For most adults at our Norwalk and Westport offices, Invisalign has become the treatment of choice to achieve orthodontic correction. At Westwalk Orthodontic Group, our orthodontists have been utilizing aligner treatment for more than fifteen years.
What is aligner therapy?
Aligner treatment is the “Clear Alternative to Braces.” To achieve orthodontic correction, we use a series of clear aligners to align teeth gradually and create the perfect smile. Aligner treatment is extremely aesthetic, because the clear aligners are essentially unnoticeable.
Is aligner treatment for both adults and children?
Yes, aligners can be utilized to accomplish orthodontic correction in both adults and children.
We highly utilize aligner therapy in our practice. It provides an excellent alternative to braces for patients of all ages.
How does aligner treatment work?
Essentially, we use a series of clear trays to move teeth gradually. The trays are made specifically for each patient and fit the teeth snugly. Each tray is typically worn for two weeks and accomplishes a mild amount of movement. The series of trays are worn in succession, and each tray works to align the teeth further and correct the bite relationship.
How long does aligner treatment take to accomplish orthodontic correction?
The answer to this question depends on the amount of tooth movement necessary to achieve a perfect smile and bite relationship. Of course, the question can only be answered on an individual basis, depending on the degree of correction necessary.
Some patients require a series of only five trays, while others may need more than 30. Similarly, some patients need only two months to achieve correction while others need one to two years. Your orthodontist will provide you with an estimated length of treatment before you even begin.
Is Invisalign the same as aligner therapy?
Yes, Invisalign is a specific company in the clear aligner industry. Here at Westwalk Orthodontic Group, our doctors use a variety of aligner companies depending on your needs as a patient.
Braces vs. aligners
Braces and aligners are both excellent options to achieve the desired orthodontic correction, but they are extremely different with their own advantages and disadvantages. Below, we compare braces versus Invisalign:
- More aesthetic
- Almost unnoticeable to friends and family
- Easier to brush and floss, because the trays can be removed
- Can eat whatever you like when the trays are removed
- Need to remove trays before eating or drinking
- Relies on the patient being responsible to wear trays 22 hours each day
- Less reliant on patient compliance: The braces are fixed to the teeth, so orthodontic correction can proceed without relying on the patient to remember to wear trays.
- More efficient: Braces can accomplish orthodontic correction in a more efficient manner in most situations. In addition, braces provide more control to the orthodontist to alter the treatment if teeth are not moving as efficiently as expected.
- Less aesthetic, even with clear ceramic braces
- Proper brushing and flossing is more time consuming.
- Need to avoid hard foods to avoid any breakage of the appliances. With Invisalign, you can remove the trays to eat whatever food you like.
Should I take special care of my teeth with aligners?
Before you begin treatment, your orthodontist will discuss the significance of proper oral hygiene. In addition to brushing and flossing, there are a few important “rules” to follow:
You should not eat or drink with your trays in your mouth. The exception is water without any lemon or lime. When you have a drink (e.g., Gatorade, soda, lemonade, coffee, etc.) with your trays in, you are trapping the liquid between the trays and your teeth.
Remember, these clear aligners are made to adapt snugly. So the sugary or acidic liquid is squeezed right against the enamel surface. As a result, demineralization or even cavities can develop. This undesirable sequelae has been noted in aligner patients, more so in male teenagers as they sip on Gatorade throughout the afternoon with friends and play recreational sports.
When you need to have a snack or a drink, you should take your trays out. When finished, brush your teeth before replacing your trays. If you cannot brush, at least rinse thoroughly with water or seltzer at the minimum.
The time-consuming process of taking the trays out and brushing after every snack has caused many patients to tell us that Invisalign served as an unintentional weight-loss program.
Also, proper oral hygiene protocols should be followed throughout Invisalign treatment:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes and your tongue for 30 seconds two to three times a day.
- Floss thoroughly every day.
- Brush before bed.
- See your general dentist every four to six months for routine hygiene and exam appointments.