What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a customizable series of clear, plastic aligners that slowly shift misaligned teeth into a beautifully straight position. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign treatment in Charlotte does not require brackets or wires. Instead, digital impressions of your teeth are taken and sent to Invisalign, where a custom set of aligners is created. It’s one of the simplest ways to straighten your teeth, and the Charlotte Invisalign team at SouthEnd Dentistry makes the entire process easy.
The Invisalign Process at SouthEnd Dentistry
During your first Charlotte Invisalign appointment with Dr. Picot, he will evaluate your smile and decide if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. If you are, he will take a digital impression of your teeth and create a treatment plan specifically for you. The impressions and treatment plan are then sent to Invisalign, where a comprehensive set of aligners are made.
Once we receive your aligners, we’ll give you a call so you can come in to pick them up. Dr. Picot will ensure your first set fits correctly, and give you the first few sets. You’ll be responsible for wearing your aligners as much as possible and switching out sets every 2 weeks. Just make sure you come back every six weeks, so your Charlotte dentist can track your progress and give you more aligners.
Wearing Your Aligners
As long as you wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day, you should progress nicely through your treatment. Each set of aligners should be worn for approximately two weeks before moving on to the next set. Depending on the individual’s commitment to wearing the aligners, patients may see significant progress in a matter of months. Treatment is not always easy with a removable appliance like Invisalign, but a good way to ensure progress is to only remove them when you eat, brush, and floss.
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The Finishing Touches
Once your Charlotte Invisalign treatment plan is complete, Dr. Picot will fit you for a retainer to maintain the new position of your teeth. Without proper care, patients may lose some of their hard-earned progress and find themselves out of alignment again. Retainers are worn for a majority of the day and night for the first few months, and gradually can be worn just at night as your teeth become accustomed to their new position.
How Should I Care For My Aligners?
As a Charlotte Invisalign patient, the most important step you can take to care for your aligners properly is to avoid eating anything while wearing them and to only drink water while they are on. Chewing food while wearing your aligner will damage it and drinking colored beverages will cause stains.
Additionally, it’s important to always have your Invisalign case handy when you need to remove your aligners to eat or drink. Put your aligners into the case to keep them safe and avoid misplacing them or accidentally damaging or dropping them. Rinse your aligners with water whenever you take them out to reduce the buildup of plaque and dried-out saliva.
After each meal, brush your teeth to remove plaque, bacteria, and food particles, which could be held against your teeth by your aligners. If you can’t brush after a meal for some reason, we recommend at least rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash.
Finally, make sure you clean your aligners every night. Avoid toothpaste, as it is abrasive and could damage the plastic. Instead, use a toothbrush and an antibacterial soap that rinses away cleanly. Use only warm water since hot water could cause the aligner to warp. If you have any questions about how to care for aligners, speak with a cosmetic dentist in Charlotte.
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What Are The Benefits Of Invisalign?
- Invisible when worn – This is, by far, the biggest advantage of Invisalign. When worn, your aligners will be virtually invisible. As soon as you’ve adjusted to how they fit in your mouth, they will not even affect your speech. They will be completely unnoticeable, making them a great option if you want to adjust your smile without the unsightly appearance of metal braces.
- Completely removable – You can remove your aligners to brush and floss for better oral hygiene, and to eat. This means there are no dietary restrictions with Invisalign.
- Faster overall results – Invisalign usually takes under a year for most patients, while braces typically require at least 18 months for similar results.
- Gentle treatment – Compared to braces, Invisalign exerts more gentle pressure on your teeth, and will not cause as much discomfort, compared to braces.
- Fewer visits to the dentist – You don’t need to come in for a tightening with Invisalign. Just stop by our office every 4-6 weeks for a quick oral exam and to get your next few sets of aligners.
Aftereffects of Invisalign
After you’ve completed your Charlotte Invisalign treatment, you’ll be left with a straight smile that you can feel proud of. Gaps will have greatly reduced, your teeth will have shifted into their proper alignment, and for some patients with more serious malocclusions, their jaw will have shifted as well.
Consequently, you will have a properly aligned bite that feels different when you chew, and issues associated with improper bites will be alleviated. You may no longer experience jaw pain, wear and tear on your teeth, and are at a lower risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
At the end of your Invisalign treatment in Charlotte, if you notice that any of your teeth are still crooked and have not been fully corrected, we can order you extra aligners to complete your treatment. This can happen when patients don’t comply with the recommended wear time of their aligners, which is 22 hours per day.
Failing to wear your aligners can mean that your aligners haven’t had enough time to shift your teeth all the way and you may need to wear older sets of aligners for longer before moving to the next set. After your teeth have fully shifted, you will move to the retention stage. A retainer will need to be worn to maintain your new tooth alignment.
Maintaining Your Straight Smile
Many patients are disheartened to find out that once they’ve achieved their dream straight teeth, their treatment is not completely done. While you may be tempted to skip wearing a retainer thinking it’s pointless, you’ll find that that can be a big mistake.
Your jaw bone is currently at its most malleable state and if you don’t wear a retainer, your teeth can, unfortunately, shift back to how they were before you started your treatment. Retainers hold your teeth in this position while your bone solidifies. Failing to wear your retainer will just cause your teeth to revert to being crooked.
In the beginning, you will need to wear your retainer for 22 hours a day, much like your Invisalign aligners. How long you have to wear them depends on each case, but generally, you can expect to wear them for 22 hours a day for at least 6 months.
Then, you can switch to wearing your retainer only at night for the following 6-12 months. While this is the most crucial period to wear a retainer, you’ll ultimately want to wear it a few times a week to keep your teeth looking straight and prevent them from moving back to their old positions. In that sense, the retention stage never really ends. You should also keep your retainer clean and remember to remove it before eating.
Candidates for Invisalign in Charlotte, NC
If you have a healthy mouth, but you have some minor-to-moderate orthodontic issues like crowded or gapped teeth or a crooked smile, Invisalign may be right for you. However, Invisalign is not always suitable for patients who have more serious orthodontic problems, such as severely crooked or rotated teeth, major jaw and bite malpositioning, and other such issues. In these cases, Dr. Picot may recommend traditional metal braces. To find out if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign treatment in Charlotte, contact SouthEnd Dentistry for a consultation!