It used to be that if you needed orthodontia, you had to go through the tortuous process of getting metal brackets, wires, and rubber bands that stayed in your mouth for several years. They were painful and difficult to clean, and they often made both teens and adults self-conscious about their appearance and reluctant to smile as a result.
In 1998, though, the FDA approved the use of Invisalign®, a revolutionary new form of orthodontia. It uses custom-molded, clear trays that fit over your teeth instead of the classic flashy metal. They’re nearly invisible and discreet, they don’t cut your gums, they’re easy to clean, and they’re quite capable of handling most mild-to-moderate dental issues that regular braces treat.
At Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma, Samuel Sigmon, DDS, and his team treat a wide range of dental and orthodontic problems, and they’re pleased to offer Invisalign to their patients as an option for orthodontic treatment. Here’s how to tell if Invisalign is right for you.
What problems does orthodontia treat?
All orthodontic treatments correct malocclusions, or issues with your bite. Some of the problems that might require treatment include:
If your teeth are crowded, it can be difficult to chew properly, and just as difficult for you to brush and floss thoroughly and effectively. That results in the buildup of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, making it difficult to clean your teeth and gums easily; over time, these can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Also referred to as a “deep bite,” an overbite occurs when your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth more than 5-25%, the level considered healthy for your jaw. Overbites can lead to a number of issues, including tooth erosion and pain in your jaw.
An underbite occurs when your lower jaw juts forward so that your top teeth rest behind your bottom teeth. Depending on the severity of the bite misalignment, it might be difficult to chew properly and even to speak clearly since your tongue interacts with your upper teeth when you talk. Like overbites, underbites can also lead to excessive wear.
A crossbite is, as its name implies, the crossing of your bite — you have characteristics of both an overbite and an underbite, and it can lead to teeth wear and chipping. In addition, your teeth may rub up against your gums, and your gums may start to recede; the resulting damage can lead to gum disease and even bone loss.
Traditional metal braces shift teeth by tightening the wires in the brackets, generally over a period of 18 months to three years. They do have a 100% compliance rate, since you’re unable to take them in and out; however, as we noted above, they’re often painful, and they’re difficult to clean.
Invisalign accomplishes what traditional braces do, but in a totally different way. The treatment uses a system of progressively tighter, clear plastic aligners made of a pliable, patented thermoplastic known as SmartTrack®. These custom-fitted trays are almost invisible, so you can smile with confidence, without worrying that people will notice your dental work.
We start the process by making a digital scan of your teeth. We then send those scans to a lab. Through special software, the lab creates 3D models of your mouth to determine exactly how each of your teeth needs to shift to move into their proper (end) positions. They then fabricate the aligners and send them back to us.
You wear each set of aligners for about two weeks, after which you get another that’s just a little tighter than the one before. During the treatment, you need to wear the trays at least 20 hours a day, removing them only to eat and to brush and floss. Of course, cleaning your aligners is just as important as cleaning your teeth.
Invisalign does require some commitment to the treatment, as you need to ensure you have the trays in for the requisite number of hours a day. If you’re compliant, the entire orthodontic process should take only 6-18 months to complete — only about half the time metal requires.
Your Invisalign aligners have a number of other dental health benefits:
- Smooth trays: nothing to irritate your gums, soft tissues, or other teeth
- Unbreakable: no wires to snap, necessitating another trip to the dentist
- Easily removable: take them out for eating, drinking, and cleaning
- Normal eating: no restrictions on food since you take them out to eat and drink, reducing staining and food particles getting caught in the works
- Easier to brush and floss: no brackets to trap food and make it hard to clean teeth
If you need orthodontic work but don’t want to be visible about it, Invisalign may be just the thing for you. Give Full Circle Dental Care a call to learn more, or schedule an appointment online today. Great teeth are a clear step away.