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Invisalign® In-Depth


Logo for Invisalign clear teeth aligners, as provided by dentist in Guelph, ON.Your teeth are an integral part of your smile and can make or break the first impressions that you leave. If you have crooked teeth, this can significantly impact the quality of your smile and your confidence. Your smile is not the only thing affected by crooked teeth. Fortunately, alignment issues with your teeth can be corrected. Traditionally, this has been done with metal braces. The idea of metal braces, however, does not sit well with many patients. At Bisson Dentistry, we offer an alternative to metal braces with Invisalign.

Effects of Crooked Teeth


One of the most major impacts of crooked teeth is the impact that they have on your smile. When your teeth are crooked, your smile just may not be what you want it to be. It can also leave the wrong impression with those around you. Additionally, crooked teeth can affect your confidence, which can lead you to hide your smile. Whether you hide your smile behind your hand, smile with your lips closed, or otherwise conceal your mouth, you can unconsciously send the wrong message.

Your smile is not the only thing affected by crooked teeth. They can also have a serious impact on your oral health as well. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean, which can lead to plaque and bacteria buildup, both of which can then contribute to cavities and gum disease. Crooked teeth can lead to bruxism, a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. This can cause uneven tooth wear. You may experience gum recession, loose teeth, or an increased risk for tooth damage. You can also experience pain in your temporomandibular joint, a condition known as TMJ disorder.

Traditional Treatment for Crooked Teeth


For decades, crooked teeth have been treated with metal braces. Still a popular treatment today, braces are highly effective. They consist of three basic components:
•  Brackets. The brackets are small metal pieces that are affixed to each tooth during your first appointment.
•  Bands. Metal bands are attached around each of your back teeth and act as anchors to hold the archwires in place.
•  Archwires. The archwires are thin wires that span across your teeth. They are anchored by the metal bands at the back of the mouth and are attached to each bracket with an elastic O-ring. The wires are available in different thicknesses, to suit a variety of needs. The wires are also responsible for the movement and stabilization of your teeth.

Depending upon your circumstances, there are also other components that may be used, including rubber bands, springs and more. While traditional braces are a highly effective treatment, and still very common today, the thought of having a mouth full of shiny metal can be more devastating to confidence than having crooked teeth.

What is Invisalign?


Invisalign is an alternative treatment to traditional metal braces. Rather than brackets and wires, this treatment uses clear, rigid, medical-grade plastic aligners to straighten your teeth and help you achieve the beautiful smile you have always wanted. These aligners are made from impressions of your mouth, which are then displayed on a computer monitor in 3-D. Thanks to specialized software, we can see every step of your treatment, from the very beginning to the very end.

Along with being clear, the aligners are also removable. However, for you to achieve optimal results in the shortest amount of time, it is imperative that you wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day. The only time they should be removed is when you eat and when you brush your teeth. All other times, they should remain in your mouth.

History of Invisalign


Invisalign has only been around for about two decades. The idea for Invisalign was thought up by a Stanford University graduate by the name of Zia Christi in the 1990's. Christi was wearing a retainer at the time, having completed his orthodontic treatment, and noticed that his teeth would shift out of place when he did not wear it. Then, when he would wear it, he found that his teeth would realign. His idea was to take this concept and apply it to the whole process of straightening teeth.

Christi teamed up with Kelsey Wirth, a friend of his, and the two of them set out to find other partners. They eventually added two more people and the four of them founded Align Technology in 1997. In the process, they were also able to procure investors as well and began to develop their product in a garage.

After researching CAD technology and 3D printers, getting the aligners on track for gradual movement of the teeth, they were able to procure FDA approval in 1998. Even after this approval, orthodontists were slow to adopt this new treatment method. In 2000, Align Technology launched a massive television campaign that amounted to about $31 million, a campaign unlike any the dental world has ever seen before. Moreover, it worked. It caught the attention of consumers with crooked teeth looking for a less conspicuous treatment to correct their smiles. The same year as the campaign, about 75% of orthodontists began receiving training in the use of Invisalign. Patients began to try it and loved it. From that moment on, more and more patients with orthodontic needs have been asking if Invisalign can work for them.

How does Invisalign work?


Treatment with Invisalign involves the use of several different aligners. Each aligner is made to be worn for two weeks at a time before switching to the next one in the series. Each new aligner is slightly different from the one before it, which aids the gradual movement of your teeth into proper alignment. Depending on your specific situation, and how long your treatment lasts, you may go through anywhere from 20 to 30 different sets of aligners.

