For those dealing with crooked teeth or an uneven smile, Invisalign® is a teeth-straightening alternative to metal braces. Wearing a dental device potentially impacts an individual’s self-esteem, and traditional wire braces can detract from looking professional or mature. Clear aligners offer similar results to metal braces without the same highly visible profile. The entire treatment process is virtually invisible, making this orthodontic solution a preferred choice for many. However, not everyone will be a good candidate for this makeover option.
Understand the process
The Invisalign® smile makeover solution is similar to metal braces in that it can be used to straighten crooked teeth or create a more uniformly aligned smile. The process involves a series of custom-made clear trays that fit over the teeth and shift the positioning of the teeth over a period of time. The treatment moves teeth slowly and limits much of the discomfort commonly associated with traditional braces. As the teeth move into a new position, the trays are changed until the desired look is achieved and the treatment is over.
Even though the process achieves much of what traditional braces do, not everyone will be the right fit for this option. Here are several things that could indicate clear aligners are a route for achieving a straighter smile.
1. Simple, straightforward dental needs
Clear aligners can address many of the same conditions often fixed by wire and bracket braces. Those who deal with gaps or crowded teeth, as well as those who deal with a crossbite, overbite, or underbite, can benefit from this choice. Even situations with an open bite can be addressed through these aligners. However, this solution can only be effective when the cases are simple and do not require severe adjustments. More complex cases may need to be handled through a more traditional orthodontic route or through surgery.
2. A mouth full of adult teeth
A majority of treatments involving teeth straightening typically require that a patient has a mouth full of adult teeth. If the baby teeth are still falling out, then it can be hard to assess where the underlying adult teeth are going to grow. This straightening process may require waiting until all of the baby teeth have fallen out.
3. Consistent, responsible behaviors
Even though teenagers are some of the youngest candidates selected for clear aligners, wearing this form of braces requires a level of personal responsibility. There needs to be a commitment to both wearing the aligners as prescribed and taking good care of them. The trays are removable, which means when not in use it is possible to lose or damage them. It also means that the individual needs to commit to wearing the trays for a certain number of hours per day and throughout the night. Being irresponsible with the trays can delay the success of the treatment.
4. Being a non-smoker
Since the trays need to be worn for much of the day, it is difficult to use tobacco products or smoke. Removing the trays to take a smoke break could jeopardize the effectiveness of the treatment. Trying to smoke with the trays in will cause problems with the trays and can lead to staining and making the trays dirty. Being able to use the aligners could be a good reason to quit smoking.
5. Strong oral hygiene habits
Even without orthodontic treatment, good oral hygiene should be a part of the daily routine. Failing to brush and floss the teeth can lead to cavities, tooth staining, and gum disease. If a mouth is not healthy, clear aligners may not be possible. In some situations, dental work may need to be done to remove decayed teeth or to repair damaged teeth before the trays can be fitted and placed. Oral hygiene needs to be a big part of the treatment process as well.
Good oral hygiene can prevent infections from developing while wearing the trays, as well as prevent issues that could delay or complicate the treatment process. It is important to thoroughly brush the teeth before placing the trays in the mouth, especially after taking the trays out for mealtimes. Any food or particles left on the teeth increase the likelihood of developing a cavity. Take care of the trays by brushing them in their entirety with a gentle toothbrush and mild toothpaste. The trays may also come with a special cleansing agent to be soaked in each day.
For those who meet these basic requirements, Invisalign® treatments are a potential option for teeth straightening. Consult with a dental provider for a customized treatment plan.
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