The truth about Invisalign® clear aligners

Thanks to modern technology, today’s braces have undergone a major makeover in recent years. With smaller brackets, a sleeker appearance, and greater comfort than ever before, these orthodontic staples are a far cry from previous designs. Even so, many patients are on the fence about using braces to straighten their smile. Fortunately, there’s another option out there! 

Here at McGrory Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer Invisalign clear aligners. As our most popular alternative to braces, these aligners can give patients the same beautiful results but without the use of brackets, bands, and wire. 

Even though they’ve been around for a couple of decades now, Invisalign aligners are still considered a relatively new treatment in the world of orthodontics, especially when compared to traditional braces. That’s led to some misconceptions about what Invisalign does and how it works, but we’re here to clear those up! Keep reading below to find out how Invisalign can give you the confident smile you’ve always wanted. 

What is Invisalign? 

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, we use both fixed and removable appliances. Braces are a fixed appliance, which means the brackets are attached directly to the surface of the teeth and can only be removed by an experienced orthodontic professional. In contrast, Invisalign aligners are removable appliances. The aligners are custom-designed to fit snugly, but no part of them is actually attached to the surface of the teeth.

Invisalign uses a series of these removable aligners to shift your teeth, working in much the same way as brackets and wires. The aligners are made of a special type of thermoplastic resin which allows them to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth. Using gentle pressure over time, the aligners gradually straighten the teeth. They eventually leave nothing behind but a beautiful smile! 

How does the Invisalign system work?

The first step in any orthodontic journey should be a complimentary consultation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty. When you choose our practice, this visit includes digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion with her about any areas of concern. This will help her decide if Invisalign is a good fit for you and your smile! 

If you do decide to move ahead with Invisalign, we’ll begin by mapping out a precise treatment plan for you using a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan includes the exact movements we want your teeth to make and will also give us an indication of how long we expect treatment to take.

We’ll also use this scan to generate your custom aligners. Once they’re in your hands, it’s up to you to wear them as directed. Patient compliance is essential for Invisalign’s success! The aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day throughout the treatment process in order to produce the desired results. 

Aligners also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements of the teeth. Regular check-ups will be scheduled for every 8-10 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty will check your teeth and ensure that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan.

Every smile is unique and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way, so there’s no uniform answer for how long treatment will take. In general, however, the average amount of time spent in aligners will be anywhere from 9-15 months. The good news? This is slightly less time than most patients spend in braces!

What advantages does Invisalign have over traditional braces?

Invisalign is more than an attractive alternative to traditional metal braces. The removable aligners also allow extra flexibility that other methods can’t match! Food restrictions are a perfect example. Many people who have worn braces will tell you that having to forego some of their favorite foods was one of the hardest parts of treatment. To protect the wires and brackets, patients in braces must steer clear of anything crunchy or chewy. This is never an issue with Invisalign! You simply take them whenever you want to eat, then put them back in when you’re done.

Removable aligners make it easier to maintain a good dental hygiene routine, too. The wires, brackets, and bands that accompany traditional braces can make cleaning the teeth a time-consuming task. With Invisalign, aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Cleaning the aligners themselves is also a cinch! There are special kits designed to clean Invisalign aligners, or you can gently clean them using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.

Who’s a good candidate for Invisalign?

When patients are fully compliant, Invisalign can work just as well as braces in treating many of the most common orthodontic issues. That said, cases that are especially complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. During your initial consultation, Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty will determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you. You can trust us to only recommend the treatment we believe is best for your individual smile.

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Whether you wear braces or aligners, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back toward those positions if there’s nothing to stop them. That’s why you’ll hear us talk so much about how important retainers are! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. To maintain your newly straightened smile, you should always wear it exactly as directed.

Invisalign is the clear choice at McGrory Orthodontics

When you lay it all out, it’s easy to see why Invisalign is our most popular alternative to traditional braces! This exciting system continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment every day. Are you ready to learn more about how Invisalign can give you a healthy, confident smile? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. McGrory, Dr. McCarty and our team and take the first step towards improved oral health!