Though Invisalign was first available in 1998, over the years it has become a more common and affordable treatment for those seeking a straighter smile. Unlike braces, which cannot be removed for the duration of your treatment, teeth aligners must be replaced based on your treatment schedule.
Teeth aligners therefore have their own unique treatment process that has pros and cons in comparison to traditional braces. Continue reading to learn about the steps of the teeth aligners process to decide whether this treatment is right for you.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What are Teeth Aligners?
Teeth aligners, commonly referred to by the brand name, Invisalign, are clear plastic aligners similar to retainers but designed to straighten teeth rather than just maintain them. To do this, aligners are constructed based on molds of your teeth and replaced based on your progress.
Every 1-2 weeks, you will need to replace your aligner with a new one. This allows orthodontists to prescribe multiple aligners at once, requiring fewer visits overall compared to conventional braces.
In fact, the process of getting your teeth aligners and beginning treatment is much different than it is for braces.
The Steps of The Teeth Aligners Process
The first step to getting your teeth aligners is the initial consultation with your dental/orthodontic specialist. This will involve a thorough examination of your teeth, likely including x-rays, as well as a visual inspection for signs of tooth decay, cavities, or gum disease.
Your dentist will recommend treating these issues first before beginning the process of teeth alignment, since aligners could potentially aggravate existing conditions that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Consultations are designed to test your eligibility for teeth aligners, which is a good thing. Since treatment tends to be more expensive than conventional braces, as well as less often covered by insurance, it’s important to make sure the treatment is right for you before starting.
Molding your aligners
If and when your orthodontist thinks you’re ready, they will schedule a follow-up appointment to create your molds. Based on scans of your mouth, these molds will become the plaster casts for your teeth aligners, simulated in the computer based on 3D scans taken at the office.
At this appointment, your orthodontist will review your treatment plan with you. After your appointment, they will send your scans to a lab and wait to reschedule your fitting until they come back.
Fitting your first aligner
When you go back to the office, your orthodontist will fit your first aligner by layering material in the template and fitting it to your teeth, holding it in place with small attachments. These will guide the eventual shape of your aligner, ensuring that every aligner is fitted perfectly to each patient’s needs.
After being fitted for your first aligner, you will receive instructions on how often you should wear the aligner and what restrictions you should be aware of. After 4-6 weeks and every 4-6 weeks later, your orthodontist will schedule regular appointments to check the fit of your appliance.
Depending on your schedule, you’ll replace your aligner with a new one every 1-2 weeks to maintain the rate of change of your smile’s new position.
You’ll wear your teeth aligners for an amount of time that is unique to your pre-existing conditions, age, and the amount of treatment you need. This will likely take 6 months to 2 years, with an average treatment time of around 15 months.
This means that the average patient will need anywhere from 33 to 65 aligners throughout their treatment. You will need to wear them 22 hours per day or more, taking them out only to eat and play sports. The closer to 24 hours per day you wear them, the better.
This ensures that your treatment progresses on schedule. Extra treatment time could mean extra aligners and appointments, which will increase the time and cost of your treatment, so it’s important to keep to the schedule your orthodontist creates. Teeth aligners are already more expensive than braces and less often covered by insurance, so keeping to your schedule ensures that your treatment is not more expensive than it has to be.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.