What is Invisalign?

When we say the word “braces,” many cringe, recoiling at the thought of rows of metal brackets and wires lining the inside of their mouth. While this is a natural reaction, braces have evolved and refined exponentially in the recent past. Perhaps one of the most popular dental treatment options to emerge in the last few years, clear aligners have quickly become the go-to choice for many dental patients around the country. In particular, Invisalign is the leading option, thanks to their quality scans and easily replaceable trays.

If you’re interested in Invisalign, the first step is to meet with your dentist. Together, you’ll examine your smile and oral health, and then make a scan of your teeth. A series of custom aligners are then 3D-printed, each designed to slowly move your teeth into the desired position. 

You’ll wear your Invisalign alignersfor most of the day, about 20-22 hours. You’ll be able to remove the trays when you eat and when you care for your teeth by brushing and flossing. Each set of aligners is replaced after one to two weeks of wear. Many assume that the Invisalign trays are actually retainers since they appear to just hold your teeth in place. In reality, these trays are are designed to move your teeth in a precise and prescribed manner.

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Creating the Perfect Set of Aligners for You

If you’ve ever been fitted for a retainer or a dental implant, you might have had a mold of your teeth made. Usually involving a goopy paste that’s slathered on your teeth and gums, it’s an uncomfortable process that leaves even the bravest of us a little weak in the knees. If you’re hesitating to embrace clear aligners, fear not! Invisalign makes use of an incredible new technology that takes a 3D scan of your teeth. 

Here at Valley Ridge Dental, we use the iTero Element from Invisalign to create precise and accurate digital renders of your teeth. Rather than a putty, the iTero allows us to create not just your first set of Invisalign braces, but all of the subsequent trays you’ll need to straighten your teeth. Using the ClinCheck® software, your doctor creates a digital model that shows how the teeth in your mouth will shift over time. You’ll even be able to see how your new smile will look before your first set of trays arrive.

Once your iTero scans are finalized, Dr. Katie Daniels will prescribe how your teeth will move using Invisalign aligners. Using a proprietary SmartTrack® material, each set of trays is individually 3D printed. Each set of trays is also trimmed and fitted to match your gum line, ensuring that there’s no undue wear and tear on your delicate gums. This is part of what makes Invisalign such a comfortable treatment option. When you first receive your trays, you’ll meet with your dentist to ensure that they fit comfortably and to get answers for any questions you might have. 

Is Invisalign Right for You?

We should all enjoy sharing our smile with others, but if you’ve got problematic teeth, or are self-conscious about your smile, the clear aligners from Invisalign might be a great option for you. You’ll need to meet individually with the cosmetic dentists at Valley Ridge Dental to determine if you’re a good candidate for these aligners, but most people generally are. Invisalign has been used to successfully treat a wide range of malocclusions and can be used by people of all ages, from teens to adults.

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What can Invisalign Correct?

If you’re not thrilled by the idea of using a traditional form of braces and have a treatable dental case, Invisalign could be an effective part of your dentist-prescribed treatment plan.

Crowded Teeth

Much as the name implies, crowded teeth are the result of a lack of space in your jaw for all of your teeth. As a result, your teeth might look packed together, overlapping in some cases, or twisting in others. Crowded teeth can be difficult to care for, leading to a litany of other oral healthcare concerns. Fortunately, Invisalign has shown to be an effective way to correct crowded teeth, opening up your smile for others to enjoy!

Overbite

When your upper teeth extend too far beyond your lower front teeth, you have what’s known as an overbite. This is a common dental concern, and many people have a slight overbite, however, if your overbite is too pronounced, it can lead to discomfort and pain. A severe overbite is called a deep bite and can cause pain in your jaw and undue wear on your teeth. Our cosmetic dentists can use Invisalign trays to correct your overbite.

Underbite

Essentially the opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when your lower front teeth are in front of your upper front teeth. Usually, this is a result of your lower jaw being too far forward. An underbite can lead to accelerated wear and tear on your teeth, difficulty speaking, and general discomfort while chewing. The clear aligners from Invisalign can be used to treat some underbite cases and may be a part of a larger treatment plan put together by your dentist that could also include surgery.

Crossbite

A crossbite is when you have upper teeth than are sitting inside your lower teeth, rather than outside them. Left unchecked, a crossbite can lead to improper wear and forces on your teeth, resulting in chipped or cracked teeth and in some cases, can cause your gums to recede. When the teeth do not align properly, your teeth can chip or wear away, and in some cases, your gums can begin to recede. Invisalign can be used to treat crossbites in some cases.

Caring for Your Invisalign Trays

One of the most maligned aspects of traditional wire and bracket braces is that they are difficult to care for. Fortunately, keeping your Invisalign trays looking their best is pretty straightforward.

  • Make sure to rinse out your trays after you remove them.
  • You can use denture cleaner or the Invisalign cleaner to keep your trays clean and sanitized.
  • Make sure to brush and floss your teeth before you put your trays back on your teeth.
  • You can gently brush your trays to clear them of any debris. 
  • Avoid eating and drinking anything but water while wearing your clear aligners as this can stain them.
  • Don’t use any toothpaste or colored soaps to clean your aligners. These can create unwelcome smells and stains on your trays.

How Invisalign Benefits You

There’s a certain amount of frustration and even embarrassment that stems from having misaligned teeth or traditional braces. Thankfully, you no longer have to live with these feelings with dental treatment options like Invisalign. These clear aligners offer a suite of benefits that many enjoy.

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A Streamlined Appearance

The most obvious advantage of using Invisalign is the appearance, or perhaps, the lack thereof. Unlike traditional metal braces, these clear trays are unnoticeable unless someone is really looking for them. This makes them an attractive option for appearance-conscious teens and adults.

Predictable Treatment

Thanks to the iTero scans and the ClinCheck software, you’ll know exactly what to expect during your Invisalign treatments. You’ll be able to see predictive models of how your smile will improve with time. This helps you stay on track with changing your trays on a set treatment schedule.

See Results Fast

One of the benefits that make many choose Invisalign over other options is the timeline of treatment. Traditional metal braces can take years to achieve the desired results in some cases. With the clear aligners from Invisalign, you and your dentist can see the proper changes in as little as 12 to 18 months. 

Make Comfort a Priority

Many find Invisalign trays to be significantly more comfortable than other dental treatment options. Since metal braces are affixed to the teeth themselves, patients can be left in discomfort for days or even weeks as their teeth slowly realign. With Invisalign, patients can remove their trays while eating or cleaning their teeth or remove them temporarily to find relief from pain. 

Work With Our Invisalign Specialists

Mail-order aligners have become increasingly popular, but without the guidance of a trusted dentist, these aligners can do more harm than good. Instead, visit our dentist’s office in Lake Elmo. Our Invisalign process is dentist prescribed and followed carefully by your dentist to ensure that your smile is improving as it should. 

More than just the aligners, the real value behind the Invisalign system is the treatment plan that you and your dentist build together. While the scans can predict how your smile will change, you and your dentist can track the real-world results and make changes as needed. We’ve found that our patients feel more relaxed and comfortable with Invisalign knowing that they’ve got a dentist there to answer their questions.

Schedule Your Consultation in Lake Elmo Today

Interested in everything that Invisalign has to offer? Meet with the talented cosmetic dentists at Valley Ridge Dental in Lake Elmo today! During our consultation, we’ll outline a treatment plan that works best for you and your unique dental needs.