Young girl with clear aligner

Survival Guide: Invisalign

Posted on June 3, 2019 by Dr. Damon Szymanowski.

Invisalign is an innovative treatment option that offers patients freedom and flexibility that traditional braces don’t. The system is simple and incredibly effective, but even so, orthodontic treatment of any kind is a big commitment. While it’s exciting to begin the journey towards a healthier smile, it’s also completely normal to feel a little unsure about the process. If you don’t know much about Invisalign, you may not be sure what to expect. That’s where we come in!

Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, it’s important to us that you feel confident in the trust you’ve placed in our practice. Orthodontics works best when you are a full partner in your treatment plan, so our expert team has put together this survival guide to Invisalign to help you better understand the process. Let’s take a closer look at what the Invisalign system is, how it works, and how you can get the most out of your clear aligners.

(Are you a good candidate for Invisalign? Click here to schedule a free consultation with us and find out!)

What is Invisalign?

Rather than the brackets, wires, and bands of traditional braces, the Invisalign system uses a series of clear, removable aligners to move your teeth into alignment. The aligners are made of a special thermoplastic resin, and because each one is custom-designed for your mouth, they fit snugly and comfortably over your own teeth. The aligners are removable and almost invisible, making them an excellent alternative to traditional braces for many patients.

How does the Invisalign system work?

Once Dr. Szymanowski has determined that Invisalign will be a good option for your smile, the process of custom designing your aligners will begin. We’ll use a highly-detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums to map out a precise treatment plan that’s been personalized just for you. This plan will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and will also be used to give us an indication of how long we expect treatment to take. We may even show you an example of what you can expect your smile to look like once treatment is complete!

Invisalign aligners are created from a special SmartTrack® material, which is strong but still comfortable. Although the total number of aligners worn during treatment varies from patient to patient, the average amount used in the process is anywhere from 18-30. The average treatment time also depends on the individual case, but in general, it tends to last between 9 and 15 months. This could be longer or shorter depending on your specific case.

With Invisalign, the patient plays a big part in the success of the treatment process. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, and not a fixed appliance like braces, it’s up to you to wear them exactly as directed by Dr. Szymanowski. That means keeping your aligners in for 20-22 hours each day, throughout the course of treatment, in order to get the best results.

Aligners will also need to be switched out regularly, based on your personalized treatment plan. This will usually be every one to two weeks, in order to keep up with the movement of your teeth. Because regular check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process, just like with braces, you’ll be scheduled for follow-up appointments at our office every 8-12 weeks or so.

Maintaining an oral hygiene routine with Invisalign

Keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy is important for everyone, whether you’re an orthodontic patient or not. However, being in braces or aligners makes it even more essential. Invisalign makes that easy to do! Simply remove the aligner before brushing and flossing the way you normally would. We recommend brushing for at least twice a day for two minutes each time, plus flossing every night before bed.

You can clean your aligners by rinsing them every time you remove them. Dried saliva and plaque can breed bacteria, so this is an important step. You can also soak them in denture cleaner or special Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep your trays clear and sanitized. Brushing your aligners is another option, but be sure to do so gently and carefully as brushing too hard can scratch your aligners and leave visible etchings. Don’t use any toothpaste, however. Many brands have abrasive agents that can dull your aligners and can also create small openings for bacteria.

Survival Guide: Invisalign

The best candidates for Invisalign

Invisalign is a fantastic option for many of the most common orthodontic issues in teens and adults. For severe or complex cases, we may recommend more traditional treatment methods. When you schedule a free consultation with us, we’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you and your smile!

Once your Invisalign treatment is complete

Even after the active phase of your orthodontic treatment is complete, your teeth will still retain memories of their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they’ll begin drifting back towards those original positions. That’s why retainers are such an important part of the treatment process! Dr. Szymanowski will provide you with a retainer, and you should always wear it as directed to help prevent this kind of drifting and keep your newly straightened smile in place.

Invisalign is the clear choice at Szymanowski Orthodontics

Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we work hard to provide you with an orthodontic experience that is as rewarding and stress-free as possible. Although Invisalign aligners can take a little getting used to, they’ll be just one more part of your daily routine in no time, and of course our expert team is always here to help if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan.

If you’re in Sacramento or any of the surrounding communities, we’d love to meet you and tell you all about how Invisalign can change your smile – and your life! To take the first step towards a beautiful smile using Invisalign aligners, give us a call today to schedule a FREE exam!