Instead of brackets and wires, the rigid plastic of the Invisalign aligners is responsible for the movement of your teeth. The plastic puts a gentle pressure on your teeth, which then places pressure on the periodontal ligament, the tissue that holds your teeth securely in place. When the ligament widens, the teeth are then able to be guided gradually into proper alignment. Once the proper alignment has been achieved, the aligners then hold your teeth in place. When your treatment is over, you receive a retainer, which helps you to maintain the beautiful results.

How long does treatment with Invisalign take?


The exact length of your treatment depends on your specific situation. Typically, treatment with Invisalign takes anywhere from 9 to 15 months. Most patients achieve their desired results in less than a year. In rare cases, treatment can take up to two years to complete. We will have a better idea of how long your treatment will last once we have completed your initial consultation and taken digital images of your mouth.

What benefits does Invisalign offer?


Invisalign offers a whole host of different benefits. These benefits include:
•  The aligners are completely clear. This means that when you set them in place over your teeth, they disappear, rendering them practically invisible. No more metal mouth! No one will be able to tell that you are wearing them. The only thing that they will notice is your beautiful budding smile.
•  There are no restrictions on what you can eat. When you have braces, you need to be careful about what you eat. Many foods such as whole apples, carrots, corn on the cob, large sandwiches, and crusty bread can cause wires to bend or break, or brackets to pop loose. You either have to skip out on these foods or cut them into more manageable pieces. With Invisalign, the aligners are removed when you eat. This means that you can enjoy all of your favorite foods without fear of ruining your orthodontic work.
•  Oral care is easier. When you wear braces, oral care can be tedious. You need to take extra care around your brackets and under the wires. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing tooth decay and cavities. Invisalign aligners are meant to be removed when you brush and floss, enabling you to complete these tasks as normal.
•  The aligners are more comfortable than traditional braces. There are no brackets or wires rubbing against the soft tissues of your mouth. Even though aligners are more comfortable, you may still experience minor discomfort when you switch to your new aligners. This discomfort is often described as pressure and disappears within a few days.
•  You do not need as many office visits. You receive several aligners in one trip and do not need to come to the office every month for an adjustment. You can go several months between visits, which means less disruption in your schedule.
•  You can undergo retreatment with Invisalign if you have previously had treatment with braces, but your teeth have shifted out of proper alignment, it may be possible to correct your smile again without the need for metal braces again.

Are there any restrictions with Invisalign?


Because Invisalign aligners are removable, there are no restrictions regarding the foods you can eat. There are still, however, other considerations that you should know about, including:
•  Avoiding alcohol and sugary beverages. Alcohol and sweet beverages contain high amounts of sugar, which can get trapped between the aligners and your teeth. You do not have to avoid these things completely, but you should make sure that you clean your teeth after consuming them.
•  Quit smoking. Smoking while wearing Invisalign aligners is highly discouraged, as the habit can discolor your aligners, making them visible.
•  Do not chew gum. You should not chew gum while wearing your aligners, as it will stick. Not only can gum leave a residue, but it can also cause the aligners to become dislodged every time you chew, affecting their efficiency.
•  Dental restorations. While crowns may not affect your ability to undergo treatment with Invisalign, other types of restorations may. Bridges may make treatment with Invisalign more difficult, as these restorations involve the connection of two teeth. If you have any dental restoration, it is important to let us know so that we can consider them.
•  Your speech may be affected. For the most part, Invisalign does not affect your speech throughout treatment. However, there may be an initial adjustment period.
•  You will always need to make sure that you have them with you. If you are going on a trip, it is important that you make sure you do not forget your aligners. If you are only gone for a short period, the lack of the aligners may not affect your progress too much, although you may experience some discomfort when you put them back in. If you are gone for a long period, it may be necessary to schedule an appointment.
•  The aligners need to be cleaned. This can be done by rinsing in lukewarm water and using special cleaning tablets. It is essential that you brush your teeth after each meal before you reinsert the aligners.

Am I a candidate for Invisalign?


Invisalign aligners are a great option for individuals who have less severe types of alignment issues. Treatment may not work for those with extremely crooked teeth or those with large overbites or other issues that may require more advanced corrective methods. Age is also a factor in determining candidacy. The jaws of younger patients are still growing and developing, which can make the creation of effective aligners more difficult. Some patients as young as 13 may benefit from treatment, but a thorough evaluation will help us to determine whether or not it will be the best treatment. For older teens and adults, there is no age limit. Finally, you must be committed to your treatment. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are removable. For optimal effectiveness, they should be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. If you are lax in wearing your aligners, your treatment will not work as well, or at all.

If you have crooked teeth but are not fond of the idea of dealing with a shiny metal smile to correct them, Invisalign might be able to help. For more information, and to find out if Invisalign treatment is right for you, call Bisson Dentistry today at (226) 299-0713.
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199 Woolwich Street,
Guelph, ON N1H 3V4
(226) 299-0713

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