It’s the final countdown – to the remaining sets of your aligners rounding up the completion of your treatment! A few more weeks and at last, you will be able to flash those perfectly straight pearly whites and kiss Invisalign goodbye!
Hold on. Let’s not get carried away entirely just yet. Prior to severing ties with your aligners, check this to-do list first!
Do scrutinize your smile in the mirror
There’s a funny saying that goes, “You can’t face your problem if the problem is your face.” So, to avoid doubling your expenses and undergoing another agonizing treatment of Invisalign, check in the mirror to see if the appearance of your teeth and smile is something that you can live with after the completion of your treatment.
Get the honest opinion of people close to you and know their impression regarding your new smile (just don’t take any negative feedback too personal). Grab your mobile phone and snap a couple of selfies in different angles so you have an idea of how your teeth would look like when you smile.
Once you have your feedbacks in place, assess whether the results of your teeth’s alignment is fine by your personal standards. If you are not completely sold out with the outcome of your teeth, voice it to your orthodontist. Consider that the practice of orthodontics has a touch of aesthetics and science; trust that your orthodontist knows how your teeth should be positioned and best look like in the end.
Do practice your bite
Aside from gaining straight teeth, it is crucial that your bite is properly placed after the treatment. The goal of orthodontics is to address both of these concerns simultaneously.
To check if your teeth are balanced on both sides, do these:
- Chew your food. If there is no discomfort, your bite is in place. Feel if food particles get trapped in between your teeth. If yes, there may be gaps causing this.
- Observe if your jaw sways to one side when you bite.
- Be sure to convey any concerns to your orthodontist so complications may be addressed prior to the last weeks of your treatment.
Do check if you need any non-orthodontic oral treatment
Depending on the teeth’s condition, some orthodontists require additional work on the patient’s teeth. These procedures may range from as simple as resin fillings or teeth whitening, to much-complicated ones like an application of implants or bridges.
My advice is to have 2 consultants with you before you start your Invisalign treatment. Have a general dentist and an orthodontist design a treatment plan suited for you. You may ask them if it is necessary for any non-orthodontic treatment to be included as you progress in your teeth alignment or you may wait after the whole treatment is completed. Having extra dental work done as required is vital if you want to pull off your dream smile.
Do know the kind of retainers needed for your teeth
Retainers play a great role in keeping your teeth straight after your treatment. Here’s why.
A common downside after a successful teeth alignment procedure is called a relapse. A relapse happens when the teeth regress back to their original misaligned positions. Some patients are blessed to still keep their teeth well aligned even without retainers, but this is not the case for a vast majority of individuals.
What are the types of retainers used?
Removable retainers. This type of retainers, similar to Invisalign, are to be worn according to the number of hours recommended by your orthodontist.
Fixed wire retainers. This type of retainers is usually prescribed to people whose teeth have a greater chance of undergoing relapse. It used to be called “permanent retainers” as they are attached to the back of the teeth. However, the term has been dropped since the retainers tend to dislocate whenever food particles get stuck in between the retainers or when a person happens to bite in an improper manner.
Do know how long you need to wear retainers
I get this question often and my answer is always, “up until the time you get tired of having straight teeth.” Of course, they want to have perfectly aligned teeth, so that would mean retainers are to be worn for the rest of their lives.
A person can never tell when their teeth will ever stop moving. Studies show that as people get older, the teeth still continue to move about.
Remember to discuss your aftercare plan with your orthodontist prior to ending your Invisalign treatment so you won’t be surprised by the recommendation. Get to know the answers to these questions:
- What kind of retainers is best suited for your teeth?
- How long should your retainers be worn per day?
- How many times do you need to come back to the clinic for assessments after your procedure?
Do keep everything you used during your Invisalign treatment
“Why do I need to keep my aligners when I’ve successfully finished my treatment?” You may ask.
Well, as much as we want to avoid relapse, there are times when patients have found their teeth regressing because of failing to religiously wear their retainers. That’s why I highly recommend my patients to store the remaining 5 – 6 pair of aligners from their treatment. Patients have to be sure though that the aligners are still in good reusable condition.
There are several types of teeth aligners, however the patient usually go for the invisible aligners, you can read more about them here: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/invisible-orthodontic-aligners#1
Usually, I keep these for my patients in case, when the unfortunate relapse happens, they still have a chance to correct the misalignment by using their “oldies but goodies” aligners.
Lastly, you may feel a bit uneasy discussing your financial status with your orthodontist. As the best practice, I do tell my patients about my professional and other fees that they need to expect before deciding to get Invisalign treatment at our clinic. I also inform them of the inclusions of their treatment from start to finish. Also there is a complete guide to Invisalign provided by UbiqiHealth a Singapore Health Portal.
I remind my patients to check their remaining balances with the clinic whenever their treatment is nearing closure. I always want them to not worry about money matters, so I advise them to be updated with their unpaid accounts. This gives me the confidence of being able to provide the best care for my patients—not only with their dental needs but also their well-being. There’s a fulfilment to see your patient walk out the door of your clinic with a genuine and perfectly straight smile, devoid of any worries that monetary issues may bring about.
I hope this article has brought enlightenment to your Invisalign woes. Do send us any comment or questions if there are concerns bothering you that were not addressed here. I wish you the best in your quest to have the brightest smile!