A healthy smile usually means clean, white straight teeth, with no signs of gum disease or cavities. While you can achieve some of those things through good oral hygiene practices or teeth whitening treatments, you can only straighten your smile with Invisalign or another orthodontic treatment. What you might not realize is that straightening your smile also means healthier teeth and gums. Healthy teeth protect your overall health from problems like heart disease and chronic inflammation, which tend to become problems as we grow older.
Invisalign is a novel orthodontic treatment system that is dramatically different from conventional metal and ceramic braces. The system depends on a series of clear plastic aligners custom-designed to fit your teeth and gradually move them into position. The name comes from the near-invisibility of the aligner, which most people won't even notice. What's more, unlike traditional braces that are permanently affixed to the teeth from the beginning to the end of the treatment period, the aligner is removable.
Adults and Invisalign
While braces may be a common teen rite of passage, by the time you get to be an adult (just a guess) you probably don't want a lot of hardware in your mouth. Not to mention that appearance is important to job success, especially if you happen to be in a high-profile position or a field like the media, acting, modeling or another occupation in which people judge you based on your looks. Luckily, Invisalign offers you the ability to get your teeth straightened without announcing it to the world every time you smile or speak.
Invisalign Promotes Oral Hygiene
Metal braces are notorious for trapping food particles, promoting plaque development and increasing the risk of bacteria and tooth decay. They may also leave stains on the teeth and stains are also more likely with common adult beverages such as coffee and wine. Preventing cavities means much more attention to flossing and brushing, both of which are made more difficult by the braces themselves. The Invisalign aligners, however, are completely removable. They can be taken out for flossing and brushing and make it easy to inspect the gums and teeth for any problems.
If you're at all technologically-oriented, you’ll probably be interested in how the aligners are made. Even if you aren't a techie, you might not realize that the technology allows you to actually see what your teeth will look like once treatment is finished. In addition to physical impressions (molds) of the teeth, your orthodontist will use special scanning equipment to create 3D images of your teeth as they currently look, how they will look during the various treatment phases and what you'll look like at the end of the treatment. This same technology is used to create the different molds to make the aligners (most people need 15 to 30 aligners).
The Invisalign Treatment Process
After your initial consultation, the orthodontist will fit your first aligner, and show you how to use it and how to care for it. You should wear the aligner 22 hours a day. Aligners must be removed for meals, as they fit over the teeth and you could not otherwise bite or chew your food. Should you have a critical meeting or presentation, or something like a television interview, you can even take the aligner out. You'll change aligners every two or three weeks and (another advantage with a busy schedule) generally go back to the orthodontist only every six weeks.
Am I a Candidate for Invisalign?
In most cases, you can straighten your smile with Invisalign as an adult. Crooked, crowded or gaping teeth usually respond well to Invisalign treatment. Mild to moderate orthodontic problems like overbites, under-bites and crossbites can also be treated with Invisalign. If you have severe malocclusion, however, or need surgery to widen the palate, you may need conventional braces or other forms of orthodontia.
Being an adult doesn't mean that the chance for straight teeth has passed you by. You may also find that your insurance will cover all or part of your orthodontic treatment, depending on what your dental issues are. Nor will you face the world with a teenage smile – you can continue to look mature, polished and professional while improving your smile. Please contact your local orthodontist to discuss how you can straighten your smile with Invisalign.