So what happens after my Invisalign treatment is over?

invisalignInvisalign braces provide a more invisible option to traditional metal orthodontic braces. Instead of metal wires and brackets, invisalign consists of placing a clear plastic tray over the teeth to gradually move and realign the teeth to their ideal places. Once the treatment is over, patients still must visit their orthodontist for routine maintenance, not unlike maintenance required for traditional braces.

When your dentist clears you from wearing your plastic trays, you and your dentist need to ensure that your teeth do not slide back into their original positions. With traditional braces, patients often have to wear a retainer for some time, and the same is most often true with Invisalign.

It’s possible that the retainer prescribed to you will be another alignment tray. It’s also possible that the retainer will be the last tray you wore, as it’s the last tray that had your teeth in the perfect position. This tray will keep the teeth from moving again.

Your dentist may also give you additional instructions on how to keep your teeth properly aligned during this final treatment and even after. No matter what you think about these instructions, you should do your best to follow them to the letter. By following these instructions, you will ensure that the time and money you have invested in this procedure was not wasted.

During Invisalign Treatment

Before you are cleared to stop wearing your trays, there are several things you must do to keep your treatment going as smooth as possible. Of course, follow all instructions from your dentist/orthodontist. Clean your trays when you brush your teeth. Brushing them removes both intrusive food particles that can interfere with your alignment and prevents staining. Wear your trays at night as well. You should only remove your trays for only two hours maximum every twenty-four hours. However, you should remove them when drinking hot beverages, as the hot liquid can alter the plastic.

Thinking about Invisalign?

If you think you want Invisalign instead of traditional metal braces, talk to your dentist at your next appointment, or call your dentist today to set up a consultation.

How long does it take to see results with Invisalign?

Invisalign Braces

Courtesy of Invisalign

As mentioned last week, Invisalign is an innovative alternative to correcting misaligned or spaces between teeth instead of using traditional metal braces. Since Invisalign consists of using a clear device that snugly fits over your teeth, in order for it to adjust your teeth without causing severe pain and discomfort, the plastic tray has to be swapped out every two weeks. This way, it gradually leads your teeth into their desired positions.

Starting Invisalign

At your initial Invisalign consult, the dentist or orthodontist will determine the extent of how much needs to be corrected, how long it will take for the teeth to shift their positions, and what your teeth will look like when Invisalign treatment is over.

Then your dentist will take multiple impressions (molds) of your teeth and create digital images that depict the various stages of how your teeth will shift. From these impressions and images, an off-site lab will produce the series of Invisalign trays that you will use over the course of your treatment.

Invisalign Process

The trays will be swapped out roughly every two weeks, depending on how quickly your teeth shift. Each tray prods your teeth to move a very small distance, so you may not see results until four to six weeks. Noticeable results will not appear until six to ten weeks. Considering that traditional braces can take up to a couple of years–depending on the extent of adjustment needed–this is really no time at all.

It will seem frustrating at first, but after some time, you will be pleased with your progress. And when the treatment is over, you will have a straight and beautiful smile. That’s always worth waiting for.

Want to know if Invisalign is right for you? Be sure to talk to your dentist at your next visit!

Advantages of Invisalign

If you need braces, you’re most likely aware of a new orthodontic technology called Invisalign that is an alternate choice over traditional bracket-and-wire braces. Invisalign are custom created to neatly pop over your teeth and gradually realign them to an ideal bite. The biggest draw to Invisalign is the fact that they are virtually invisible, but Invisalign has several other advantages that you may not be fully aware of.

No Dietary Restrictions

With traditional braces, you have to avoid hard foods, such as corn and hard candies, as there is a risk that these foods could break a bracket. You also have to avoid super sticky foods, such as caramel, as they can also break brackets or get stuck in them, which will cause tooth discoloration and possibly decay.

With Invisalign, you have to remove the device before you eat anyway, so you are free to eat whatever you want. Just remember to brush your teeth before you put it back in!

Easy Cleaning

One reason why so many people suffer from staining and tooth discoloration after they get their braces removed is because it’s really difficult to clean in between the brackets and between the teeth and the wires. Even flossing can be an absolute nightmare. Since Invisalign is removable, brushing and flossing your teeth is literally a snap. Pop out the device, brush and floss your teeth, and snap it back in.

