If you are dissatisfied with your smile and have not done anything about it because you are uninterested in a mouthful of metal, Invisalign® “braces” can be a possible great alternative for you. They extinguish both the irritation of metal wires and the trouble of adjustments.
What Is Invisalign®?
The Invisalign® system uses virtually invisible aligners that straighten teeth without metal bands, brackets or wires. The custom-made trays are so inconspicuous, comfortable, and simple to remove for eating, cleaning your teeth and special occasions. The main benefit of Invisalign® teeth aligners over traditional metal braces is that they are virtually undetectable.
Invisalign® Orthodontic Technology
The latest in 3-D computer imaging is used to determine an estimated path of tooth movement for each patient for Invisalign® aligners, this customization works to straighten teeth over time. Each set of Invisalign® aligners is worn for up to two weeks, then change over to a new set.
Traditional braces use metal brackets that are fixed to the front surfaces of the teeth. On each bracket is a channel. A wire is threaded through this channel on each bracket and tightened at various intervals throughout the treatment. In most cases, elastic bands, called ligatures, are used to apply additional pressure in a specific direction to move the teeth. Traditional braces typically require from 18 months to 24 months to finish the required movement.
Instead of using metal brackets and wires, Invisalign® moves the teeth with a series of computer-designed, clear plastic aligners. These are like sport mouth guards, and there is an upper and lower aligner tray. Each pair of aligners has been computer designed to place pressure on the teeth to move them. Each pair of aligners is worn for two weeks, ideally from 20-22 hours each day. Those aligners are then discarded and the next pair in the series takes their place. This process continues until the teeth are in their final position. Most Invisalign® patients wear the aligners for about one year to attain the necessary movement.
How Does Invisalign Work?
The Invisalign® process begins with a full dental exam and bite analysis using the iTero® digital scanning system. From these scans, 3D digital images of your teeth are created. Dr. Holbrook uses these images to plot the path of your tooth movement, and he shares this with the patient. The Invisalign® software then breaks down these movements into a series of two-week stages (the duration each aligner tray is worn). This information is sent off to Align Technology to fabricate your series of aligners.
When your trays arrive, you return to our offices on Louisiana Boulevard in Albuquerque. Dr. Holbrook explains the system and gives you your first few pairs of aligner trays to wear. You wear them for 20-22 hours a day. After two weeks you discard the first pair of aligners and put in the next pair. Dr. Holbrook checks your progress about every six weeks.
With Invisalign, most patients achieve the movement necessary in 12-14 months.
Who Is A Good Candidate For Invisalign®?
Adults and teens are able to use Invisalign® aligners to treat most common dental issues. They successfully straighten crooked teeth, eliminate crowding and closing gaps. Minor cosmetic issues and more-complex bite problems can be treated by Invisalign® aligners as well including overbites, underbites and crossbites. Patients should be 14 years of age or older and will need to come in for a consultation to determine if they are a candidate for Invisalign® treatment.
Benefits Of Invisalign®
The clear-plastic Invisalign® aligners are mostly unnoticeable. Other than the appearance benefits of Invisalign®, these aligners offer many more advantages over traditional metal braces including:
- Less expensive with Flexible-payment options
- Little to no effect on daily life as the aligners can be removed to eat and drink
- Less painful
- Flexibility because aligners are easily removable for eating and brushing
- Easier to keep teeth clean and healthy
- No dietary restrictions
- No metal or wires to aggravate the mouth
- No injury to the mouth or bracket breakage.
- No “tightening” required
See What Our Patients Are Saying!
“I’ve been going to Dr. Holbrook since my childhood. Hands down the best most attentive dentist in town. Dr. Holbrook and his staff are very professional and knowledgeable. They always make you feel comfortable and welcome. I always recommend him any chance I get. You will not be disappointed with his services.” – Mike
“I’ve been a patient for over thirty years! Dr. Holbrook and his staff have always been very professional and friendly. I recommend him to all my friends and family!” – Cedric
Invisalign® Treatment In Albuquerque, NM
Before moving forward with Invisalign® treatment, Dr. Holbrook will evaluate your teeth and bite to be sure this treatment is right for you. Dr. Holbrook will then develop an appropriate treatment plan by taking x-rays, photographs and impressions your teeth.
