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Irvine, CA - Invisalign is a revolutionary way to get the smile of your dreams. The treatment consists of clear aligners that are virtually invisible, allowing you to straighten your smile without the hassle of metal brackets and wires. But, there are some things you should know before choosing Invisalign.

“Just as with anything, I encourage patients to research any treatment option completely,” says Dr. Sophia Updike, an Irvine orthodontist. “Invisalign has many benefits, but there are also some things you should be aware of before treatment, like what you should expect when caring for the aligners, and what role you play in your treatment.”

Here are Dr. Updike’s top 20 things patients need to consider when opting for Invisalign.

  1. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten your teeth. 3D imaging technology guide your tooth movement every step of the way, and you can even see what your new smile will look like once treatment has finished.
  2. Each set of aligners is custom created just for you, based on your orthodontic needs. You will change the sets out approximately every two weeks. Each set is calibrated to achieve a certain tooth movement.
  3. You will need to maintain regular visits with your orthodontist to ensure treatment stays on track. While every aligner set is intended to be worn for about two weeks, there may be times when you’ll need to wear a set slightly longer or shorter than that, but your orthodontist will explain that to you. Maintaining these appointments ensures that your smile is progressing the way it should.
  4. The aligners are made of a smooth plastic material, so there won’t be any annoying brackets or wires to annoy your mouth. If your aligner has some spots that feel uncomfortable, your orthodontist can smooth those down for you.
  5. The aligners are removable. One of the revolutionary things about Invisalign is that the aligners can be taken out when you eat, drink, and care for your teeth. That means you don’t need to alter your diet, or buy special dental hygiene tools.
  6. Your toothbrush will become your best friend. Just as with standard braces, you’ll need to brush and floss after you eat, every single time. If you don’t, you can be trapping food debris between your teeth and aligner, which over time, can lead to decay.
  7. Your treatment depends on your compliance. One of Invisalign’s greatest strengths can also be a weakness. Because the aligners are removable, you may be tempted to remove them for longer periods of time. But in order to work properly, the aligners must be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day. That means they should only be removed when eating, drinking and brushing.
  8. Removing your aligners may take some practice. The aligners are intended to fit snugly over your teeth so they can place the proper amount of pressure. That means, you may spend a bit of time practicing removing your aligners until you are comfortable. But, in no time, you’ll be a pro!
  9. You may require attachments and buttons. Invisalign used to only be used for patients with milder malocclusions, but the technology has advanced to allow for more serious ones, too. But, in order to achieve certain tooth movements, we have to create anchor points for which pressure can be applied to move the teeth. And that’s where buttons and attachments come in. They can allow for the aligners to grip better, or they can allow us to use rubber bands if we need to.
  10. In addition to making sure your mouth is clean, you’ll need to make sure your aligners are clean, too. You can soak your aligners in a denture cleaner or special Invisalign cleaner. Never brush your aligner with a toothbrush and toothpaste, as this can damage the aligners.
  11. Your aligners could become slightly discolored if you don’t clean them properly. Two weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but if you don’t clean your Invisalign aligners properly, you may notice they become slightly discolored.
  12. Your aligners are not intended to be chewed with. Always remove your aligners when eating, and never chew gum with the Invisalign aligners in. This could damage the aligners, and then affect the fit of them.
  13. You may notice your speech is altered slightly in the beginning. Wearing the aligners will generate more saliva in your mouth, which can affect your speech. Spend a bit of time practicing in the first day or two and you’ll get used to it in no time.
  14. Your teeth will feel loose. But don’t worry, this is necessary! In order to guide your teeth to their new locations, your teeth have to first loosen from their old locations. Once treatment is completed, you’ll wear a retainer to ensure your new smile stays as straight as possible.
  15. The aligners are comfortable to wear, but because your teeth are moving, there will be some discomfort. Each time you switch to a new aligner, you’ll feel slight discomfort. But, with no brackets or wires, you don’t have to worry about irritation to the inside of your mouth.
  16. Invisalign treatment is close in cost to that of traditional braces. The exact cost of your treatment will depend on the severity of your case, but for many patients, the cost of Invisalign is very similar to metal braces.
  17. The amount of time you spend in treatment will depend on your malocclusion and how your teeth respond to treatment. You can never compare your treatment time to anyone else’s. Your orthodontist will give you an estimate of how long your treatment should take.
  18. Invisalign may not be the best option for you. While the use of buttons and attachments has opened up Invisalign treatment to more patients, another orthodontic option may be the most ideal for you. Your orthodontist can discuss all of your options with you.
  19. Because of the higher level of patient compliance required, Invisalign is recommended for teens and adults. Invisalign patients must be prepared for the level of responsibility it requires.
  20. After you’ve used your last Invisalign aligner, that doesn’t mean your treatment is finished. You will need to wear a retainer to ensure your teeth maintain their new locations. Your orthodontist will explain retainer wear to you once your Invisalign treatment has finished.

Invisalign treatment is an excellent option for many patients. To learn more about it and if you may be an ideal candidate, call Dr. Updike today at (949) 870-9713.

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