Invisalign technology is a great option for patients that need all types of Orthodontic corrections. At Dr. Scramstad’s office we use Invisalign Aligners as well as braces and numerous types of dental appliances. At our initial consultation appointment, we will outline our custom treatment plan for you and explain the options available.
The short answer is yes. Invisalign treatment is effective for the esthetic straightening of teeth with most types of malocclusion. The treatment involves wearing a set of clear aligners on the teeth for 22-hours a day to help shift the teeth into new positions. The Invisalign aligners will need to be changed to accommodate the new positions of your teeth, but the good news is that Invisalign is easy to maintain. The aligners can be removed before meals, which means there are no dietary restrictions, and Invisalign treatment time may be shorter than Orthodontic options and can be completed in as little as 6 to 18 months.
There are two stages of treatment: the active phase and the retention phase.
The first and ‘active’ phase refers to the actual process that your teeth, bone, ligaments and gum structure undergo to change position. At this stage, the pressure exerted by the Invisalign causes the bone and gum tissue to change at a cellular level and makes space for the teeth to shift into new positions. The second stage of treatment is the retention phase and is part of the aftercare treatment. Once the teeth are held in their final positions, the bone, ligaments and gum tissue regenerate to secure them in place. Many patients want to know if this stage is absolutely necessary, which brings us to the next question.
Absolutely. Proper aftercare treatment is essential to ensure lasting Invisalign results. If teeth are not held in their new smile position they may slowly revert back to their old position. At this stage of the treatment, retainers are introduced to hold the teeth in place. Retainers are recommended for anyone who has worn either Invisalign or metal braces. Post-treatment retainers are easily removed and need only be worn during sleep.
The most important part of choosing a retainer is the comfort and how it fits with your lifestyle. There are three types of retainers:
1. Lingual wire, fixed, or bonded retainer (permanent)
2. Hawley retainer (removable)
3. Clear plastic retainers (removable)
The fixed or bonded wire retainer is made from a thin wire bonded to the tongue side of the teeth. The wire is not visible and easy to talk with when wearing. However, because the wire retainers are fixed, it’s more difficult to maintain good dental hygiene. Flossing and brushing around the wires is a delicate process, and you can’t always reach the plaque and debris that builds up around the wires.
The Hawley retainer can be made from acrylic and wire. This retainer is adjustable, removable, and durable. Removable retainers make it much easier to maintain good dental hygiene, but they can also be more easily broken or damaged. This retainer can last many years depending on how well you look after it.
The clear plastic retainers are made from Essix clear material. These retainers are invisible, thin and may be more comfortable to wear. They’re easy to remove for eating, brushing and flossing, but they generally a bit more fragile, but will last a long time if you take care of them.
If you are uncertain about whether you need wire braces or Invisalign, or if you have questions about what type of retainer would be best for you, consider requesting a consultation with Dr. Scramstad. We’re here to answer your questions and help you have a great smile!