How Invisalign® Works
Invisalign® is customized for each patient to gradually and gently shift teeth into the correct alignment. The basic principle is the same as for traditional braces: constant force encourages your body to reshape the bone around your teeth, allowing them to move.
Invisalign® is a reliable, proven method of straightening teeth.
Planning Your Invisalign® Treatment
Dr. Grimshaw takes digital X-rays, external photos, and impressions of your teeth, creating digital 3D images of your teeth. Dr. Grimshaw uses these images to map out a precise treatment plan. She can show you a virtual representation of how your teeth will move with each stage of treatment, and let you know the approximate length of treatment.
Custom Clear Aligners
Custom, clear Invisalign® aligners are fabricated following the treatment plan designed by Dr. Grimshaw. These aligners are made of a smooth, BPA-free plastic that won’t irritate your gums like traditional metal braces often do. It’s recommended to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours a day. You can remove the aligners to eat and to brush and floss your teeth.
Gradually Straightening Your Teeth
When your teeth have moved to the endpoint for each aligner, you will switch to a new aligner. In the past, this always took about two weeks. With advancements in technology, you might achieve the endpoint after about a week. After your first few aligners, we might authorize you to wear them for only one week–essentially cutting your treatment time in half!
Invisalign® Teen uses clear aligners designed specifically for teenagers. These nearly invisible aligners are worn for 22 hours a day and are more aesthetic and comfortable than traditional braces. Invisalign® Teen might also be a better choice for kids in contact sports, and the inclusion of more free replacements can reduce anxiety around lost aligners. Dr. Grimshaw can determine whether your child is a candidate for Invisalign Teen.
In addition to full treatment with Invisalign®, some cases can be treated with the expedited version, Invisalign® Express.
Invisalign® Express offers an effective, affordable, fast, and convenient way to straighten minor aesthetic concerns in three months or less. This accelerated process uses five sets of aligner trays that are replaced approximately every two weeks and gradually shift the teeth in the same manner as the long process.
Straight Talk about Crooked Teeth
Straightening crooked teeth is not only an aesthetic consideration. Misaligned teeth can cause other health concerns. Crooked teeth can contribute to an imbalanced bite, which can not only damage your teeth, it can contribute to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD). This can cause jaw pain, headaches, and more symptoms.
In addition, straight teeth are easier to clean and less likely to get food stuck in them. As a result, some studies show that people who got orthodontic treatment might have a 50% lower risk of developing gum disease.
Advantages of Invisalign®
Straightening teeth with Invisalign® offers many advantages over traditional metal braces. Some of these include the following:
They’re nearly invisible: Others may not even notice you’re wearing the clear aligner trays.
Oral health: You can remove the trays to brush and floss as you normally would to maintain good oral health.
You can eat what you want: Just pop out the trays when you want to order popcorn at the movies or bite into a juicy apple.
Important events: You don’t need to be memorialized in photos with a mouth full of metal, like with regular braces.
More comfortable: Smooth plastic trays don’t irritate teeth, cheeks, and gums as metal wires and rubber bands often do.
Less time in the chair: Dental visits can be more efficient with aligners than with traditional braces.
Conditions Invisalign® Addresses
Overly crowded teeth
Usually caused when there is not enough room along the jawbone for all of your teeth to be situated comfortably.
An overbite can cause painful jaw and joint problems, as well as gum irritation and wear on the lower teeth.
An underbite can cause undue stress on the lower teeth as well as jaw and joint problems.
Gaps in Teeth
Gaps in teeth can occur with abnormal continued growth of the jawbone, or when there are missing teeth causing adjacent teeth to shift. Spacing issues can lead to an increased risk of gum disease.
This is when some teeth are unable to make contact with the opposing teeth for a proper bite. An open bite can cause poor or painful chewing as well as problems with the jaw joint.
A crossbite occurs when one or more of the upper teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This can cause teeth wear, gum disease, and bone loss.