Invisalign® and traditional braces are both ways to straighten teeth, improve bites, and generally makeover a smile.
While each have the same purpose, there are distinct differences between Invisalign and the metal braces you might associate with adolescence.
At First Hill Dental Center in Seattle, we offer Invisalign treatment as a preferred alternative to traditional metal braces. Learn more about this form of cosmetic dentistry and how it can benefit you today.
What Does Invisalign Treat?
Invisalign is a teeth-straightening technology, but it can do so much more than give you a straight smile. In fact, Invisalign can bolster your oral health and help to treat the following dental conditions:
- Overbite — upper teeth extend too far beyond lower teeth
- Underbite — upper teeth close too far behind lower teeth
- Crossbite — upper and lower jaws are not aligned
- Gaps between teeth — spaces exist between your canines
- Overcrowded teeth — your jaw does not have enough space for teeth to be in alignment
- Open bite — upper and lower teeth do not meet
- Crooked teeth — your teeth are not straight
While these varying bite conditions might seem merely cosmetic, having an aligned jaw can actually help to improve digestion, reduce headaches, and improve sinus function. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t all about appearance — though a straight smile is nice, as well.
What Does Invisalign Involve?
If you think about teeth-straightening, you might have associated this form of cosmetic dentistry to traditional braces. Metal braces, which we generally think of, use glued brackets, sharp wiring, and rubber bands to straighten teeth. They can be painful and generally prevent you from eating sticky foods.
Invisalign technology, on the other hand, uses aligners as opposed to bulky metal wiring. Think of aligners like a retainer — while it’s recommended that you wear them between 20-22 hours per day, they are removable.
In general, here’s what you can expect if you proceed with Invisalign as a cosmetic dental treatment.
1. Your Cosmetic Dentist Takes Images Of Your Teeth
In this first step of the process, your dentist will take advanced, 3D images of your teeth and jaw. This is non-invasive, painless, and straightforward.
Having an accurate image of your teeth allows your dentist to create a treatment plan for your specific needs. It also provides a great starting point so you can see just how much your smile has improved after Invisalign.
2. You Get Fitted For Custom Aligners
Think of this step like getting fitted for a retainer. Your dentist will use the 3D images to make a custom-fitted aligner for you to wear. Made from SmartTrack® technology that is FDA-approved, BPA-free, and totally clear, Invisalign aligners are safe and barely noticeable.
You’ll schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure the aligners fit. If they cut into your gum line or fall out of your mouth, your dentist will adjust them accordingly.
3. You Wear Your Aligners For 1-2 Weeks
If you were to have traditional braces, you’d have to go back to the dentist’s office to get your rubber bands tightened. This process is what eventually straightens your teeth and improves your bite — it also ensures an incredibly sore mouth.
With Invisalign, however, there’s no tightening involved. Instead, you wear your aligners for 20-22 hours a day for one to two weeks.
After this period of time, set by your dentist, you’ll move on to your next set of aligners.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be at the dentist every week. Instead, you’ll schedule appointments every six weeks to get new sets of aligners. This way, you can switch out your aligners on your own and be well on your way to a straighter smile.
4. You See A Straighter Smile
Unlike traditional braces, which might be on for three years, Invisalign treatment generally takes 12-18 months.
You’ll work with your cosmetic dentist throughout the process to ensure you’re getting the results you want.
Invisalign At First Hill Dental Center
At First Hill Dental Center in Seattle, we specialize in Invisalign treatment, cosmetic dentistry, preventative dentistry, and more.
If you’re ready to straighten your teeth without the stigma and investment of metal braces, contact our dental office in Seattle today!