If you’ve lived with a crooked smile for most of your life, Invisalign© may seem like a dream come true. This system lets you correct your smile without having to wear those awkward metal braces that limit your food choices and make you look like a little kid again. You can even take them out for photographs and special occasions!
It’s true that Invisalign is an excellent way to discreetly straighten a crooked or crowded smile, but it’s not for everyone. For example, children and young teens cannot use Invisalign, nor can patients with significant bite issues. Beyond that, anyone with good oral health can use Invisalign. In fact, with each passing year more and more patients over 40 are choosing Invisalign to improve the appearance of their smiles.
For a consultation to learn more about Invisalign, contact Leiker Orthodontics of Conroe and The Woodlands, TX. Dr. Brad Leiker will examine your teeth and assess whether Invisalign can help you achieve the balanced smile you’ve always wanted. Call us at 281-298-9434 to schedule your consultation.
The Ideal Candidate – Good Oral Health, Highly Motivated
The ideal candidate for Invisalign treatments is an adult or older teen with only mild-to-moderate malocclusion. This means the teeth may seem crowded together or appear to sit at odd angles, resulting in a smile that could benefit from aesthetic enhancement.
This person should also be highly motivated to want to change his or her smile. In other words, if you are seeking Invisalign to please another person, (e.g., a parent), you may not get the best results for your treatment. This is due to what we call compliance. Invisalign requires that each patient willingly comply with the recommended daily wear-time of 20-22 hours. If a patient is not totally committed to treatment, he or she may remove the aligners too quickly at any sign of discomfort or when sleeping at night. Some patients mistakenly believe they can wear aligners for a shorter period of time each day, as long as they wear them for a greater number of days before advancing to a new set of aligners. This approach does not work, because any deviation from the charted course of treatment will require that new aligners be made to accommodate the different rates of change in the position of the teeth.
All Invisalign candidates should be in a good state of oral health at the time of their treatment, as well. If you have signs of gum disease or untreated tooth decay, you’ll need a restorative treatment plan to get you back in a state of good oral health before Invisalign can be considered.
Not for Bite Issues and Multiple Teeth That Require Rotation
Unfortunately, Invisalign cannot correct significant bite issues, such as overbite, under bite, or cross bite. The way that teeth fit together when we bite down is an important part of our overall dentition. When teeth do not meet up properly, this can cause damage to certain teeth and lead to stress in the jaw muscles. While there are also non-orthodontic options for correcting these issues in adults, it is always recommended that bite problems be corrected with traditional orthodontics, such as bracket and wire braces.
Invisalign is also limited in its capacity to help patients with teeth that require rotation. Typically, patients with multiple teeth requiring rotation will not be recommended Invisalign treatment. However, in some cases there are techniques that can encourage teeth to rotate somewhat. For example, an attachment may be added to a tooth that needs to turn, and the aligners can be designed to fit over such an attachment.
With Invisalign gaining more and more popularity with teenage patients, there is now an Invisalign treatment recommended especially for this age group. Invisalign Teen works the same way as adult Invisalign, but has a few added elements that make it better suited to younger patients. For example, this system includes a number of free replacement aligners for those times when they are accidentally thrown in the trash after lunch or left behind at sports practice. Each aligner also features a small blue dot that slowly disappears the longer it is worn. If a blue dot remains after two weeks of wear, this alerts you that the full 20-22 hours is not being met. This can help both patients and their parents monitor the success of their treatment plan, and help them stay on track!
Successful Adult Patients
All orthodontic treatments will include some tooth sensitivity as teeth shift their position. This means there may be some soreness during the first day or so of wearing a new set of aligners. In most cases, patients get used to this quickly and it does not affect the quality of their lives. Successful patients tend to “keep their eyes on the prize” and make a point to only remove aligners when they eat, because they are focused on the long-term result and their goal to have a more evenly balanced smile.
Additionally, patients who stick to designated meal times have the most success with Invisalign. Since eating requires you to remove the aligners, and then brush your teeth before you replace them—constant snacking is not possible with Invisalign. If you have a dietary requirement that prescribes multiple small meals throughout the day, you may find it more challenging to keep up with recommended wear-time. It’s not impossible, of course, but will require more intentional effort to ensure that you wear the aligners a full 20-22 hours per day.