Clear aligners like Invisalign have become very popular in recent years – and it’s easy to see why. They are less conspicuous than traditional metal braces, they’re removable, and they offer affordable treatment for tooth alignment issues, allowing patients to get a healthy, attractive smile. Here’s some insight into how clear aligners work, what they can treat, and how it helps to have an approachable, local Invisalign specialist close to home in the Frankston Dandenong area for regular check-ups.
How Do Invisalign and Clear Aligners Work?
First of all, it’s important to remember that Invisalign is one brand of many that makes clear aligners, although they have become synonymous with the product. So, how do they work?
The process of straightening your teeth with clear aligners is one that involves several sets of aligners, depending on your treatment plan. Each set is custom-moulded to your mouth and teeth according to how you should progress through the treatment plan. You usually progress to a new set every 2 weeks, with each set putting gentle pressure on your misaligned teeth, slowly moving them into place.
Your orthodontist will design these aligner sets for you, strategically designing them to sort out which tooth moves where and in what order, so that by the end of your treatment, they’re all in alignment.
Because this treatment requires regular visits to your orthodontist for check-ups on your progress and oral health, it’s a significant benefit to choose an orthodontic specialist close to home. This doesn’t just mean additional convenience and less time in traffic – it also means that if any questions or issues come up, it’s easy to call or pop in and have a chat.
You Have to Wear Them to Make Them Work
It sounds like common sense, but the reality is that most orthodontic treatments using clear aligners that fail, fail because they aren’t being worn enough or aren’t being worn properly. Unlike with braces, your treatment is left in your hands – it’s all up to you.
Although they are removable, which patients see as a big benefit, they have to be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day in order to be effective. That means that other than removing them for eating, drinking and cleaning, they should be in place – so no taking them out for school, dates, family dinners or days at the beach.
How Painful is it to Wear Clear Aligners?
Whether you are wearing braces or Invisalign, you should be prepared for some discomfort – especially when you move to a new set of aligners. This is because moving your teeth into the right position is a physical process where the aligners put pressure on your teeth to move. This movement makes the gums and teeth feel tender and sore, but they do adapt quickly. Usually, any discomfort disappears after about 2 days if you are wearing your aligners as recommended.
If you reduce your hours, forget your aligners at home for a few days or stop wearing them for any reason, they will cause some discomfort when you put them back on.
If you have an unusual amount of discomfort or are having problems with your aligners, it’s important to chat to your orthodontist as soon as possible. Having an approachable local orthodontic specialist means help is always close at hand!
Can You Eat and Drink with Clear Aligners in?
No. It is very important to remove your clear aligners when you eat and drink (unless you are drinking plain water). The aligners will get damaged from any chewing action, which will prevent them from working. Also, they can trap food debris, sugar and bacteria, putting you at risk of tooth decay and unsightly stains on your teeth. You also have to brush your teeth gently before putting your aligners back in.
Dental Care While Wearing Invisalign
Every patient undergoing orthodontic treatment should keep up with their bi-annual dental appointments to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Your orthodontist will also check on the condition of your teeth and gums during check-ups.
In addition, you will need to clean your aligners every day by gently brushing them with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove bacteria, and to rinse them with water before putting them back in your mouth after meals. This is because the aligners fit closely against the teeth and restrict the flow of cleansing saliva, so any bacteria on them can put you at risk of cavities and gum disease.
What Tooth Alignment Issues Can Clear Aligners Treat?
Unfortunately, while it is game-changing orthodontic technology, Invisalign and clear aligners aren’t right for every orthodontic case. It is up to your orthodontist to advise you on whether or not you will get the results you want with clear aligners, or if braces are a better option.
Clear aligners are not as powerful as braces in some cases, so they may not have the capability to address very complex or severe tooth or jaw alignment issues. They can treat mild to moderate cases of crowding (overlapped or rotated teeth), small gaps, crooked teeth, cross bites, open bites and underbites to create a natural smile and support optimal tooth and jaw function.
Find Out if You’re the Right Candidate for Invisalign – Speak to Your Orthodontist in the Frankston Dandenong Area
Orthodontic Specialists in Melbourne have clinics in both Frankston and Dandenong, providing friendly, accessible services to our local community. If you want to find out more about Invisalign or see if they’re the right orthodontic solution for you, simply book a complimentary consultation appointment with the team and we’ll help you start your journey to a healthy, attractive smile today!