Are you thinking about straightening your teeth with Invisalign? Many people have used clear aligners to get that perfect smile they’ve always wanted. But others have spent years and multiples more than they budgeted because they didn’t get the right advice about their treatment options.
Don’t worry, this isn’t another article about Invisalign vs. At-Home Aligner companies that ship your trays through the mail. In fact, either option may be right for you; choosing correctly will help you get the most out of a big investment of time, effort and money. Choose wrongly, and your perfect smile may be farther away than you think.
What You Need to Know About Clear Aligners
Clear aligners use orthodontic force to gradually move your teeth into a new position based on a treatment plan developed by you and your provider. Each set of “trays” is developed using a sophisticated 3D printing technology to fit your unique straightening needs. While some people only need a simple correction, others may have crowding or spacing issues that require a higher degree of care.
Regardless of your needs, clear aligners can get you the results you want and are as effective (if not more so) than traditional metal braces. But choosing the right provider is crucial as there are certain things some providers do better than others. An at-home provider can fix a number of straightening concerns while saving you time and money, but if your smile requires special attention (for instance, you need a tooth extracted or you have a significant overbite) then an Orthodontist might be your best choice.
At-home providers are an attractive and affordable option for mild to moderate cases. The convenience of getting your aligners in the mail has been a game changer for the industry, but there are treatment options these companies don’t provide such as Invisalign attachments that can help move stubborn teeth with greater efficiency. If you are making a decision between an orthodontist and an at-home provider, you need to make sure you understand what it’s going to take to achieve your ideal smile and make the best decision for you.
What to Expect During Treatment
Once you make a decision and begin the process of straightening your teeth, it’s all about staying on track with your plan, keeping your aligners clean, and maintaining your oral hygiene. A small price to pay for the smile you want, but it requires discipline and sacrifice to get there.
Staying on track with your treatment is crucial. If you don’t wear your trays for the recommended 22 hours per day, you can throw the whole process out of whack because each set of trays is designed to be worn for two weeks, and then you move on to the next set. Get off track and you may be looking at subpar results that will cost you more money to correct through Invisalign refinements.
Many patients experience bad breath and dry mouth during treatment. It’s an unavoidable byproduct of wearing plastic retainers for 22 hours every day, but fortunately it can be mitigated with a proper routine and diligent oral hygiene. Keeping your clear aligners clean will keep them looking invisible and remove bacteria that can cling to them and cause bad breath. If you don’t eat with them in your mouth and drink only water while wearing them, the task of keeping them clean is easier and your retainers will stay in optimal condition throughout their two week time span.
Oral hygiene is another important part of the routine. Brushing your teeth before reinserting your trays will remove food particles you don’t want trapped in the biodome created by that impermeable plastic shield. Flossing every day is a crucial part of this as well. Diligent patients who take care of their mouths will actually feel much better about their teeth as a result of improved hygiene habits.
What Are The Side Effects of Invisalign
In addition to the aforementioned bad breath and dry mouth, clear aligner treatment can be uncomfortable. Early in your treatment, when your mouth and gums are getting adjusted to their new plastic reality, you may experience painful sores and abrasions caused by the edges of your retainers. A peroxide-based mouthwash can help with the sores, and dental wax is a common remedy for rough spots.
The force applied by the invisible braces on your teeth can cause discomfort as well. Teeth are set in bone, not stone, but they still require considerable force to move them into a new alignment. If you didn’t feel a bit of pain, you might wonder if they are even working. Many providers will recommend chewing exercises as a remedy to increase blood flow to your teeth and gums which creates a nice soothing effect. The pain can be especially acute when you switch to a new set of trays, so it’s something you’ll probably have to deal with throughout your treatment.
Sometimes, your teeth won’t move exactly in accordance with your treatment plan. They aren’t as predictable as a computer simulation after all, so it’s good to prepare yourself for certain interventions that you and your provider may decide to pursue. One such intervention is attachments, which are glued to your teeth and give your trays an extra grip to exert the necessary force required for alignment. Other types of attachments include buttons and bite ramps, but keep in mind these types of interventions are not offered by at-home providers.
Do I Have to Wear Retainers After Treatment?
That depends...do you want your results to last? Assuming you do, then the answer is yes. You’ve just spent 6-12 months moving them into a new position, so it is necessary to “retain” that new position. Prepare yourself for the reality that you’ll wear night time retainers for the rest of your post-treatment life, but take comfort knowing that you won’t experience anything close to the inconvenience associated with your daily aligners.
Plus, night time retainers can help with other things like grinding your teeth and they discourage late night snacking. So if you want to keep that beautiful new smile you just worked so hard to achieve, get used to the reality of nighttime retainers.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
Making the decision to straighten your smile is a significant investment of time, energy and resources. You owe it to yourself (and your bank account) to be as informed as possible. To help you educate yourself and make the right decision about treatment, we created The Ultimate Guide to Straightening Your Teeth with Clear Aligners. And it’s absolutely free!
Just complete the form below and get questions to all your pressing questions, developed through comprehensive research and under the guidance of a practicing orthodontist specializing in clear aligner therapy.
Plus, we’ll also send you a sample package of some of our favorite clear aligner accessories. Are you ready to get that perfect smile you’ve always wanted? Get started with our Ultimate Guide today!