Each year many people find that they need braces to help treat the alignment of their teeth. The first thing that pops into most people’s mind is a mouth full of metal, which is not something they want! This is especially true for those millions of adults who would like to straighten their teeth but don’t want to walk around with traditional metal braces, calling attention to what they are doing. The good news is that there is a better option, called Invisalign, and it’s one that most people love!
1) DO ask your orthodontist if Invisalign is right for you. Be sure to tell the doctor about your goals and chief concerns before starting treatment. When you and your doctor work together to formulate a treatment plan that is best for you, the end results are amazing.
2) DO plan on seeing your orthodontist every 6 to 12 weeks while in treatment. Although less than half as time-consuming as traditional braces, your Invisalign treatment still needs to be monitored by your orthodontist to be sure the alignment is progressing as planned. Schedule your appointments in advance so that your treatment can be completed as efficiently as possible.
3) DO see your general dentist every 6 months while completing your Invisalign treatment. Your orthodontist monitors tooth and jaw alignment, while your dentist provides cleanings and fillings. It's still important to see your dentist throughout your treatment, so that the gums and teeth remain clean and healthy.
4) DO take care of the aligners as directed and wear them for 22 hours per day. You can remove the aligners to eat and brush your teeth, but the best results are achieved when the aligners are on your teeth consistently. Taking the trays out too frequently can delay your treatment and actually increase tooth sensitivity. Be sure to wear the trays full-time and your new smile will be finished before you know it!
5) DO wear your retainers as prescribed following your treatment. Although your teeth are very unlikely to shift back to where you started, there is a chance your teeth can crowd slightly over time. Shifting and crowding of the teeth is a natural aging process. To prevent this unwanted shifting, be sure to wear your retainers diligently. Your orthodontist will let you know when you can switch to night-time only and following the orthodontist's instructions will keep your smile straight and looking great.
Finally, a few things to avoid with Invisalign:
1) DON'T assume you have to pay for the entire treatment up front. Many orthodontic specialty offices provide in-house financing or third-party financing to make your investment in Invisalign an easy one. With flexible spending plans and insurance for many patients, the total out-of-pocket cost for Invisalign can be surprisingly affordable.
2) DON'T be shy. Please ask your orthodontist any questions you may have. It's better to be prepared for the Invisalign tooth alignment process before you start than to be surprised afterwards. Questions like "will it hurt?" and "how long will I need to wear the aligners?" are frequently-asked questions that your orthodontist can answer.
3) DON'T assume all Invisalign cases are the same. Many patients think that because their friend spent 2-3 years aligning their teeth that they too will require this length of treatment. Every patient is different. Your case might require only 6 months of alignment or less. The only way to know for sure is to ask an orthodontic specialist. Most orthodontists provide no-cost initial consultations so that your questions can be answered before you decide which treatment option is best for you.