Creating Your Custom Invisalign® Aligners
Advanced 3-D computer-imaging technology will be used to transform the impressions of your teeth into custom-made clear and removable aligners. This imaging system allows Dr. Holbrook to see the estimated progression of your teeth over time. By doing so, you will be able to see the final results of your treatment before you get started.
Receiving Your Invisalign® Aligners
Once the aligners are created, you will come back to our Albuquerque office to receive your aligners and try on the first set. Each set is worn day and night for around two weeks. These aligners should only be removed to eat, drink, and maintain dental hygiene. Appointments with Dr. Holbrook will be scheduled every four to six weeks to guarantee that treatment is progressing properly and to get the following arrangement of aligners.
Can I Eat With My Invisalign Aligners In?
No. When eating or drinking anything but water, you simply remove your two plastic aligner trays. Then you eat or drink whatever you want. If possible, it’s then good to rinse your mouth before putting your aligner trays back in.
You cannot chew gum with your aligners in, as well, as this can damage the trays.
Do Invisalign® Clear Aligners Work?
Yes; Invisalign® aligners have been shown to be highly effective at straightening teeth.
Is Invisalign Painful?
For those of us who’ve had traditional braces when we were teens it’s easy to remember the intense aching that would follow having your braces tightened every month or two. This pain could last a couple of days, and it generally required aspirin or other pain medicine.
Invisalign® never creates that type of pain. Some people experience temporary discomfort for a day or two at the beginning of each new stage of treatment, but this aching is not even close to the pain felt when traditional bands are “adjusted” every month or two. Plus, wearing your aligner trays day in and day out is completely painless when compared to the constant rubbing on your lips and cheeks with traditional braces.
How Long Will It Take for Invisalign to Move My Teeth?
As you would assume, there is variability between patients on the length of their treatment, but at Dr. Holbrook’s we’ve found Invisalign® typically takes less time to move your teeth into their final positions than traditional braces. Traditional braces usually take about two years, while Invisalign® typically averages from 12-14 months.
What Happens After My Teeth Are Finished Moving?
After your teeth have been moved into the desired final position, they need to stay there. That’s why normal braces transition to the use of a retainer. This prevents the teeth from drifting back to their former positions. Invisalign® doesn’t use a retainer with a plastic piece that snaps onto the roof of your mouth. Instead, Vivera® retainers, made from the same material as the Invisalign® aligners, keep the teeth in place. These Vivera® retainers are similar to the aligners, but they are thicker and more durable because they need to be worn for longer than just a couple of weeks. You will receive four Vivera® retainers to be swapped out over the course of your retention period.
How Do You Keep Invisalign® Aligners Clean?
Because you can simply take out your aligners and brush them with your toothbrush, keeping both your teeth and your aligners clean is much easier than with traditional braces. You have some options when caring for your aligners. You remove them and gently brush them every night with a toothbrush. You can also soak your aligners in denture cleaner, Retainer Brite®, or the official Invisalign® crystals to keep them clean and sanitized. Another option is to use clear anti-bacterial soft hand soap to clean your aligners.
Will Invisalign Aligners Affect My Speech?
You may have heard rumors of an “Invisalign lisp.” It is true that some patients develop a temporary lisp when wearing their aligner trays. A lisp is a speech defect that causes “s” and “z” sounds to be pronounced as “th.” Lisps are caused by improper tongue placement inside the mouth during speech. This affects airflow and pronunciation.
Some patients with Invisalign® (and with traditional braces, by the way) develop lisps because the aligner trays alter the space within their mouth, causing the tongue to move a little differently, and altering some pronunciation. The vast majority of patients simply adjust to the thin plastic trays and the temporary lisp is just that…temporary.
Is Invisalign® Covered By Insurance?
If your dental insurance covers orthodontic treatment, it may also cover Invisalign® treatment.