It was nearly three centuries ago that modern dental braces were invented in France. Since then, misaligned teeth have been corrected by traditional metal braces, which are glued to the teeth and typically worn for a year or longer to achieve a straight smile. Though these tried-and-true systems have been effective, there is now a more advanced and convenient method for tooth alignment on the market: clear Invisalign aligners. The Invisalign dental system involves a series of trays sculpted around the patient’s teeth that progressively force the teeth to shift toward their ideal positions, creating a straighter, more uniform look. Dr. Andy Gaertner in Kendall, FL offers Invisalign at Bliss Dental to help his patients achieve a beautiful smile.
Why Opt for Invisalign?
Invisalign is an innovative system for aligning the teeth with clear trays. As the name implies, most patients can wear them undetected on a daily basis. The other benefits of this newer orthodontic treatment option are improved comfort since metal brackets are not placed and fewer sores occur; better hygiene, since the trays can be removed during meals and flossing is not impeded by metal wires; and speedier results than traditional braces. Because it offers the excellent results of traditional metal braces without many of the downsides, Invisalign is now the go-to option for many cases in orthodontia.
Is it Necessary to Fix Crooked Teeth?
While people may have individual opinions on the appearance of irregular teeth, even finding features like front tooth gaps fashionable, or slightly crooked teeth quirky, dentists agree that most misaligned teeth should be corrected. With improper positioning, certain teeth may develop irregular wear patterns and chipping, and the bite pattern can cause temporomandibular joint disorder (often called TMJ or TMD). Crooked and overlapping teeth can also create problems for a person’s oral hygiene routine. Flossing may be difficult, and the surface of the teeth may not be easy to reach with a toothbrush. In addition to causing dental health issues, many people feel self-conscious of the look of their teeth prior to alignment correction. Crooked teeth can detract from a person’s appearance and affect self-esteem.
With the reliable method of metal braces available to move your teeth, you might not see the need to try out the latest treatment. Some patients are skeptical about the alternative choice of Invisalign treatment. While there are some limitations to the method, and efficacy will vary depending on the patient’s unique needs, these clear braces are a viable option for many patients. If a person is a candidate for the treatment, there a number of advantages to wearing alignment trays rather than having traditional metal braces installed.
Young people who are worried about teasing from their peers and well-established professionals attempting to avoid looking young an inexperienced tend to prefer wearing clear, wireless aligners. Because Invisalign trays can be removed, patients can opt to go braces-free on important days in their life by taking them out, or enjoying that they won’t be noticeable to crowds or in pictures. With traditional braces, there are a number of foods that are off-limits long term because the metal brackets are susceptible to popping off the teeth, With Invisalign, there are typically fewer restrictions. Invisalign treatment times are half as long as traditional metal braces in some patients, and patients who have worn both often report that they are less painful.
Invisalign straightens the teeth and also corrects the wearer’s bite. Through the use of anchoring brackets or buttons, small elastic bands guide the bite into a more ideal position.
Undergoing Invisalign Treatment
The first step toward a straight smile is a regular checkup at Dr. Gaertner’s office in Miami, FL to ensure that the patient is in good dental health prior to beginning the alignment system. Dental surgeries, including extractions and other treatments like fillings, should be completed before beginning the first series of trays. Dr. Gaertner will capture X-rays of the most recent state of the teeth, and an impression will be taken. The mold of the mouth will serve as a 3D replica of the patient’s bite and tooth alignment so the custom Invisalign treatment system can be created. Dr. Gaertner will work alongside the specialists at Invisalign, who will create the custom shells to cover the teeth. After Dr. Gaertner receives the trays, the patient will be scheduled for an appointment where the attachments (called bumps) will be affixed to the teeth. The fixtures are the same color as the patient’s enamel and serve as resistance points for the Invisalign aligners to correct the position of each tooth.
Over the next 6 to 18 months, patients will switch to a new aligner every two weeks, and visit Dr. Gaertner once a month or every month-and-a-half. The wearable devices will initially have a snug fit, but toward the end of the second week, they easily snap in and out of place. The teeth move approximately 1/4mm per tray period, equivalent to the thickness of a few sheets of paper.
There will likely be mild to moderate discomfort during the treatment, most commonly when the patient enters a new phase of the treatment and wears tighter-fitting aligners. Invisalign patients may find relief by eating softer foods, using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, and by taking over-the-counter pain medications.
Patients must wear invisible trays for at least 22 hours a day and are expected to remove them only to eat, drink, and brush their teeth. Water can be consumed freely, even when the aligners are in place. After meals and snacks, patients must brush their teeth to avoid getting cavities. Invisalign trays prevent the regular flow of saliva from reaching much of the teeth, and any food or particles can lead to bacteria and plaque formation. Dr. Gaertner recommends that patients rinse their trays each day with warm water to ensure the hygiene of their wearable devices.
