Invisalign : Orthodontic Treatment


INVISALIGN

Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces. It is a system of clear aligners introduced in 1998 by Align Technologies. The idea came to an orthodontic patient who received his retainer after when his metal braces were removed. It is a series of transparent plastic aligners that gradually shift teeth into their appropriate positions in the jaw.

While there are other clear aligners on the market today, Invisalign remains the most well-known and the most popular. It is the ideal solution for teens and adults who need to fix their teeth misalignments but want to do so discreetly.

The team at 5thandolive dental would love to meet with you and determine your eligibility for treatment with Invisalign.

WHO SHOULD USE?

Invisalign clear aligners are recommended for patients with mild to moderate malocclusion, or “bad bite”, including:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
  • Open bite
  • Underbite
  • Overcrowding
  • Crossbite

This system can also be used for patients whose teeth have started shifting back to their original position following other orthodontic treatments.

INVISALIGN vs BRACES

Invisalign and traditional braces both straighten teeth, improve the aesthetics of your smile, and correct issues such as underbite and overbite. If the thought of wearing traditional braces makes you cringe, you may want to consider Invisalign. While they are both used to treat malocclusion, there are also several differences when it comes to cost, effectiveness, comfort, appearance, and more:

COST

When it comes to the cost of orthodontic treatments, there are several factors that are at play, including the complexity of your situation and the duration of treatment.

The average cost of traditional braces is $3,000 to $7,000. There are four levels of Invisalign ranging from $1,200 to $8,000. The lower end is the Express, which offers 5 or 7 aligners and is ideal for very mild malocclusion. For patients who need more help, we offer the Comprehensive package, which costs up to $8,000 for unlimited aligners.

Some dental plans do cover a percentage of orthodontic treatments. Our friendly office staff will work with your provider. If your insurance does not cover treatment or only covers a small portion, we do offer financing through CareCredit. This allows you to get the treatment you need now and pay for it over time with smaller, more manageable payments.

EFFECTIVENESS

The FDA has approved both traditional braces and Invisalign for treating malocclusion.

For mild to moderate concerns, Invisalign is appropriate and for more complex cases involving rotated teeth, severe crowding, or large gaps, traditional braces are more effective.

Typically, Invisalign works within 12 to 18 months, with some patients only needing them for 6 months. However, braces typically take longer, sometimes up to 3 years. There are several factors involved in determining your treatment timeline- you’ll need to discuss your goals and expectations for treatment with one of our highly skilled dental professionals.

COMFORT

Research indicates that patients with traditional braces have more pain/discomfort than those using clear aligners such as Invisalign- especially in the beginning when adjusting to them.

Clear aligners will take some time to get acclimated to. Some patients experience excessive salivation and may even speak with a lisp when they first begin wearing them.

The wires and brackets with traditional metal braces may scrape against the inside of your mouth, causing cuts and sores- which can be uncomfortable. On the other hand, Invisalign is made from a smooth, soft plastic.

APPEARANCE

Traditional metal braces have small brackets that are attached to your teeth. These brackets may be made of plaster, ceramic, or metal and can be clear, the same color as your teeth, or a variety of other colors. A wire is run through the brackets, which is secured with rubber bands.

On the other hand, Invisalign has a more natural appearance. These aligners are a clear plastic, so they are almost invisible. Most people don’t even notice you are wearing them, even when they are close by.

PROCEDURE

The process starts the same, with a comprehensive exam, x-rays, and a discussion about your goals and expectations with orthodontic treatment. However, the procedures are different.

If you are getting traditional braces, the brackets will be secured to your teeth with a dental adhesive. Then, a wire will be threaded through them, and rubber bands will be placed to hold the wire and brackets in place. Over the course of treatment, patients with traditional braces require more follow-up appointments to tighten and adjust them.

For Invisalign, in addition to the exam and x-rays, a mold will be taken of your teeth that will be used to create your custom trays. When the trays come in, you will have the first one fitted in the office to make sure that it fits properly. Then, you will be sent home and instructed to change to a new set every 1 to 3 weeks, depending on your situation. You will need to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours a day. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled every 4 to 6 weeks to monitor your progress.

CARE/CLEANING

Research indicates that patients who use Invisalign have less cavities, decay, and gum issues than those with traditional braces. In order to reduce your risk of developing tooth decay, make sure you brush after every meal/snack and floss daily. You may want to use an interdental brush to get into the crevices. To avoid buildup of calcium and bacteria, make sure to wash your aligner before putting it back in after a meal.

