Get the lowdown on what you need to know about starting your Invisalign treatment plan.
When it comes to subtle, straight-forward orthodontic treatment options, Invisalign is hard to beat. Millions of children, teens, and adults have flocked to Invisalign to help them straighten their smile effectively and without the shortcomings of traditional metal braces. In addition to the fact that Invisalign is practically invisible, we appreciate the dynamic movement of teeth we can attain with Invisalign. For many of our patients, it means less time spent undergoing orthodontic treatment.
After you’ve decided on Invisalign, you’ll complete a consultation with one of our dentists to determine if you’re a good candidate. First, we screen for issues such as periodontal disease (gum disease), cavities, cracks, and chips to make sure your mouth is its healthiest before we begin treatment. If you are a candidate, you’ll be able to move forward with a treatment plan.
To help you feel confident and well prepared for your Invisalign treatment, we’ve put together a quick guide on what you can expect to happen over the upcoming months as you straighten your smile.
Straightening your teeth with Invisalign is a much more simple process than you might realize.
New patients are often shocked at the simplicity of straightening their teeth with Invisalign, including adults who had traditional orthodontic treatment (braces) as a child.
You can break down a typical Invisalign treatment plan into 3 steps:
Step 1: The design of your custom-made Invisalign aligners.
Your first ‘real’ Invisalign appointment post-consultation is the design of your aligners. Your dentist will take multiple in-depth scans and images to construct a digital treatment plan. From there a series of aligners, usually about 20 to 30, will be created to transform your smile from where it is now to how it will look in the future.
Step 2: Receiving your aligners and placement of the first set.
Once your Invisalign aligners have been created you’ll come back to have your first set placed with the help of your dentist. Invisalign aligners are very easy to use, but we (and our patients) find it beneficial to help with popping the first set into place. Some patients will have something discreet we call “buttons” added to their teeth to help their aligners perform their best. Our dental team will also answer any questions you have and go over care instructions again.
Step 3: Replacing your aligners every two weeks.
From there on you’ll wear your aligners for about two weeks before you switch to the next set in your lineup. You’ll come back to see us every month or so and follow through with at-home care during this time. This routine will continue until your final aligner and the completion of your treatment plan.
Invisalign treatment is done under dentist supervision, but with relatively few appointments.
After a few initial appointments for evaluation, fitting, and getting your first set of aligners, you won’t usually need to see your dentist again for four to six weeks. You’ll switch out your aligners on your own and only come back for check-ups to ensure your teeth are realigning properly.
Busy individuals with packed schedules really appreciate the efficiency of Invisalign treatment.
Your projected treatment timeline largely depends on the severity of your misalignment and the number of aligners trays needed.
You’re probably wondering how long your Invisalign treatment plan is going to take. Your dentist will be able to answer this accurately during your first treatment appointment, but the average Invisalign plan takes about 12 to 18 months.
Two important factors affect overall treatment time—the severity of your smile flaws and the number of aligners you’ll need to get your dream smile.
Both of these factors do correspond, meaning the more severe the flaws are, the more aligners you’ll need. And the more aligners you need, the longer treatment will take.
The good news is even in the case of a very crooked or gapped smile, most patients start seeing changes after only a few weeks of wearing their Invisalign aligners!
The key to a quick, efficient Invisalign treatment plan is wearing your aligners as often as you can.
Naturally, you’ll want the quickest treatment plan possible so you can start showing off your new smile. The way to do this is by wearing your Invisalign aligners for a minimum of 20 hours per day, with 22 hours per day being optimal.
The more you wear your aligners, the faster your teeth will straighten and your gaps will close.
Another option is to ask your dentist about increasing the frequency of your aligner changes.
Invisalign recommends changing aligners every two weeks, though they do support dentist-supervised weekly changes. You’ll see results much faster by changing your aligners every week, but it should only be done after your dentist has given the green light.
Maintaining optimal oral health is essential while straightening your teeth, but Invisalign makes it easy.
Perhaps the best advantage of Invisalign treatment compared to other forms of orthodontic treatment is how easy maintaining your oral health is. Since you can remove your aligners you’ll be able to care for your teeth just as you normally would.
Upgrade your at-home oral care routine to make sure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day and before replacing your aligners. For example, if you’ve eaten a snack, take the time to brush your teeth before you pop your aligners back in. This ensures no food becomes trapped and bacteria develop.
You should also floss daily, ideally after meals and before bed. We also encourage our patients to use a tongue scraper before brushing and following up their routine with an ADA-approved mouth rinse.
Don’t forget to remove your aligners for meals, snacks, and drinks.
Always take your aligners out whenever you eat or drink something other than water. This is a really important rule to follow. Eating with your aligners in place can easily damage them as well as trap food debris. The same applies to beverages, which can also stain your aligners.
After your Invisalign treatment is complete, you’ll need to protect your newly straightened smile.
You’re on your final aligner and your smile is looking exactly how you’ve always dreamed it would. So what’s next?
After you’ve completed your Invisalign treatment and you’re pleased with your results, you’ll likely need to wear a retainer for a while. For about a year after your teeth have been straightened, they’ll be prone to reversing back if an aligner isn’t worn. You may also need to wear a nightly aligner a few days a week while you sleep to help prevent any shifting.
In the event you’re not quite happy with your results, be honest with your dentist. In many cases, a secondary, shorter treatment plan is all it takes to really perfect your smile.
Take the first step on your Invisalign journey by booking a visit with the Dickinson & Branon Dental Care team.
If you haven’t yet seen our dental team for an Invisalign consultation, you can get yours scheduled right now by calling our office or filling out this appointment request form.
Don’t forget that our team is happy to answer any questions or alleviate concerns you might have before, during, and after Invisalign treatment.