The refinement process is the last phase in the tooth-aligning process, but the refining trays are not part of the original orthodontic treatment plan. If needed, Invisalign patients receive additional clear trays if their teeth have not achieved the desired straightening. These final adjustments can help ensure long-term results by finalizing the treatment.
Invisalign offers total improvement in many cases of misaligned teeth, but there are certain issues that it cannot resolve. These problems must be treated through other means. Extensive cases of crooked teeth may require minor surgery like extraction, metal braces, or these options combined with Invisalign, when possible. Vertical tooth movement, like when teeth are positioned too deep in the gums, cannot be corrected through Invisalign. Other cases that preclude or pose limitations for the braces alternative are back teeth that affect the bite, some tooth rotations, or teeth that have dental fixtures. Invisalign is generally recommended to create minor or moderate improvements in a patient’s smile.
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FAQs about Invisalign
While the cost can vary, patients may spend between $3,500 and $8,000 for the treatment. While this may be higher than traditional metal braces, there are a number of benefits with this option, including faster results and fewer scheduled visits. Dr. Gaertner’s staff can provide an estimate after the consultation. Many patients feel that the cost of Invisalign is very worthwhile, considering the convenience and other benefits they gain with this treatment.
Dental insurance plans that cover orthodontia generally will pay for at least a portion of Invisalign. Each plan varies, and patients should consult with their providers before moving forward with the treatment. Dr. Gaertner’s office will submit an estimate to each patient’s dental insurance company to determine the patient’s out-of-pocket cost.
The process is computerized, leaving less room for human error. Dr. Gaertner will submit all the necessary materials for the trays to be created, a process that occurs in a dental laboratory with the help of a team of experts. Patients will receive all their clear aligners at once, and they will be marked accordingly for when they should be worn. A new tray is worn every two weeks. Dr. Gaertner will affix bumps to the teeth, which serve as resistance points for the aligners. At some point, Dr. Gaertner will address the patient’s bite to ensure this, too is properly corrected. After approximately 12 months, the teeth will typically be in proper alignment.
The treatment system provides patients with an invisible alignment that is much more discreet than traditional orthodontia. Invisalign trays are worn for about half the amount of time needed for metal braces, the trays are removable, and generally, patients experience fewer mouth sores.
While there are a few cases where Invisalign is not the ideal treatment option, the final alignment is comparable to that achieved with metal braces.
For most patients, the procedure takes around twelve months. The exact timeframe will depend on a patient’s needed corrections, and Dr. Gaertner can advise patients on how long the trays will need to be worn during their initial consultation. Overall, the treatment time is generally less than with metal braces. This is in part because there is continued shifting of the teeth with each new aligner, and tooth movement is not dependent upon scheduling orthodontic visits for wire adjustments.
Does Invisalign offer permanent correction?
The Invisalign system will move your teeth to their intended position, but patients of any type of tooth alignment plan may notice that their teeth shift back into their original positions if the alignment is not maintained. Retainers may be permanently glued to the back of the teeth or removable retainers can be worn during sleep to enforce the newly straightened teeth and provide long term correction. Generally, bite patterns do not require any continued correction
Will Invisalign affect how I speak?
Most patients have to get used to wearing aligners for the first couple of days. Sometimes, patients have a slight lisp until they become used to speaking while wearing the trays. This is standard with any orthodontic procedure, but fortunately, most people adjust quickly.
How often do Invisalign patients needs to schedule appointments with Dr. Gaertner?
Patients will need to see Dr. Gaertner for checkups to ensure that their teeth are moving in the intended pattern. Fortunately, since the aligners are made at the beginning of the procedure, these appointments are less frequent than for patients wearing traditional metal braces. With traditional braces, a metal bracket is placed on each tooth, and a wire is threaded between them, held in place using rubber bands. The wires need to be adjusted on a regular basis in order to keep teeth moving into proper placement, which requires frequent office visits. For people with busy schedules and hectic lives, this is inconvenient, and delayed appointments can prolong the timeframe that braces need to be worn. As an Invisalign dentist, Dr. Gaertner sees patients less often because the checkups are not attended for adjustments, but to ensure the procedure is working. This is far more convenient for patients undergoing Invisalign in Miami and surrounding South Florida communities.
Meet Dr. Gaertner – Miami, FL’s Full-Service Dentist
Dr. Gaertner is the resident dentist at Bliss Dental, a renowned Miami center for advanced dental care. He specializes in helping patients to maintain their oral health while creating a beautiful smile for each client with customized procedures like Invisalign and veneers as needed.Dr. Gaertner is a second generation dentist, whose father is well-known in the field of dental medicine in their home country of Belgium. He is passionate about patient care and ensures that patients receive the benefits of the latest treatments and advancements in dentistry.
Book a consultation for Invisalign in Miami with Dr. Gaertner by calling (305) 274-6500 or fill out the Bliss Dental Contact Form.