Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment that can transform misaligned teeth. The clear aligners work much like conventional braces by gradually straightening teeth and changing their position. While their primary advantage is their transparency, many tout quick results as another major benefit. However, no two cases are the same, and it’s important to understand how they work and how that can impact the duration of your treatment.
Getting Started with Invisalign
The process begins when your orthodontist takes images of your profile, teeth, and smile. They’ll also perform a comprehensive dental exam and X-ray your teeth. This allows them to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for Invisalign aligners.
The good news is that most people fall into this category. Your orthodontist may advise you to consider conventional metal braces if you have more significant oral issues, such as severe underbites or overbites.
Once you’re approved to wear Invisalign, your orthodontist will take impressions of your teeth so they can create a three-dimensional model used to map out every stage of your treatment. Patients typically wear their aligners for two weeks at a time before moving onto the next set. The 3D model makes it easy to visualize the gradual progress of your teeth as the trays straighten them.
How Invisalign Works
Your aligners will arrive at your orthodontist’s office, at which point you’ll be fitted for the first tray. In some cases, they may need to attach small buttons (called attachments) to select teeth. These “lock” the trays in place for a better fit. Be prepared to feel a little bit of pressure for the first couple of days that you wear a tray set; that sensation will subside as your teeth start to move.
For successful results, you’ll need to wear your Invisalign trays for at least 22 hours of the day. If you’re eating or drinking anything besides water, you shouldn’t wear them. Ideally, you should brush and floss after eating and before putting the trays back on to remove any food particles and reduce your chances of developing cavities. Alternately, swish some water around your mouth if you can’t brush right away.
After two weeks, you’ll switch to the next tray. Each set gradually moves specific teeth, resulting in gradual changes that become more obvious the further your treatment progresses. You’ll visit your orthodontist for checkups every few weeks to ensure that your teeth are shifting according to plan.
How Long Invisalign Treatment Takes
Your orthodontist will give you an estimated time frame at the start of your treatment, and this is typically accurate. However, much of your Invisalign treatment’s success is dependent on your compliance in wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours every single day.
Another factor that affects the duration of treatment is the complexity of your case. The greater the misalignment, the more time it will take to correct your teeth. Minor imperfections can resolve in as little as six months in some cases. Other cases may take anywhere from a year to two years.
All cases are different, though, which is why it’s so important to visit your orthodontist at regular intervals during the course of your treatment. It’s equally important to practice proper hygiene, including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, to prevent possible complications like cavities which could slow down your progress.
Invisalign at Integrated Dentistry
If you’d like to find out more about Invisalign and whether it’s right for you, turn to Dr. Johnson. He has extensive experience transforming smiles with these popular aligners. Call 479-333-1300 to schedule an appointment today.