When it comes to traditional braces, there have been a number of changes to their design, shape, size, and even color in recent years. Today’s braces are smaller, more aesthetically pleasing, and can more efficiently correct a number of orthodontic issues, leaving patients with a beautiful smile they love. As exciting as these developments have been, however, some patients are still unsure about using traditional braces to align their teeth and improve their oral health. Fortunately, there is another option available! At Coppe + Sears, we offer Invisalign clear aligner therapy as an alternative to traditional braces. This innovative system offers patients the same beautiful results as braces without the use of brackets, wires, or bands. Because it is still a relatively new option in orthodontics, there are quite a few misconceptions out there about what Invisalign is, what it can do, how effective it is, and how much it costs. So, we’re here to share the truth about Invisalign!
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign clear aligners were developed in the late 1990’s, but similar trays had been used for decades before that as retainers. The Invisalign clear aligner system gives us the software and technology needed to move crooked and misaligned teeth in stages using nothing more than a series of customized aligners. At the end of each stage, patients will replace their current aligner with the next in the series. This will generally be every 1-2 weeks, but the exact time frame will depend on each patient’s treatment plan.
In its earliest days, Invisalign was mostly used for simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. As orthodontists began to realize its potential and Invisalign grew in popularity, the aligners improved to move teeth more efficiently in most mild to moderate cases. The system can be just as effective as traditional braces when used as directed by an orthodontist. Over 7 million patients have been treated with Invisalign aligners all over the world!
Does Invisalign treatment take longer than braces?
Any kind of orthodontic treatment requires a commitment from patients in order to be successful. However, patient compliance is especially important with Invisalign. Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, with brackets affixed to the actual surface of the teeth. That means a great deal of the hard work is done without too much effort from the patient. Invisalign aligners are a removable appliance, however. For the system to work properly, aligners need to be worn 20-22 hours a day, throughout the course of treatment. Patients who neglect to do so will not see the results they desire, and may face longer treatment times in general.
There is never a “one size fits all” answer as to how long a patient will need orthodontic treatment. Every case is different and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. In general, however, the average number of aligners used with Invisalign treatment is somewhere between 10 and 48. The total treatment time can be anywhere from about 6 to 18 months, which is actually slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!
Is Invisalign more expensive than braces?
There are several factors associated with the overall cost of any treatment, but comparatively speaking, Invisalign tends to cost just about the same as traditional braces.
Does Invisalign have any advantages over traditional braces?
Invisalign allows patients a freedom and flexibility that more traditional treatment methods are unable to match! Food restrictions are a perfect example of this. For many braces patients, one of the toughest parts of treatment is having to give up some of their favorite foods to keep their appliance safe. They must avoid anything crunchy or chewy while wearing braces, which eliminates several popular foods and snacks. With Invisalign, this is never a problem! The aligners are simply taken out before eating, then put back in when the patient is done. Not having any food restrictions makes orthodontic treatment a lot more manageable!
Removable aligners also make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing around wires, brackets, and bands can be frustrating and time-consuming, but Invisalign aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Caring for the aligners themselves is a cinch, too! There are special kits designed to clean them, or they can be gently brushed using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
Without any wires or brackets to get in the way, Invisalign’s removable aligners are great for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. Since they can be removed for short periods of time, they are also perfect for any special event when a patient wants their natural smile to shine through, such as prom, weddings, or even senior pictures.
Is Invisalign for everyone?
In general, Invisalign tends to work best for adult and teen patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues, and patients whose permanent teeth have all grown into the mouth. Cases that are more complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. Also, patients with baby teeth still in their mouths are not great candidates for the clear aligner system. When patients schedule a consultation with Dr. Chad Sears, he will be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for their particular case, or if they would be better served by orthodontic treatment using braces. Dr. Sears will only recommend the treatment he believes is best for each unique smile he treats, and in most cases the patient will be able to choose between clear aligners and braces!
What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?
No matter what kind of orthodontic treatment a patient chooses, the teeth always remember their previous places in the mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if nothing is there to stop them. This is why retainers are essential for lasting results! Our office provides all patients with a retainer once treatment is complete. Wearing this retainer exactly as directed by Dr. Sears will help keep newly straightened smiles in place.
Trust your smile to the experts at Coppe + Sears
Invisalign is the most popular alternative to traditional braces, and with good reason! This exciting aligner system continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment, and we are proud to offer it to patients in Lexington and the surrounding communities. To learn more about Invisalign and the incredible things it can do, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sears!