It was nearly three centuries ago that modern dental braces were invented in France. However, ancient societies made meager attempts at the same feat, likely with limited success. Misaligned teeth have long been corrected by traditional metal braces, which are glued to the teeth and typically worn for a year or longer to achieve the ideal smiles. Though these installed mental systems have been effective, there is now an advanced method in tooth alignment. Invisalign dental system is composed of trays sculpted around the wearer’s teeth that progressively force the teeth to shift, creating a more uniform look. Dr. Gaertner in Kendall, FL offers Invisalign at his practice, 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, and as the name implies, most patients can wear them undetectably on a daily basis. The other benefits of this newer orthodontic treatment option are comfort, as metal brackets are not placed and therefore the mouth is less apt to develop sores; better hygiene, since the trays can be removed during meals and flossing is not impeded by metal wires; and speedier results than traditional braces. Through the advanced treatment plan, Invisalign is the go-to option for many cases in orthodontia.
Is it Necessary to Fix Crooked Teeth?
While people may have individual opinions on the look of unique sets of 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 face 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 in a person’s hygiene routine. Flossing may be difficult, and the surface of the teeth may not be as easily reached by 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 looks.
With the reliable method of metal braces to move your teeth, some patients feel skeptical when offered the alternative choice of Invisalign treatment. While there are some limitations to the method, and efficacy will vary depending on one’s needs, the clear braces are a viable option for many patients. If a person is a candidate, there a number of advantages to wearing alignment trays rather than having traditional braces installed. Young people seeking to avoid teasing from their peers, and well-established professionals attempting to avoid appearing young an inexperienced gravitated toward wearing the 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 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 those who have worn both report 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 to having a straight smile is a regular checkup at Dr. Gaertner’s office to ensure 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 series of trays. Dr. Gaertner will capture X-rays of the most recent state of the teeth, and an impression will be completed. The mold of the mouth will serve as a 3D replica of the patient’s anatomy so the Invisalignment treatment system can be planned. 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 adhered 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 feel relief by eating softer foods, using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, and by taking over-the-counter medications designed to treat pain and inflammation.
Patients must wear the invisible trays for at least 22 hours a day, and are expected to remove the trays 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 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 hygiene of the 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 plan. If needed, Invisalign patients receive additional clear trays created 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 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.
FAQs about Invisalign
What is the cost of 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.
Does dental insurance cover Invisalign?
Dental insurance plans that cover orthodontia generally will cover at least a portion of Invisalign. Each plan varies, and patients should consult with their providers. Dr. Gaertner’s office will submit an estimate to each patient’s insurance company to determine the patient’s out-of-pocket cost.
How does the Invisalign treatment plan work?
The process is computerized, making Invisalign an ideal method for treating the alignment of the teeth as there is less room for human error. Dr. Gaertner will submit all the necessary materials for the trays to be created, which occurs in a laboratory by 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 be in proper alignment.
Why is the advantage of Invisalign over metal braces?
The treatment system provides patients with invisible alignment that is more discreet than traditional orthodontia, it is worn for about half the amount of time that wearers have mental braces, the trays are removable, and generally patients experiences fewer mouth sores.
Is Invisalign better or worse than braces?
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.
How long is the treatment time for Invisalign?
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 how long the trays will need to be worn during a 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 shift a patient’s 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. Generally, bite patterns do not require any continued correction.
How often do Invisalign patients needs to schedule appointments with Dr. Gaertner?
Patients will need to see Dr. Gaertner for checkups to ensure that teeth are moving in the pattern they are intended to. Fortunately, since the aligners are made at the beginning of the procedure, these appointments are less frequent than patients wearing metal braces. With traditional braces, a metal bracket is placed on each tooth, and a wire is threaded between them, and 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 a hectic life, 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 throughout the 33183 area.
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 them. This is standard with any orthodontic procedure but fortunately most people adjust quickly.
Meet Dr. Gaertner – Miami, FL’s Full-Service Dentist
Dr. Gaertner is the resident dentist at Bliss Dental in Southern Florida. He specializes in helping patients maintain their oral health as well as performing smile-enhancing procedures, like Invisalign. 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 providing them with the latest advancements in dentistry.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2015
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2015
- Invisalign®. How Invisalign Works. 2016
- Invisalign®. Take the Smile Assessment. 2016
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2015
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