Fixing misalignments and crooked teeth with traditional braces has been the main method of treatment for many years. Now that Invisalign is available, you have different option that doesn’t change your appearance. It also makes it easy to stick to brushing and eating habits you may have gotten used to over the years.
With the growing popularity of Invisalign, you probably have several questions. To help you stay informed and determine if you’re ready to start, a dentist answers the most common questions she gets.
How Do I Know If I am a Candidate?
Invisalign is ideal for teenagers and adults trying to straighten their smile, remove gaps, and make extra space without the use of metal braces, wires, or brackets. It’s most ideal for those with mild to moderate levels of orthodontic problems. However, Invisalign has been increasingly capable of handling more and more complex cases with each passing year. For this reason, you’ll want to have a consultation with a dentist first before ruling out your candidacy.
How Often Do I See the Dentist for Checkups?
After beginning Invisalign, you’ll need to visit your dentist once every six weeks. During these appointments, they’ll make sure that you’re wearing the aligners long enough and confirm that your teeth are shifting as planned. Since each step of treatment is planned from the beginning, they’ll know if something isn’t right and be able to make adjustments as needed.
Invisalign lets you switch to the next pair of aligners on your own every two weeks, so less appointments are necessary than what is typical with traditional braces.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
The length of treatment largely depends on the complexity of your case and the amount of time you spend wearing the aligners. On average, treatment can take anywhere from eight to 18 months to complete. This is assuming you wear the aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours per day. The longer you wear them, the more likely your Invisalign treatment will be on schedule for completion by a certain time.
Will I Need a Retainer?
Just like any orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to wear a retainer afterwards in order to prevent your teeth from shifting back. This is because the alveolar bone is not finished settling into its new position. If you don’t wear a retainer, all of your progress could go to waste as your teeth begin to shift back.
Retainers are typically worn for the same amount of time as aligners for the first year. After that, you’ll only need to wear it at night from now on.
Excited to start your new orthodontic regimen? Schedule a consultation with a dentist today to learn how you can get started right now!
About the Author
Dr. Sheri McIntosh earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She treats every patient uniquely and works hard to develop a productive relationship with each person she meets with, including those seeking orthodontic treatment via Invisalign. To learn more about her practice, you can contact her through her website.