In years past, if you wanted to straighten your smile or improve your oral health, your only real option was a set of bulky, awkward metal braces. They get the job done, but don’t offer patients a whole lot of flexibility or freedom. Modern orthodontics, however, has seen some pretty impressive advancements in both technology and technique! This has resulted in patients having more treatment options than ever before, including the Invisalign clear aligner system. 

Invisalign is the most popular alternative to traditional braces, and offers the same results without any brackets, wires, or bands. This makes it a perfect choice for patients who want a more subtle treatment option. If you’ve been considering treatment with Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics, but aren’t sure if you’re ready for all that braces entail,  Invisalign could be just what you’re looking for! But what exactly is Invisalign, and how does it work? Keep reading below to learn more about this innovative system! 

What is Invisalign?

As a fixed appliance, traditional braces use brackets that are glued to the teeth and can only be removed by an orthodontist. Invisalign uses a series of removable clear trays instead. While the trays may look simple, they’re actually made of a special thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to move the teeth into alignment over time. To achieve this, the customized aligners are switched out at regular intervals throughout the treatment process.

How does Invisalign work?

The first step in any orthodontic journey is an initial consultation with and experienced orthodontist. When you schedule a visit with our practice, one of our doctors will provide a thorough examination of your mouth, discuss any orthodontic needs, and let you know if your smile is a good fit for Invisalign. We can then begin mapping out a precise treatment plan for you, based on a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, as well as an indication of how long we believe treatment is likely to take. 

Once this plan is in place, we’ll start custom designing your aligners using the 3D scan and Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material. This material is durable, comfortable, and virtually invisible! Because each case is unique, the total number of aligners required will vary from patient to patient, but the average is usually somewhere between 10 and 48. Total treatment times also vary, but tend to be from 6-18 months for most patients.

Since Invisalign aligners are removable rather than fixed, patient compliance is essential. For treatment to work properly, aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment. Depending on your specific treatment plan, you’ll switch to the next aligner in the series every 1-2 weeks. You’ll also see Dr. Hamer or Dr. Glassick every 6-8 weeks or so for a check-up. During these visits, we’ll check the movements your teeth are making and ensure that everything is proceeding as it should.

What are the benefits of Invisalign?

Invisalign aligners offer more than just comfort and invisibility! The food restrictions that come with braces can be a big learning curve, as patients need to steer clear of anything too chewy or crunchy until treatment is complete. That means avoiding foods like whole apples and carrots, popcorn and most chips, nuts, and many different kinds of candy, too. Although it’s worth all that effort in the end, it can still be a bit frustrating at times. The good news is that Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed when you eat or drink anything other than water, so you can still indulge in all your favorite foods even during treatment!

Removable aligners also make it easier to care for your teeth and gums while you’re working towards a straighter smile. While good oral hygiene is important for everyone, it’s an even bigger deal for orthodontic patients. However, braces can make brushing and flossing difficult and time-consuming. With Invisalign, aligners are simply taken out before brushing and flossing! Cleaning them is a cinch, too. There are special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them yourself using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.

The removable Invisalign aligners are also useful for those who are involved in contact sports, play music, or for those special occasions when you just want your natural smile to shine through, such as weddings, prom, senior pictures, and homecoming dances.  

Invisalign trays

Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?

Invisalign tends to work best for teen and adult patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. For cases that are complex or severe, more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve may be required. When you have your initial consultation with us, Dr. Hamer or Dr. Glassick will be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you. If a more traditional treatment method would be better for your smile, we’ll recommend that to you instead! 

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Even with orthodontic treatment, your teeth will retain memories of their previous place in the mouth. There’s also a natural tendency for them to drift back to their original positions over time. This is why it’s so important to wear a retainer regularly! Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, we’ll provide you with a retainer to help prevent any drifting and keep your newly straightened teeth in place. For the best results, you should always wear it exactly as directed by our doctors.

Get the smile of your dreams with Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics

Invisalign continues to gain popularity and change the way people view orthodontic treatment every day! If you’d like to learn more about how the Invisalign clear aligner system could improve your smile, get in touch today to schedule a complimentary consultation with our talented team of experts. We’re here to help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of!