can discolor the aligners, making the teeth look somewhat yellow. If you soak the Invisalign in colored mouth wash, Listerine for instance, the Invisalign tray will have a slight tint of the color the mouthwash is. This is not recommended. Invisalign clear aligners are replaced every two weeks, so you will get a new aligner if you do accidently do any of the above.
The most important thing to do with Invisalign is to brush and floss after each meal. The aligners start to act in the way a bleaching tray does, so if food and low pH saliva are trapped, the teeth will "soak" in it. One of the advantages of Invisalign over braces is better hygiene. With braces there are metal brackets and wires that cause food to get stuck. Invisalign clear plastic aligners are removable and allow for you to take the aligners off to clean, and then placed back on.
Invisalign also provides clear plastic crystal tablets that allow you to soak your aligner trays in for gentle cleaning of the white buildup. The easiest and best way to clean your clear aligner is to take them off and brush them (on the inside and the outside) each time you brush your teeth (make sure you clean off any remaining toothpaste off of your toothbrush). When finished, rinse them with water and place back into your mouth. Yes, it is really this simple!
QUESTION: When Should I Start Seeing Invisalign Results?
ANSWER: Invisalign is very case specific, depending on the case (crowding vs spacing). It usually takes 2-3 months for most patients to notice results from clear aligners. It usually takes a few months later for other people to notice results from clear aligners. It really depends on your specific case.
A great way to know what to expect is to ask your dentist to show you an animated 3-D preview of your teeth movements. Using the Invisalign clinical check software the practitioner is able to show you exactly the teeth movement every week. He/she will show you exactly what changes to expect and when to expect them. He/she may even be able to download this 3-D animation for you. Make sure you choose an excellent cosmetic dentist or that is experienced in Invisalign.
QUESTION: How Long After Invisalign Do I Need a Retainer?
After Invisalign would I have to wear a retainer forever? I have a gap and my front left tooth is crooked. Many people including my bf say that I shouldn't even bother my teeth because he thinks that they are fine (he had really bad teeth, like horrible when he was younger and I believe had to wear braces for like 3 years or more, so he wants me to stay away from anything that does something to your teeth). I want my teeth straight, but my only problem is I read someone's review and they said that they have to wear a retainer forever. I don't mind having to wear them for a while, but I really don't want to wear them forever, if I have to ask a ortho, could they be able to tell me if i have to wear it forever before they even start me with Invisalign because I really don't want to?
ANSWER: If you want your teeth to stay put you would need to wear the retainer for your entire lifetime. Teeth do shift, and as the name implies, the "retainer" retains your teeth in the position that they are in. Wear around the clock for the first 6 months or so then night time forever. Naturally one retainer won't last forever so get used to the idea of investing in the future. This should be part of the discussion before you decide to proceed with Invisalign.
Whether one has had braces/Invisalign or not, teeth are continually moving to some degree and it may not always be perceptible. As you continue to bite, chew, and other functional forces help to cause these alignment changes in tooth alignment over time.
That being said, certain teeth alignment problems need to be retained longer than others. For example, open bites, gaps between teeth, if you have a lower frenum attachment, twisted or rotated teeth (especially upper and lower front teeth) have a high tendency to relapse or move back to their original position. Therefore, retention is more critical in these kinds of cases.
In cases that you have a gap or "diastema" between your upper front teeth. This problem is relatively easy to correct but very difficult to retain. Diastemas like these are usually associated with thin or thick band of tissue ("meat") coming from the upper lip and attaching to the area adjacent to gap between the teeth (pull your lip out, away from your lip to check) this area is called a "frenum." If present, a frenectomy or removal of the piece of meat is required in order to stabilize the space closure in this area. Spaces between teeth, once closed, have a strong tendency to want to open again so wearing a retainer every night is key to continual success with Invisalign treatment.
QUESTION: Can I Go on to my Next Invisalign Tray After Less Than 2 Weeks, if my Teeth Fit in It?
ANSWER: This is a very common question asked. Invisalign movements are carefully built in each aligner based on certain number of hours wear per aligner. Even if you feel the aligners are loose (don't feel like putting pressure), the crown part of the teeth might have tipped, but the root movement might not have occurred as wanted. So that can cause discrepancy in the next aligner though it will take you few more aligners to find out that the aligners are not fitting well. With recent advancements with Invisalign you may be able to change to the next tray after only just one week of wearing your Invisalign trays. Make sure that you go to a suitable Invisalign Provider that is knowledgeable.
