Invisalign

Have you ever hidden your smile because of the way it looks? Would you like straighter teeth? If you’ve ever thought about getting your teeth straightened, you may have thought, “But I don’t want braces!”

Bulky metal brackets and wires are not appealing to most people. We understand. That’s why we offer Invisalign clear aligners.

The Invisalign system uses a series of removable, clear dental aligners which gradually move your teeth with a gentle, constant pressure. One of the best features is that they’re pretty hard to see—almost invisible!

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How Is Invisalign Better than Metal Braces?

Invisalign is perfect for adults and teens who are looking for an alternative to metal braces. Here are some of the advantages you could enjoy:

  • Time Savings: We can straighten most patients’ smiles in around one year, which is a relatively short time to wait for a beautiful new smile! Also, you only need to visit us every 4–6 weeks during your treatment. We’ll barely interrupt your busy schedule.
  • Eat What You Like: Because metal braces are attached to the teeth, patients need to avoid sticky, hard, and chewy foods. Instead of avoiding foods, you can take Invisalign aligners out when you eat, so you can eat what you like!
  • Almost Invisible: Of course it’s possible to see Invisalign, but it’s not easy. In contrast, shiny metal braces really stand out. They even push patients’ lips forward. Invisalign aligners are clear, and they’re customized to hug teeth rather than sticking out.
  • Easy Cleaning: It’s not easy to brush and floss around metal brackets and wires. Your routine with Invisalign will be simple. Just take the aligners out to brush and floss your teeth normally.
  • Less Pain: Many patients hate the feeling of getting their metal braces tightened. The sudden change in tightness can really hurt, but Invisalign aligners just apply a constant, gentle pressure to move your teeth without those sharp pains.

Who Is A Candidate For Invisalign?

Invisalign is a popular treatment for teens and adults who want straighter, healthier smiles. To be a good candidate for treatment, one must be able to wear and care for aligners properly. It can be tempting to remove aligners even though they are nearly invisible. Not wearing the system as directed could result in having to wear aligners for a longer period of time.

The Invisalign system has been designed to correct several orthodontic problems. These include:

  • Minor overbite or underbite
  • Minor open bite
  • Some crossbites, in which the upper teeth sit on the inside of lower teeth
  • Overcrowding
  • Slight overlapping of teeth
  • Gaps
  • Protruding or turned teeth

Many people have achieved outstanding results using Invisalign. Patients with severe malocclusion may achieve better results with traditional orthodontic treatment. A comprehensive consultation and examination help us determine who is a good candidate for Invisalign.

Invisalign tends to be appealing to certain types of people, too. Because the aligner trays can be removed for short periods, this system is great for people who do public speaking. Having the ability to remove aligners is also advantageous for people who play full-contact sports. While these are good reasons to seek Invisalign treatment, the patients we tend to see the most are those who are interested in getting a straighter smile with fewer dental visits and a streamlined treatment process.

What Is The Invisalign Treatment Process?

Close up of woman putting on clear invisalign alignersThere are just a few steps to Invisalign treatment.

First, you will have a consultation with the dentist. This initial visit identifies the clinical data that indicates you are a good candidate for this system. In addition to x-rays, your dentist may take photos of your teeth and smile.

The next step in treatment is to send your photos, x-rays, and impressions to a specialized lab. The lab also receives a treatment plan created just for you by your dentist. The treatment plan outlines how your teeth will move. Lab technicians input the clinical data into a computer program, which generates a 3D rendering of your teeth. The computer also animates a model of how teeth will move over time. After review by the dentist, the aligners are made. It can take several weeks for the aligners to be manufactured and sent to our office.

When your aligners are ready, your dentist will insert them for the first time. You may remove and insert them a few times in the office so we can assist you with this new practice if necessary. You will receive a few sets of aligners at a time, each to be worn for two weeks. You can remove your aligners when you eat and drink and for brushing and flossing.

At the end of your treatment program, you may be ready to move straight into wearing your new retainer to keep teeth in their new positions. Sometimes, a little refining is needed and another one or two sets of trays is made. Once you complete your treatment program, expect to wear a retainer as directed. Some people wear their retainer at night for many years.

How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?

Each treatment is unique and customized. On average, patients wear Invisalign for 12 to 18 months. Because aligners are clear, you can watch your smile transform right before your eyes.

How Many Hours Per Day Will I Need to Wear The Clear Aligners?

To achieve the best results in the estimated treatment time, it is necessary to wear aligners 22 hours a day. Ideally, they are removed only for meals and oral care. They can be removed for short periods, such as a special event or sports, but should be inserted again right away.

How Should I Care For My Invisalign Clear Aligners?

Invisalign aligners are worn only for weeks at a time. Still, you don’t want stains or bacteria accumulating on them. Daily care is simple. It is not necessary to brush your aligners. Doing so could scratch them. To keep your aligners in good condition, just rinse them with cold water, being sure to always wash your hands with soap and water before handling them. When you remove your aligners, place them in a carrying case. If you do not have a case (we recommend getting a few), place aligners in a napkin. Aligners should be rinsed each time you insert them.

Are There Foods I Can’t Eat During Invisalign Treatment?

A smiling woman holding invisalign or invisible bracesHaving more food freedoms is one of the benefits of Invisalign treatment. While there are fewer restrictions with this system than with traditional braces, there are some foods your dentist may want you to avoid.

  • Crunchy foods like uncooked carrots can push on teeth that are moving and potentially interfere with progress. Cut crunchy foods into bite-sized pieces.
  • Sticky foods and candies, such as jelly beans and caramel should be avoided. Gum should also be avoided. These items can leave a sugar residue on and in between your teeth, increasing the risk of cavities.
  • Never drink warm beverages while wearing your aligners. They could warp.
  • Rinse your mouth well if you consume beverages like coffee, tea, soda, or red wine. The residue from these beverages could stain the aligners, making your smile look dull or discolored.

Is Invisalign Painful?

Invisalign is not painful but it is like having braces in some ways. Force is applied through the aligners to move teeth into proper position. This force can cause soreness. Typically, this lasts only for a few days after new aligners are inserted. Yes, this means you may have mild soreness every two weeks. The best way to get past the soreness is to wear aligners as directed. It can be tempting to remove them to alleviate the minor discomfort. However, this perpetuates the sensation. Some patients take an over-the-counter pain reducing medication to manage this temporary side effect.

Transform Your Smile in About a Year

Just imagine: around a year from now, a new, straighter smile could be yours to show off! In the meantime, your Invisalign aligners will hardly be noticeable! Make an appointment with Pacific Northwest Smiles today. Call 425-357-6400 or fill out the appointment request form below. Dr. Darren Greenhalgh can answer your questions and help you determine whether Invisalign is right for you!