Did you know that modern orthodontics dates back to the mid-19th century? In addition to the traditional wire braces, dentists back then even used rubber bands to help pull patients’ teeth into place.
Of course, nowadays, these metal “railroad-track” braces are becoming somewhat old-fashioned themselves. That’s thanks in large part to clear aligner trays, which most of us know under the brand name Invisalign.
In case you’re not familiar with this revolutionary procedure, read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Invisalign!
What Is Invisalign?
It’s a method of straightening teeth, but unlike those metal braces you may be familiar with, Invisalign has clear trays that snap directly onto the teeth and use gentle pressure to bring them into place.
Are They Really Invisible?
Yes, they really are almost impossible to detect. If you didn’t know someone was wearing Invisalign trays, you’d probably never guess! This makes Invisalign the perfect method of straightening teeth for older patients who don’t want to walk around with “brace face”!
Do They Hurt?
No, Invisalign trays exert gentle pressure. The most a patient might feel is mild discomfort, especially when getting a new set of aligners. If you experience pain while undergoing this treatment, speak to your orthodontist.
What Do You Mean, “A New Set of Aligners”?
Invisalign’s clear trays will need to be replaced on a fairly regular basis, as your teeth gradually move toward their final position. Usually, you will visit the orthodontist two or more times a month to exchange your aligner trays for the next set.
Are They Worn All the Time?
Not quite, but almost! It is recommended that patients wear their trays at all times except when they are eating, drinking, or caring for their teeth. For most people, this works out to about 20 hours per day.
Can I Ever Take Them Off Just Because?
“The more you wear your trays, the less time it will take to align your teeth,” say the experts at 44 West Dental Professionals. “It’s not much of a hardship since they are virtually invisible. However, some people do remove their trays for special occasions, like a wedding, prom, or other big events.”
How Much Do They Cost?
It depends on how severe your malocclusion is and how long you will need to wear Invisalign trays. Consult with your orthodontist for the most accurate estimate of your treatment. In most cases, the cost is actually comparable to traditional metal braces. Any extra expense is generally deemed to be worth it by patients who love their Invisalign!
Are the Trays Hard to Take Care Of?
Not at all! You should clean them each time you brush your teeth, and you can clean them the same way — with a soft brush and toothpaste. About once a week, you may want to clean them more thoroughly to prevent staining and discoloration. You can use denture cleaner or a special Invisalign product. Your orthodontist will explain the process in detail.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?
Only that patients really enjoy this alternative to ugly, painful, and difficult to clean metal braces. Is Invisalign right for you? Probably — but to be certain, you will want to have a consultation with your orthodontist. She will explain all of the benefits and drawbacks, and evaluate you to make sure you’re a good candidate for this treatment.