Many patients at URBN Dental are diagnosed and treatment plan to allow for Invisalign trays to be changed after only 1 week. This greatly enhances the speed of Invisalign treatment, that is 50% faster. Always consult a Dentist before you think about skipping any trays or moving onto your next tray before your 2 week Invisalign aligner change out date. Your Invisalign treatment is planned on movement that you wear each tray for a minimum of two weeks. Often times, movement that is forced or too fast does not allow the bone to properly remodel and you can end up with problems. Every case is different and if your URBN Dental Dentist allows you to move teeth sooner, it may be suitable.
QUESTION: What Are Invisalign "Buttons" and Where Are They Attached.
ANSWER: Think of attachments on teeth as little handles on them which allow the aligners to 'grip' onto a more challenging tooth. Teeth are generally flat; these handles allow the tooth to be rotated and moved freely. These originally were not used as much as they are today. These grips allow Dentist to move teeth with more predictable result, and that is a great thing. Attachments are auxiliaries to aid in the movement of teeth by providing a larger surface area for your Invisalign to grip onto. They are temporarily bonded to your teeth with the help of aligner templates using a white filling material to match the shade of your teeth. This filling material is the same material you would use if you were to get a traditional filling. The fillings at URBN Dental are all BPA-Free.
Judicious use of attachments and buttons are some of the most important aspects of proper Invisalign treatment. See an experienced local provider who can help determine if attachments are required for your treatment. At URBN Dental we try out best to treatment plan so attachments are not in your high cosmetic areas. This is a huge benefit for professionals that do a lot of public speaking.
QUESTION: After Invisalign Treatment, What Type of Retainer Will I Get?
ANSWER: Invisalign Aligners can be used as retainers once the alignment is corrected. For many patients, a night time wear of the last aligner can be sufficient for about half a year. Invisalign retainers do wear and tear over time. For others, especially those who clench their teeth at night, a more sturdier retainer will be necessary. You have an option of upgrading to a Vivera retainer, which is a sturdier and a lot more stable retainer for teeth. If you made the initial investment in order to get Invisalign, it would be most beneficial to hold it in place the best way possible. In most patients, clear retainers work great to ensure that beautiful smile will last for a lifetime. Teeth have the potential to move whether or not orthodontic correction has been done.
So protect your investment - wear your retainers as your Invisalign provider suggests! Invisalign offers a great retainer program after the completion of your treatment. the Vivera reatiners are similar to the Invisalign trays but more rigid. The first month it is suggested you wear the retainer all day and night and then can switch into night time use only. Most patients find this program very easy. Bonded wires or "permanent retainers" behind your teeth are generally not recommended because your back posterior molar teeth will still shift. Studies have shown that this type of movement causes a lot of grinding and clenching issues.
QUESTION: What Are the Pros and Cons of Invisalign Braces?
ANSWER: Invisalign is used for professionals that do not like the unsightly view of metal bracket braces. Invisalign is known as the "Clear Alternative" to braces or "Clear White Braces." Invisalign is nearly undetectable, so people don't have to know that you are going through orthodontic treatment, and you can remove them for social events. You have to remove the trays for eating and before replacing them you have to brush and floss. In a lot of patients, they actually lose weight because they snack less with these Invisalign aligners.
If you don't wear your aligners for the recommended hours per day you can affect the ability to finish on time and get your desired results, so compliance is very necessary. Braces are fixed to your teeth and can only be removed by the doctor, so compliance is less of an issue. The issue with braces is the unsightly metal brackets and the difficulty cleaning the braces. Another issue is the wires that typically poke the back of your cheek. With both methods you will experience tenderness of teeth and gums. But Invisalign, unlike braces, will not scratch or tear the inside of your cheek or lips.
QUESTION: Does Invisalign Work?
ANSWER: Yes, but the answer is complicated. Invisalign is a product that is innovative and technically sophisticated with a certain aesthetic elegance. In reality, Invisalign is of greater similarity to artificial intelligence. Every time a case is submitted by a General Dentist or an Orthodontist the computer starts to learn and understand difficult teeth movement. Make sure you go to an Invisalign Doctor that carefully looks at the treatment plan and tweaks it to be perfect.
The answer is that the scope of what experienced providers can do with Invisalign is greater than that of those that are less experienced. They may use attachments, IPR, buttons, elastics, and movements, in conjunction with sections of partial braces to achieve the desired results. URBN Dental is a premier Invisalign provider which means that we are very experienced treating Invisalign.
Aside from the Doctor aspect, Invisalign treatment requires a compliant patient. It requires someone who will wear the aligners as directed, and practice proper oral hygiene. Invisalign is a very good method to move teeth, however one needs to make sure that they can stay very compliant wearing the clear plastic aligners. The ability to take aligners out for eating and cleaning actually simplifies these activities, making it an excellent choice for patients who may be unable to clean properly around fixed braces.