If you’re tired of having to look at gaps or crooked teeth in your smile or you’ve noticed that your teeth are shifting out of place due to relapse from a previous orthodontic treatment, you may be thinking of what the best solutions are available today. You may have heard of clear aligner brands like Invisalign® in the past, but that doesn’t mean you know all the ins and outs of treatment! To help you be more informed, here are the most common Invisalign questions and answers as explained by a dentist.
How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?
The length of your treatment can vary depending on the severity of your case. Those with more severe misalignment, crooked or rotated teeth, crowding, gaps or uneven bites will need to spend more time wearing multiple pairs of aligners to achieve results. Furthermore, younger patients often have an easier time making their teeth shift compared to adults whose tooth roots have already solidified. This makes it more difficult for them to move, but not impossible. Finally, since you’ll need to be delegating the amount of time you spend wearing your aligners, it’s important that you wear them for at least 22 hours a day to avoid hiccups in your treatment.
Most Invisalign cases take between 12 and 18 months to complete, which is much shorter than what is required from traditional metal braces.
How Often Will I Need to See the Dentist During My Treatment?
Invisalign makes it easy to manage orthodontic treatment on your own time, rather than having to go to the dentist every couple of weeks to get the hardware tightened. Since you’ll be given your entire clear aligner series up front, you should only need to visit once every six weeks or so to confirm that the aligners are shifting your teeth as planned.
How Do I Care for My Aligners?
To care for your aligners, all you need to do is:
- Soak them in cleaning solution for 15 minutes a day
- Brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush after soaking to remove excess food debris and plaque
- Keep them in their container when not in use
- Never use hot water to soak them
- Always take them out when eating, brushing or drinking fluids other than water
- Keep them in a safe spot at all times
What Happens After My Treatment?
Once you complete your treatment, you’ll need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in their newly shifted positions. It’s very important that you wear this retainer for as long as is recommended by the dentist because teeth are especially vulnerable to moving right after your treatment is complete.
Do I Have to Wear the Aligners All Day?
Technically you only wear the aligners for about 22 hours per day, but essentially yes. The only time you should be removing your aligners is when you’re eating a meal, performing your brushing and flossing routine, or taking a photo and you want to remove any doubt that your aligners will be visible in the photo. It’s crucial to your treatment that you wear them for as long as possible every day and move on to the next pair in the series when the time is right.
Got a question that didn’t get answered here? Schedule an appointment with a dentist today to have your Invisalign consultation completed!
About the Author
Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury earned his dental degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry. Over the years, he’s incorporated many new treatments and technologies into his practice, including Invisalign® and Six Month Smiles®. To learn more about his practice or begin your smile transformation, you can contact him through his website.