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What is Invisalign?

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Thanks to its growing brand awareness amongst patients aged 25-45, Invisalign is fast becoming one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatment options. Nowadays, most people have heard of the name Invisalign but, they may not know exactly what it is or what it does. This article helps to explain everything you ever wanted to know about Invisalign and how it can benefit you.

Simply put, Invisalign is a form of orthodontics which effectively works by straightening your teeth. When people think about orthodontics, the first thought that generally springs to mind is ugly metal train-tracks. Thankfully, technology has moved on considerably over the years and we can now straighten teeth in a much more discreet way. In fact, it is almost invisible. The only way someone can tell if you are wearing it is if they come up really close and stare at your teeth.

Invisalign treatment

If you have decided to straighten your teeth with Invisalign, you will no doubt want to know what your treatment will look like.  Here are the fundamental stages of treatment that a patient will receive…

Pre-treatment checks

The first step is to discuss your aims of treatment with your dentist.  You may be worried about crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, overbite, underbite problems, gaps between your teeth and many more. It is important that we understand all of your concerns and which ones are a priority to you.  If you have additional concerns like chipped teeth or discolouration, we can certainly look into this for you too.

Clincheck

After your initial consultation, your dentist will take photos, high resolution digital scans of your teeth and send this all over to Invisalign in the US.  A technician then sends back something called a Clincheck which is a computer simulation.  Clincheck tracks how your teeth will move throughout treatment.  It is essentially a video so you can see what your teeth look like towards the end of treatment.  Once your dentist has made adjustments to the final positioning of teeth and is happy with the result, the case will be shown to you for approval.  Have a look at the video below which shows you an example of a Clincheck.

Once you have approved the Clincheck the next stage of the process is to fit the aligners.  This is actually the longest appointment of the process and typically takes no longer than 1 hour.  It actually depends on the number of attachments you have on your teeth as the more you have, the longer the appointment will take.

What are Invisalign attachments? Attachments are little pieces of tooth coloured filling material that help anchor the aligners and make the tooth movements more efficient and predictable. We do not have to use them but, it decreases the overall time of treatment drastically.

Begin treatment

After the attachments are placed, we give you a batch of aligners (usually around 4-6). Each aligner is numbered, so you know which number to wear during each week of treatment. At the end of week 1, you will move to the aligner number 2 and then after another week you will switch to aligner 3, and so on. Each aligner will move the teeth a small amount and little by little your smile will start to transform.

After the first batch of aligners has been used you will return back to the clinic where your dentist will check that everything is moving according to plan and you will be given the next batch.

How many aligners will I need? This all depends upon how crooked your teeth are and the types of movements that are needed. The number can range from as low as 7 to as high as 35. Once you have finished the whole set of aligners, we will reassess the tooth positioning and decide on whether we are happy to finish there or if the teeth need further movement. If further movements are required, we repeat the process until you are happy with the final result.

Finishing Invisalign treatment

Once you are happy with the alignment of your teeth, your dentist will take a final digital scan which will be used to make retainers.  Retainers are like a thin clear mouthguard that holds your teeth in their final position. They look similar to Invisalign aligners and you will have to wear them every night-time to keep your teeth in their nice new position.  Otherwise, there is a risk your teeth will move back to their original position. The is called relapse. The retainers will need to be worn for the rest of your life, something that is referred to as lifelong retention.

Additional work

There will be some instances where although you are happy with the positioning of your teeth, you could benefit from additional cosmetic work.  Your dentist will be able to discuss what extra treatment you could have with you which include tooth whitening, bonding and possibly veneers.

If you are keen to have Invisalign please call and we would be happy discuss how we can help you to achieve the smile of your dreams.