EATING

Traditional braces have a lot of food restrictions, including nuts, apples, popcorn, carrots, pears, and candy/gum. This is another one of the areas where Invisalign stands out: you can remove them when you are eating so you don’t have to worry about food restrictions- just make sure to clean your teeth before putting the aligners back in.

INVISALIGN FOR TEENS

The primary difference between Invisalign and Invisalign for Teens is blue dots. Invisalign for Teens has a series of blue dots that fade over time, if the aligners are being worn properly. While this isn’t a fail-safe, it does give parents peace of mind. The dots also prevent switching to a new set before it’s time.

Invisalign for Teens puts pressure on your teen’s teeth to shift them into alignment. Just like regular Invisalign, each set should be worn for 1 to 3 weeks before switching to a new set. Some of the benefits of Invisalign for Teens are:

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Easy to care for teeth

For teens, oral hygiene can be difficult. It becomes even more of a chore for teens with traditional braces because it can be challenging to clean around the brackets and wires. However, Invisalign clear aligners are designed to be removed when eating and when brushing and flossing, which reduces your teen’s risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.
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Improves self-confidence

Teens can be mean and often, teens with braces are targeted and bullied. This can make your teen feel badly about themselves, making them feel self-conscious. However, Invisalign for Teen are transparent and almost invisible, so even when someone is up close, they won’t notice them.
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Less irritating

The wires and brackets that come with traditional braces rub against the inside of cheeks and lips, causing irritation and sore spots. However, clear aligners are made from soft, smooth plastic. This means there’s no risk of sores or irritation when wearing them.
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No broken brackets/wires

For patients with traditional braces, visits to the dentist are commonplace. After all, the braces must be adjusted and tightened during treatment- and the brackets/wires are susceptible to breakage. This means more emergency visits over the course of treatment. However, Invisalign aligners are flexible, so they are less likely to be broken or damaged in any way.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you have mild to moderate malocclusion, you may be a candidate for Invisalign clear aligners. Schedule your consultation with our professional 5thandolive dental team today to learn more. We can help you straighten your smile and get your confidence back. We have been providing high-quality dental care for our patients in the Olive way area for a long period of time, so you can trust us completely.

We are located on 509 Olive Way #1542 Seattle, WA. Our office hours are Tuesday – Thursday 7-4, Friday – Appointment only. In addition to Invisalign, we offer a variety of other dental services.

Invisalign FAQ's

At 5thandolive dental, we often get a lot of questions when it comes to our orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign. Some of the most common questions we are asked include:

How does Invisalign work?

One of our professional dentists will start by taking a mold of your teeth, which will be used to create a digital scan. This scan will be used to create your treatment plan. This will allow you to see “before” and “after” pictures before treatment even starts- which means you and your dentist can see the predicted outcome and discuss your options. Your aligners will be created from the scans.

Some patients need to have their teeth filed as part of the treatment process, which gives your teeth some room to shift by creating tiny spaces between them. Filing may also even out some cosmetic imperfections.

Each aligner is customized for your teeth and shaped in such a way that it applies pressure in the most appropriate places to push them into alignment. The aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day. They can be removed for eating/drinking and oral hygiene.

Depending on your situation, you will need to switch to a new set of aligners every 1 to 3 weeks. However, unlike traditional braces, you will not need to come into the office that often. We only need to check your progress every 4 to 6 weeks.

How long does Invisalign take?

Typically, Invisalign takes 12 to 18 months- with some patients seeing full results within 6 months. Very few patients go beyond 18 months, and most patients begin to see results with the very first set of aligners within 2 weeks.

This timeline is much shorter than with traditional braces, which is usually 24 to 36 months or more.

Can Invisalign fix overbite?

Yes, Invisalign has been proven effective at correcting mild to moderate overbites. If a patient has a severe overbite, traditional braces may be recommended. Invisalign typically takes less time than traditional braces to correct an overbite, but rubber bands may need to be used to achieve treatment goals. For best results, the aligners must be worn as recommended. For any orthodontic treatment, you’ll need a customized treatment plan for your situation.

Can Invisalign fix Underbite?

Yes, Invisalign is effective at correcting mild to moderate underbites that involve misalignment of the bottom teeth. However, if the underbite is due to the lower jaw being too far forward, the patient may require surgery along with Invisalign or other orthodontic treatment.