Invisalign – What is it & how disruptive will it be to my lifestyle?

Invisalign – What is it & how disruptive will it be to my lifestyle?

Posted by Morgado-IDC | 21st July 2021 | Team News

Invisalign is a clear, removable orthodontic system which is used globally. The treatment consists of the patient undergoing scans, the dentist creating a treatment plan and the aligners themselves being made and given to the patient. Within your Invisalign treatment, you are required to change the aligners every 8-15 days, dependant on the clinicians’ prescription for your case. The aligners are removable, but slot into attachments which are bonded to the patients teeth in order for the aligners to clip into place and aid specific movements. In some cases, patients may need little hooks as well as these, so that orthodontic elastics can be used in order to help with their treatment. Patients must wear their aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day, leaving a combined 2 hours per day to eat and drink – patients must remove aligners to eat and drink anything other than still, unsweetened water. When starting your Invisalign treatment with us, we will gift you all of the goodies you will need in order to make your Invisalign journey go as smoothly as possible.

The main factors to keeping your teeth healthy and your aligners clean during your Invisalign treatment are; keeping up with regular appointments with the hygienist, making sure to brush your teeth after every meal and drink before putting your aligners back in, maintaining good interdental cleaning and keeping up with your regular Invisalign appointments with the clinician.

Some people worry about the minimum wear time with Invisalign as 2 hours does not seem like very long. The key to meeting the right wear time with your aligners is good planning. We always recommend having your toothbrush, toothpaste and any other orthodontic tools you may need, on you at all times. For example, when going out for lunch, take the small bag (that we gift you) so that after you have finished your meal, you can clean your teeth and put the aligners straight back in.

Of course in some situations having the aligners out for only 2 hours isn’t possible. Luckily, Invisalign is a more forgiving treatment if done correctly. For example, when attending a wedding whereby grazing on food and drink all day is occurring, rather than having a set eating/drinking time, you can on occasion just have them out. Then, once the event is over, clean your teeth and pop the aligners back in. The main rule to remember when doing this is if you go over the 2-hour window, you must add the correct amount of days to your current aligners to ensure they have had the full prescribed days of wearing. We of course advise to only do this in certain special situations during your Invisalign treatment where it cannot be helped. Of course, if this was done regularly throughout your Invisalign journey, it would delay your results and increase risk of requiring further multiple refinements. Throughout treatment, our team is on hand either via email, over the phone or in the practice to guide you through these situations if you are ever in any doubt.

In some cases, patients opt to have composite bonding and other cosmetic treatments at the end of their Invisalign journey. Composite bonding is a less invasive and more tailored approach to altering the cosmetic look and shape of the teeth, as opposed to veneers. Composite is a white filling material that is bonded to the teeth using a light cure. No natural tooth surfaces are taken away or harmed and the filling material is built up on top of the targeted area. The dentist will slowly build up the look and shape by freehand and can tailor the outcome to suit what the patient has requested. A good example of this would be if a patient wanted their canines to appear less jagged or pointy – using composite bonding, the dentist can create the look of more rounded, soft edged canine. It can also be used to fill in gaps that have been created by realigning the teeth and it can also help to make the overall look of the teeth seem more symmetrical. Of course this is additional desired look and not all patients will want to opt for it.

As well as composite bonding, some patients may want to consider whitening their teeth post Invisalign. Who can deny that straight, well aligned teeth can be rounded off nicely with a pearly white shade!? If patients do want to do this, it must be done pre to their composite bonding appointment as natural tooth surfaces can only be whitened, filling materials cannot. But once the desired shade of white has been accomplished, we can match the composite bonding to this.

As much as all of these factors are incredibly important during your Invisalign treatment, the aftercare is just as important. With Invisalign, as well as any orthodontics, retaining results is paramount. Teeth can move back to their original state just as quickly as they can move to their new aligned positon. To prevent this, post treatment the clinician will scan the teeth for removable night retainers, and might place a fixed retainer to the backs of the teeth if clinically required. The fixed retainer is placed at the appointment where the Invisalign appliance and its attachments are debonded. A fixed retainer is made out of a small, thin orthodontic wire, bonded to the tooth with a white filling material. Due to it being fixed to the back of the teeth, it cannot be seen on the patient when smiling or talking, unless purposefully looking for it (like at a dental check-up appointment). It usually takes a few working days for the removable night retainers to be made and sent back to the patient. Once they have arrived, the patient will be expected to wear their night retainers for the rest of their lives. As long as they are kept clean and well maintained, night retainers can last for a few years.

Here at Inspired we pride ourselves on providing our patients with gold standard treatments, and with Invisalign this does not stop once the aligners have been removed. We encourage patients to keep in touch with us after treatment if they have any concerns or questions relating to their Invisalign treatment and maintaining their new smile. We want patients to have the perfect smile, just as much as they want it for themselves – if not more!

We strive to achieve the best results and we will not stop until everyone within our power can smile with confidence!

Elle Hetherington

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