If you have noticed that your teeth are crowded or crooked and it seems to be getting worse, you may be wondering what you can do. Teeth straightening treatments can greatly improve your oral health and give you the smile of your dreams. One very popular treatment option today is Invisalign.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a series of clear plastic retainers created specifically for your teeth to help correct misalignment by applying pressure gently over time to move crooked teeth back into their proper positions. This aligner treatment promotes good oral health by straightening your teeth.

How long do you have to wear Invisalign?

Treatment usually lasts six to eighteen months. Keep in mind that treatment times vary so you will need to ask your dentist about the length of your particular treatment plan.

How Invisalign works

The Invisalign process looks like this:

  1. Schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine if Invisalign is right for you.
  2. Your dentist makes molds of your teeth (or scans them) to send to Invisalign.
  3. Your dentist fits the first tray in the office. He or she will adhere bonded attachments to certain teeth (small, temporary white bumps) that will help guide the forces for tooth movements on your teeth. The dentist may have to re-contour enamel in between some of your teeth to make space for your teeth to move, this is called Interproximal Reduction (IPR).
  4. Wear the retainer all day every day except for when you are eating or brushing and flossing your teeth. This is approximately 22 or more hours a day. 
  5. Change to the next tray after one or two weeks according to your dentist’s instructions.
  6. Periodically visit the dentist to receive more trays and to have check-ups. They may perform more IPR treatment if needed. 
  7. After your treatment, your dentist may provide a permanent retainer (a metal wire behind your teeth or a clear retainer) to help them retain their alignment. 

What does Invisalign look like?

Invisalign is made of clear, flexible, and patented plastic, called SmartTrack®, that fits precisely over your teeth. It looks similar to a mouth guard but much slimmer. It is almost invisible to other people.

What can Invisalign not fix?

Invisalign may not be an option for teeth that are extremely misaligned or have other serious issues. Some situations require traditional braces.

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

The Advantages of Invisalign vs. Braces

  1. You can remove Invisalign for eating which makes enjoying your favorite foods much easier.
  2. Invisalign is easy to clean and your teeth are also much easier to brush and floss than if you had braces. This means that with proper oral hygiene, you could be less likely to get cavities. 
  3. Invisalign is practically unnoticeable to other people.
  4. You don’t have to worry about using wax to protect the inside of your cheeks as you would with braces.
  5. Invisalign is relatively comfortable and sometimes you may forget you are wearing it.

The Disadvantages of Invisalign

  1. Invisalign is not the preferred treatment for severe alignment problems. It is usually best for mild to moderate orthodontic cases.
  2. The cost is similar to traditional braces, although in some cases, it could be a bit more expensive.
  3. You may be tempted not to wear it sometimes, which could lengthen your treatment time.

Both braces and Invisalign deliver beautiful, straight teeth at the end of your treatment. The real question is, which option is best for you?

What to Expect with Invisalign

The very first day you wear your new invisible braces, your jaw, teeth, and mouth may feel quite sore. This is generally alleviated with an anti-inflammatory medication your dentist can recommend for you. Once you have worn the tray for a few days, the discomfort should subside.

There is also some mouth discomfort the first day or two when you change trays every few weeks. It is a similar sensation if you have braces and the wires are tightened.

Eating With Invisalign

You have to take the aligner out for eating. Once the trays are removed from the mouth, you do not have to worry about food restrictions.

Can you chew gum with Invisalign? 

No, it is not recommended to chew gum with your aligner in place. You could potentially chew gum for a short time if you remove your retainer, but if you do not wear your aligner for about 22 hours per day, your treatment will take a lot longer.

Can you drink coffee with Invisalign? 

No. Hot liquids could distort the hard plastic in the Invisalign retainer, causing it to deform and lose its shape and therapeutic properties. You would need to remove your retainer to enjoy your coffee, then brush and floss your teeth and re-insert your retainer.

What Conditions Can Invisalign Treat?

Invisalign treatment can generally address such concerns as mild to moderate:

  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Gap teeth
  • Crowded teeth

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

Many people want to know, “Is Invisalign covered by insurance?” Not all dental insurance benefit plans cover this treatment. 

The average cost of Invisalign runs from about $3500-$5000 depending on how much work must be done and how long the treatment should take. 

Invisalign vs braces cost about the same although Invisalign may cost slightly more and take slightly longer. 

How to Get Invisalign

If you would like to have a beautiful smile with straight teeth, Invisalign may be an option for you that can give you stunning results in a relatively short time. 

Check with an Invisalign dentist near you for an Invisalign consultation. Your dental professional can evaluate your particular situation and determine if you are a good fit for Invisalign or if you may need traditional braces or another teeth-straightening method instead.

Are You Looking for an Invisalign Dentist Near You in Columbia, SC?

We are conveniently located in downtown Columbia and would be glad to do an Invisalign consultation with you.

Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.