Invisalign is becoming increasingly popular as a discreet alternative to braces. If you’ve been looking into correcting your smile without braces, this could be a good option for you. Our team with Dr. Cynthia J. Mikula, DDS, in Bay Village, OH, is pleased to offer this versatile treatment, and would be happy to answer your questions in person. For now, we’re going over some common questions patients have about the process.
How Many Hours a Day Do You Need To Wear Invisalign?
To keep your treatment schedule on track and to get the best possible results, patients should wear their Invisalign aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day. This gives patients enough time to take them out during meals, and when they brush and floss. Otherwise, the aligners should remain in place.
How Long Will This Treatment Take?
This Invisalign treatment involves wearing a set of aligners for about two weeks, then moving on to the next set. Each time you move on to your next set, your teeth will be gently corrected until you reach your end goal. Depending on the type of corrections you’re getting, you could be done in as little as six months. That said, most patients can expect to receive treatment for about a year.
During your consultation, we would be happy to give you a more specific timeline based on your dental condition. Of course, wearing your aligners consistently will help your treatment go as quickly as possible.
Why Should I Choose Invisalign?
No Diet Changes
Wearing your Invisalign aligners consistently is key to the treatment, but you don’t have to feel trapped with them. Any time you want to enjoy your favorite snack or sit down for a meal, you can take them out. This allows patients a lot of freedom.
Many patients avoid getting braces partly because they dread the idea of cutting their favorite foods out of their diet. Invisalign allows you to eat all of your favorite meals, which is especially helpful to those with pre-existing food allergies or limitations.
Easy To Detach
Removability also makes cleaning your teeth easier. Some patients already struggle to brush and floss as thoroughly as they should. Brushing and flossing not only becomes more difficult with braces, but it also becomes more important.
Too much plaque or tartar can interfere with your braces, and it’s important to clean all the little areas around the braces where food particles love to hide. Cutting corners with dental hygiene can be disastrous. Since aligners can be removed, you can brush and floss as normal without any added difficulty.
“Invisible” is part of this treatment’s name for a reason. When you slip your aligners on, the people you’re talking to will be able to see your natural teeth through the aligners. They are usually unnoticeable in pictures as well.
Strong and Durable
Do you enjoy sports or other active hobbies? If your job or hobby puts your teeth at risk, braces might not be the best option for you. While it’s possible to wear mouth protection over braces, you still have to be mindful of the wires and brackets so you don’t have to make an emergency appointment to repair them.
Invisalign is made of smooth plastic, with no hard edges, brackets, or wires at all. It’s still a good idea to protect your teeth during sports, but this treatment can be a better fit for active lifestyles.
Smooth and Comfortable
That smooth material has another benefit – comfort. Some patients, especially those with sensitive mouths, may be worried about adjusting to braces. Many people find that the smooth material of clear aligners is less abrasive and easier to adjust to. The aligners are custom-made for each patient, so they should slip over your teeth like a glove.
As for future comfort, correcting misaligned teeth can help with that too. Dental corrections are often pursued for cosmetic reasons, but misaligned teeth can contribute to jaw pain, neck pain, and headaches. Clear aligners can also help correct protruding teeth. Since protruding teeth may put you more at risk of a mouth injury, correcting them could help you avoid that issue.
Prevent Worse Problems
Some patients, especially when they’re young, may notice tooth misalignment and hope that it gets better over time. Unfortunately, misalignment almost never corrects itself. We recommend that if you notice an issue, it’s a good idea to look into treatment sooner rather than later. It could save you time down the road, and can make your treatment easier.
Protect Your Teeth
When teeth are misaligned, they tend to be more difficult to clean. Teeth that are tightly packed together may be harder to even floss properly. Even if you’re doing your best to stay on top of your oral health and come in for regular cleanings, professional tools will also have more difficulty when it comes to cleaning overlapped areas. This could put you at an increased risk of tartar, gum disease, and eventual tooth decay.
Correcting your smile can help make your life easier. You should be able to clean your teeth more effectively and keep them healthy for as long as possible. A well-maintained smile is good for your teeth, gums, breath, and your overall health.
If you’re self-conscious about your teeth, you may find yourself trying to hide your teeth while you’re laughing with friends or smiling for a picture. Correcting misaligned teeth can help patients feel more confident in social situations.
What Conditions Can Be Treated?
This is one of the most common conditions patients want to address. In addition to cosmetic and health reasons, correcting overcrowded teeth can make it easier for the patient to receive good dental care. Getting fitted with crowns or getting dental fillings is easier when teeth aren’t too tightly packed.
Misalignment is another common concern. It’s an issue that can worsen over time. It can throw off the balance of the jaw, and cause teeth to wear out unevenly.
Depending on the type of misalignment, it could increase friction between your teeth, which could prematurely damage your tooth enamel. Enamel is the first defense your teeth have against infection and disease, so losing enamel can leave you more vulnerable to decay and tooth discoloration.
Underbites and Overbites
Similar to braces, clear aligners can be used to correct both underbites and overbites, making it a very versatile treatment. Since it’s able to carefully and gradually push your teeth into a more correct position, it can help your teeth and even your jaw function properly.
If you have an underbite or overbite, we will take a look at your needs during an evaluation and let you know if clear aligners are a good choice for you.
Some patients have gaps in their teeth that they’d like to reduce. Sometimes food can become lodged in these gaps, or they could interfere with the patient’s speech. If you have gaps in your teeth and they don’t bother you, they usually aren’t a problem and there’s no need to reduce them. That said, if they are causing you issues or you don’t like their appearance of them, clear aligners can help.
Ultimately, this treatment can be used for many different issues. If you have a dental concern and you don’t see it listed here, feel free to ask us about it! The best way to know what treatment to pursue is through a consultation.
If you decide that clear aligners are a good fit for you, there are some tips we have to help you make the most of your treatment.
Keep Them Safe
Remember to keep your aligners somewhere safe when you take them out to eat. The last thing you want is to forget where you put them or have a curious pet investigating them! Keeping them in a case when you’re not wearing them is recommended.
Have an Extra Case
Having a case at home or ready to go can be helpful. For instance, if you keep one in your purse you won’t have to remember to pack it. This will also give you a back-up if you lose one of your cases.
At the beginning of your treatment, it may feel like you have a long road ahead of you. Keeping track of your progress can be encouraging and a good reminder to celebrate your milestones.
Ready With More Questions?
If you have more specific questions, we welcome you to set up an evaluation. We’d be happy to go over your particular needs and any concerns you have. Contact our team with Dr. Cynthia J. Mikula, DDS, in Bay Village, OH, today to set up your consultation.