If you’ve wanted orthodontic correction for misaligned teeth but desire something inconspicuous, Invisalign® might be the perfect choice. The thin, transparent, Invisalign aligners slide easily over your teeth, making this one of the most low-hassle forms of orthodontic treatment.
Invisalign straightens your smile using using a series of clear, customized, removable appliances, which your Invisalign certified orthodontist creates specifically for the size and shape of your teeth. As you replace each aligner, you will see your teeth make gradual progress toward their ideal placements, and you will enjoy watching this process occur.
The Invisalign system combines advanced 3-D computer graphics technology with traditional orthodontic techniques. Before the orthodontist creates your aligners, he will use these scans to develop a complete picture of your mouth. Then he will map a detailed treatment plan, outlining the exact movements he expects from your teeth.
The aligners are composed of a thermoplastic material and look similar to whitening trays or a custom nightguard that a dentist’s office creates. You will wear several aligners, as each is designed to move your teeth into new placements.
Unlike a mouthguard or nightguard, which hold the teeth in place, Invisalign technology moves your teeth through a controlled force. In addition, Invisalign also manipulates the timing of the force that’s applied so that only certain teeth are able to move at one time.
Orthodontic Associates uses digital impressions for Invisalign cases. These impressions improve both accuracy and speed in Invisalign cases.
Am I A Candidate?
The good news is that many orthodontic patients are candidates for Invisalign. Your Orthodontic Associates’ expert clinicians will happily consult with you about your eligibility for Invisalign and make a professional determination.
Remember that because it’s your own mouth and you’ve set a high standard for its appearance, you might assume that problems you are experiencing are less common or easy to treat than they are. There is no commitment to a treatment method when you come into our offices in and around Baltimore for your consultation. Your eligibility for orthodontic treatment with Invisalign largely depends on what you want to fix and how much effort will be required to fix it.
Treatment with Invisalign is appropriate for most common conditions including:
However, successful treatment with Invisalign necessitates that these issues are not severe. Invisalign cannot be used in conjunction with advanced orthodontic procedures that involve shifting of the jaw bones.
Age also plays a role in the likelihood of success with Invisalign. This orthodontic treatment works best when the patient’s bones have stopped growing, i.e. in teens and adults. The teeth continue to grow during the preteen years, rendering the creation of accurate aligners difficult.
There is no upper age limit to treatment with Invisalign. In fact, adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in record numbers, with recent studies estimating that one in every five patients currently in orthodontic treatment is older than 21. It is never too late to secure the perfect smile you’ve always wanted (or to reclaim it if improper aftercare and/or the aging process left your smile less desirable than it once was).
Who Can Provide Invisalign Treatment?
Only an orthodontist who has been trained and certified on Align Technology can oversee treatment with Invisalign braces. If a visit to one of our Baltimore orthodontists has determined that Invisalign is an appropriate course of treatment, you will be in expert hands for all phases of your treatment. Our providers receive continuing education to remain up to date on their Invisalign certifications.
As a Premier Provider for Invisalign, we are consistently recognized by Invisalign for our commitment to providing quality service for over 50 cases every year.
How Long Will I Wear Invisalign?
Only the orthodontist can reasonably predict how long you will wear Invisalign, based on your individual case. Your treatment goals, the severity of malocclusions, your body’s response to treatment, your diligence to following instructions and your age will all serve as determining factors.
Typically, treatment times run a bit faster with Invisalign than with brackets because variables like friction are not an issue. On average, most teenagers will need Invisalign for a year, while adults (just as with traditional braces) usually require slightly longer treatment times. Treatment with traditional braces most often spans between 18 months and three years.
During treatment, your orthodontist will instruct you to wear your Invisalign braces nearly all the time—typically about 22 hours per day. Your cooperation with these guidelines will impact your rate of treatment. Though waiting for results can be frustrating, you are guaranteed to wait longer the more time you spend without your aligners.
How Much Will It Cost?
The actual cost of Invisalign treatment will depend on several factors, like:
- the complexity of your case,
- how long you will need treatment,
- where you live and
- whether your insurance plan covers Invisalign or reimburses for some of the cost.