Fewer Side Effects

As previously mentioned, one of the side effects of traditional braces is tooth discoloration. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only possible side effect. Braces can often be painful and uncomfortable, and not just while they’re adjusting your teeth. Some people have develop mouth ulcers where the brackets rub against the inner lips or where the tongue runs along them. In addition, since braces require on-going adjustments throughout treatment, wearers usually experience the same pressure and pain they experienced when the braces were originally placed.

Since Invisalign fits neatly over your teeth, they will not cause mouth ulcers. Invsialign also works very gradually, so most wearers feel little to no discomfort when they initially wear them.

Invisalign can correct several problems with your teeth, including spacing, overcrowding, overbite, underbite, and the like, but not everyone can be a candidate. If you need braces, be sure to talk to your dentist and orthodontist to see if this is a viable option for you. There are too many advantages over traditional braces to not ask.


How to Curb the High Costs of Braces

Braces are a common practice for correcting a variety of teeth related issues. While the benefits for braces are numerous, there is a high cost to this treatment. If you happen to be in a situation in which you, or a loved one, are in need of braces, the sticker shock can be scary. However, there are a few ways you can help control those costs.

1. Check with your insurance company about their coverage. Dental insurance coverage for braces varies widely from one provider to another. The sad fact about the insurance industry is that they pay only a fraction of orthodontic fees. If you have dental plan that is willing to cover 50% of the costs, consider yourself lucky. On the bright side, even if the insurance company will only pay 25% of the orthodontic fees, that is still an amount you do not need to dig out of your own pockets.

2. Ask about a potential payment plan. After you have looked into your insurance policy, sit down with your orthodontist and ask about the payment plans they may offer. You might be surprised to learn that many orthodontists offer reasonable options that will fit within your budget. Some orthodontists will even reduce the cost of treatment if you are able to pay a portion up front. The only way to find out what your orthodontist offers is to chat with them.

3. Pre-plan for additional unplanned costs. No matter how good the planning is, something always comes up. Sometimes a wire breaks, or a rubber band snaps. These little items all add to the overall costs, yet are completely unplanned. This is on top of any additional dental treatments one may need before having braces applied. Adding a little padding to the budget for these types of incidents can go a long way to helping keep the overall cost burden lower.

Braces are not cheap, but the benefits they provide are substantial. The best thing you can do is chat with your dental professionals about what offerings they have to help you keep treatments from breaking the bank.

How to Floss with Braces

It’s definitely harder to keep your teeth clean while wearing orthodontic braces (not invisalign braces). Toothbrushes aren’t able to reach every facet of the tooth, and flossing seems nearly impossible with the wires extending over the teeth. However, this doesn’t mean that wearers of braces can take a break from flossing. It’s actually more important at this time than ever to floss, thanks to the toothbrush not being able to reach between the teeth as easily.

The question is, how do you floss with braces? You can floss the area of your teeth outside of the orthodontic wire, but the gumline portion is a bit trickier.

Dental Threader for FlossThere is a cheap flossing tool available at most pharmacies–and you can ask your dentist for a pack, too–that resembles a sewing threader. In a nutshell, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a fine piece of plastic with a loop on one end. Insert the floss through the loop, and then push the tail end of the threader between your teeth at the gumline. Pull the tail all the way through, and the floss will follow, allowing you to floss near the gumline. Gently floss along the edges of the teeth, and then hold it vertically so you can sweep and clean around the individual brackets, which is where plaque mostly accumulates for braces patients.

As simple as this process is, be aware that it is a bit more time consuming than flossing without braces. The floss must be threaded for each individual space between the teeth, so the process is a bit more tedious as well.

Don’t get discouraged, though! The last thing you want after spending months in braces is to have plaque-ridden and stained teeth once the brackets are removed. Like wearing the braces, flossing with them is not convenient, but it’s a huge step toward ensuring a beautiful smile in the end.

Be sure to ask your dentist for threaders and more information on how to properly clean your teeth and your braces.