Maybe you had braces as a kid but you ditched your retainer as soon as you hit high school. Or maybe you had a flawless smile all the way through adolescence (lucky you), but things have…shifted. Whatever the case may be, now you’re a full-fledged adult and your teeth are nothing to smile about.
Take heart: dentistry and orthodontia have come a long way since your teen years, and while old school braces are still an option (hey, Gwen Stefani and Tom Cruise did it!), you can also opt for a much more subtle option — Invisalign.
You may have heard of Invisalign from a satisfied friend or been transfixed by the impressive “after” results in ads, but it can be hard to know whether the treatment is right for you. The biggest benefit for most patients is the fact that the removable aligners are virtually invisible and there are no wires or brackets, so you can let go of those memories of sore cheeks. But it’s important to know what you’re getting into before diving into treatment.
Here are some things to consider before discussing Invisalign with your dentist:
1. Is it the right fix for your situation? Invisalign can tackle a lot of problems — crooked teeth, minor under/overbites, and gaps to name a few — but if you have a highly complex problem, your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment. Before bringing it up at your next appointment, take Invisalign’s Smile Assessment and see if you’re a good candidate.
2. Can you commit the time? The great thing about Invisalign is that, unlike braces, you can actually be in control of when you wear them. That means no more awkward spinach-stuck-in-wire situations. However, just because you have more freedom doesn’t mean you can get carried away and still see results: the aligners actually have to be worn for 22 hours a day to be effective, so while you can take a break during meals, you should be ready to pop them back in for the rest of the day.
3. Are you patient? Invisalign can be incredibly effective, but results take time. On average, treatment takes about a year, but your individual treatment time may vary, and you may need to wear aligners at the end to add finishing touches. Your dentist will be able to discuss a tentative timeline with you.
4. Can you give up mindless snacking? For some patients, this one is a bonus: because you’ll need to avoid drinking and eating while the aligners are in your mouth, it’ll be a whole lot harder to justify that handful of M&Ms from the company kitchen and you’ll have to be really committed to having an impromptu espresso shot. In addition to removing the trays, you’ll have to diligently brush before putting them back in to avoid staining, so make sure you’re ready to give up your 3 pm (and 5 pm…and 10 pm…) snacks.
All that said, there are a ton of reasons why Invisalign is an incredible option for many patients. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Forget the pain of braces. Most survivors of childhood braces are haunted by memories of their appointments. Why? One word: tightening. With Invisalign, you won’t need anything pulled or cranked; you’ll just swap out your aligners as necessary.
2. Removable trays means easy cleaning. You won’t need special tools and gadgets to clean between your teeth — you can just pop out the trays and brush and floss as you regularly would, so your hygienist will be extra impressed at your next cleaning.
3. You can see the results before you experience them. Thanks to advanced 3D technology, you’ll be able to see a simulation of your final smile before you get started. If that’s not real motivation, what is?
4. Did we mention it’s invisible?
Think you’re ready to give Invisalign a shot? Book an appointment today!