Invisalign braces use clear aligners to shift your teeth into the desired position gradually over only about 6 to 12 months. You will receive a set of aligner trays that you change out every two weeks to align your teeth. Voila, it’s that simple!
Treatment begins with a consultation by an Invisalign-trained dentist or orthodontist. They will take some X-rays and some photos and of your teeth and face. Your provider also will make an impression of your teeth, which they can scan into a computer.
Using this 3D scan, your dental specialist will come up with an individualized treatment plan and move your teeth around in the software to strategize your alignment procedure. They will then use this information to order your Invisalign trays.
How Long Does it Take?
It usually takes three to four weeks after your first consultation to get your Invisalign trays. These trays are 25mm, made of a highly elastic and thermoplastic material called ‘SmartTrack.’ You will use each aligner for two weeks before moving on to the next stage. Your teeth typically move 1/10mm with each tray.
Invisalign aligners only work on a few teeth at a time. You may have ‘attachments’ put in, which are plastic inserts that go behind your teeth and help hold the plastic aligners in place. If you have crowding, your healthcare provider might also suggest interproximal reduction. This reduction amounts to doing some sanding between your teeth to make more space.
Most patients have to use at least one set of refinement trays after finishing with the regular ones. Typically, your teeth won’t be in the exact, desired position until you have used all of your trays. After you finish with them, you will schedule another consultation with your dentist or orthodontist. If your teeth still need adjusting, your healthcare specialist will make another 3D scan and order a set of refinement trays.
Refinement trays work the same as the original aligners. It usually takes three or four weeks to receive your refinement trays. And your first set of refinement trays are included in all Invisalign treatments, so you won’t have to pay extra for them.
Do You Have to Wear Invisalign 24/7?
During Invisalign treatment, you will be wearing your aligners 20-22 hours a day. You should take them out when you eat or drink anything other than water. You will also need to remove your aligners before brushing your teeth, at which time you should clean them.
If you participate in contact sports, then you should also remove them during competitions. In fact, Invisalign recommends its treatment versus braces if you are an athlete. With Invisalign, you don’t risk getting cuts or sores if you are hit in the face or mouth during a game or meet.
After Invisalign treatment, you will need to wear a retainer to make sure that your teeth don’t move out of place. For the first two months, you should wear the retainer day and night. Afterward, you will only need to leave it in when you’re sleeping. You will eventually get the point where you only need to use it one to two nights a week. Get your smile on with Invisalign!