On average, Invisalign costs anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000. Because such a wide range exists, it is important to schedule a consultation with your Invisalign-certified orthodontist and to contact your insurance company.
If you have significant out-of-pocket expenses for this treatment approach, talk to your Baltimore area orthodontist about available payment plans.
Too old? Too young? Not a problem. Orthodontic Associates provided Invisalign services to 68 adult and teen patients last year.
How Often Will I Get A New Aligner?
Most patients will wear a new aligner every one or two weeks. Each set of aligners will make slight adjustments to the tooth position. Your orthodontist will ask you to schedule regular appointments every four to six weeks to ensure that treatment is progressing as expected. You most likely will not need to visit your doctor at the change of each aligner.
The teenage years come with enough discomfort to worry about without the burden of braces. Having to worry about the appearance of clunky, metal braces is enough to deter the more self-conscious wearers.
Adults feel the same way for different reasons. While adult years often don’t carry the same level of social anxiety as teenagers experience, adults wanting to fix their teeth would prefer not to look like teenagers again -- especially if they have teens of their own!
There are several other advantages to Invisalign treatment that are functional rather than cosmetic. Probably the biggest relates to oral hygiene. Even the most diligent brushers and flossers can have a tough time tackling metal brackets and wires. This doesn’t exactly create a convenient setup in your mouth when it comes to cleaning the fronts, backs and in-betweens of your teeth and surrounding gum tissue.
With Invisalign, you simply remove your appliance and brush, floss and rinse as you would normally. Just don’t forget to clean the aligners as well.
Are There Risks?
Invisalign braces are a safe and effective method of straightening the teeth. The only real “risk” comes from human error. Unlike other options such as metal or ceramic brackets, clear aligners are not fastened to your teeth, giving you the opportunity to “cheat.”
Teeth move back into their original positions very quickly. Therefore if you are not diligent about following your orthodontist’s instructions for wearing Invisalign, you will quickly undermine all the progress you’ve made. Parents of teenagers need to consider whether your child is likely to wear the aligners exactly as prescribed.
Caring for Your Aligners
By this point, you probably recognize that caring appropriately for your aligners is paramount to successful orthodontic correction. Here are some tips you can expect your orthodontist to give you with regards to home care.
- Always rinse your aligners when you remove them. Bacteria and plaque from your saliva easily attach to the aligner, giving it an unpleasant odor and a sticky feeling on your teeth.
- Clean the aligners with an antibacterial soap. Make sure the soap is clear and unscented, as colored soap can give a slight tint to the aligners that make them more noticeable, and soap with a strong smell, however appealing, can leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- If you brush your aligners with toothpaste, make sure it is not whitening paste. The abrasive agents in whitening paste can wear away at your aligners and even create small bacteria traps.
- Once the aligners are removed, you need to brush and floss your teeth before reapplying them.
- Proper oral hygiene (cleaning of the teeth, gums and tongue) is essential during the treatment phase in aligners.
- Close your aligners in their case while you’re not wearing them. Leaving them out in the open exposes them to germs that you don’t want to put in your mouth.
Want to know what your smile will look like after treatment? The Clin Check tool allows our doctors to see the progression of treatment with a 3D image of how the teeth will shift throughout treatment. The orthodontist can move the 3D model that Clin Check creates around to see how the bite improves as well as how the teeth start to come together.
Lost or Damaged Aligners
In a perfect world, all the care you are taking with your aligners will ensure they are not lost or damaged. However, life happens, especially with teenagers. But don’t despair -- a misplaced or broken set of aligners does not mean that you have to start over. Just make sure to contact your orthodontist as soon as possible to order a set of replacement aligners, as spending significant time without them will slow the treatment process.
Invisalign® straightens your teeth without wires and brackets, using a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. It’s virtually undetectable, which means hardly anyone will know that you’re straightening your teeth.
If you want to learn more about Invisalign and how it works, please visit the Invisalign Homepage.
To ensure the best possible results, only an orthodontist who has been trained and certified by Align Technology can diagnose and treat using Invisalign. Invisalign is not intended for children and is not appropriate for every adult. Only an orthodontist can determine if this treatment is an effective option for you. To see if Invisalign can help you achieve the smile you've always wanted, contact us to make an appointment.