To some people, the thought of correcting their misaligned dentition with traditional braces is enough to convince them they are stuck with a crooked smile for life. Invisalign offers patients an alternative to unsightly and uncomfortable metal options. Using invisible trays, teeth can be maneuvered into place while the rest of the world doesn’t have a clue they are inserted! While the concept appears simple, there are quite a few things to know about Invisalign before patients decide if it’s the best treatment option.
Orthodontic procedures can be anxiety-inducing to anyone, but even more so to the uninformed. At Best Impression Dental, we feel our patients should understand how treatments like Invisalign work to better your smile. If you’re concerned about crooked teeth, call our Forked River, NJ dental office to schedule a consultation. Let our expert team help you make the best decisions about your oral health.
1. Invisalign is the Clear Choice
Traditional braces have been around for thousands of years. Attaching metal and wire to teeth with the objective of straightening crooked detention has progressed a lot during that time, yet the technique doesn’t appeal to everyone. With brackets and clamps attached directly to teeth, such a permanent, and often uncomfortable, the option doesn’t sit well with some patients.
Invisalign is an excellent alternative, transforming tooth alignment into a more mindful and less obvious procedure. The clear alignment trays are fitted to your teeth, slightly shifting them into new positions. This gentle pressure is continuously applied until dentition has settled into new spaces. Eventually, the trays will become loose, signifying it’s time for a new set that will further adjust teeth into their proper positions.
2. Follow the Schedule
Invisalign trays won’t do a thing if they’re not in your mouth, plain and simple. One of the advantages metal braces have is that they cannot be removed. Wires and brackets are constantly pushing and pulling, even while eating and sleeping. This continuous use means they never stop working, and you never stop feeling them.
Invisalign trays need similar amounts of time to do their job properly. It is recommended that patients keep their trays inserted at least 20 to 22 hours a day. This gives the trays time to do their job while still allowing you to remove them at mealtimes to give your mouth a break. Some patients who have difficulty sticking to schedules might want to consider other options as well.
3. Removable Means Fewer Restrictions
Popcorn has long been the foe of traditional braces. Kernel shells get stuck in places that are hard to reach, leading orthodontists to tell their patients to avoid eating the snack at all costs. Other foods such as sticky gum, caramel candies, and hard taco shells can pose additional problems that can ruin all of your hard work.
When patients can remove their braces, dietary restrictions disappear. Patients using Invisalign take out their trays during mealtimes, letting them enjoy their favorite foods with ease. Of course, proper dental hygiene is still incredibly important, but at mealtimes, you can go to town on bagels and crunchy vegetables to your heart's content.
4, Toothbrushing To-Go
Dentists recommend brushing after every meal to keep cavities at bay, and it goes double for Invisalign users. Because they are removable, some patients think they can pop them back in as soon as lunch is finished. Unfortunately, that leaves food particles, sugars, and other decay-causing materials on your teeth, and the trays literally trap them in place.
Bacteria would jump at the chance to tear away at your tooth enamel, so make sure you keep a travel toothbrush and toothpaste on hand. Patients should brush thoroughly after every meal to not only avoid cavities but also keep their breath fresh and trays smelling clean.
5. It’s Easier to Get Lost
Taking out and putting in trays for three meals a day, seven days a week offers patients plenty of opportunities to misplace their aligners. Quite often people will remove their trays and place them in a napkin during mealtimes, camouflaging them perfectly for a trip to the garbage can at cleanup. This is especially bad since every minute the trays are not inserted, teeth begin to drift.
If you lose your Invisalign trays, contact your orthodontist immediately. Patients are given multiple trays per office visit, and progressing to new aligners happens frequently. If it’s close to the time for a change, your doctor may recommend that you use the next set in the treatment. It is always a good idea to hold on to the previous trays as well. Sealing them in a plastic bag with the date will guarantee you have a backup in case the worst happens.
6. Water is Your Friend
While sugary drinks are a dentist’s bane, they are the sworn enemy of Invisalign users. You cannot eat with trays inserted, and drinking fluids isn’t much different. Your morning coffee might give you the pep you need to start the day, but drinking it with aligners in place can lead to serious problems.
Just like food can get trapped between trays and teeth, liquids will eke their way into the aligners, essentially creating little pools of coffee or soda for your teeth to sit in all day. This makes staining and cavities much more likely, so patients will find that water is the beverage of choice when using Invisalign.
7. Changes in Speech
It’s true that most people aren’t going to notice that you have your Invisalign trays inserted. The clear aligners disguise perfectly with your teeth and unless someone gets a really close look, it will be incredibly difficult to tell. That is, until you start a conversation.
Having anything in your mouth is going to cause changes in your speech. Many patients feel like they are slurring their words and become self-conscious about talking during the treatment. One of the things to know about Invisalign is that most people get used to conversing with their trays inserted. Eventually, people won’t know you’re in the middle of a tooth-straightening procedure at all!
8. Aligners Need Special Care
Brushing your teeth after every meal is important, and so is keeping your Invisalign trays clean. However, brushing your trays with toothpaste after doing the same for your teeth can compromise their function. Yellowing and foggy aligners will definitely get noticed so patients need to be careful how they take care of aligners.
Standard toothpaste is meant to polish dentition, scrubbing away plaque and food particles with microscopic abrasives. Using it on alignment trays will scuff and scratch the plastic, a material much softer than tooth enamel. Not only will scratches make your trays more noticeable, but they are also excellent spots for bacteria to hide. A quick rinse after a meal is OK, but appropriate cleansers such as Invisalign crystals or a good 30-minute soak in hydrogen peroxide will go a long way to keep them looking great.
9. (Mostly) Painless
One of the biggest complaints about traditional braces is that they hurt. It’s not just the continuous pressure as teeth move around, but also poking wires and rough brackets can cause irritation in the mouth itself. Invisalign doesn’t have this particular problem since the plastic is smooth and softer than metal, but that doesn’t mean that they are entirely pain-free.
Upon first inserting Invisalign trays, a patient is bound to feel some pressure as teeth are shifted in place. Almost all patients find they can handle such slight pain, and as the treatment progresses it eventually abates until a new tray is used. Because they are removable, they overcome a large hurdle found in traditional braces. The pressure upon your teeth ceases the moment trays are removed, meaning mealtimes will be much more enjoyable and pain-free when compared with metal braces.
10. For Some, Better Than Braces
The choice between traditional braces and Invisalign trays can be a difficult one, but aligners have more going for them than just being removable. Some of the more distinct differences include:
- Shorter Duration: Braces can take over 36 months while an Invisalign treatment plan can be completed in as little as two years!
- Traditional Brushing and Flossing: Removable trays means no special tools to clean your teeth like what is needed to clean around wires and brackets.
- Less Invasive: Removability makes alignment trays easier to use but it makes traditional braces more effective on severe dental problems.
- Cost Considerations: Generally, traditional braces are the more budget-friendly option.
- Fewer Office Visits: Invisalign can be great for your schedule since you’ll need to make orthodontist appointments much less frequently than metal braces.
There are so many things to know about Invisalign correction trays that some patients may still find themselves confused. That’s why our staff at Best Impression Dental are ready to help you find the treatment plan that fits with your lifestyle. If you live in the Forked River, NJ area, call our office and find out why Invisalign may just be your path to a better smile and a more confident you!