Explore Invisalign at San Francisco Dental Office
Whether you hope to correct a problematic bite or straighten your teeth solely for cosmetic reasons, Invisalign® orthodontics may be an excellent choice to help you obtain a natural, comfortable smile. Dr. Danielle Marquis and her staff in San Francisco offer professionalInvisalign orthodontic services that are sure to fit your needs and lifestyle.
One of the most prominent concerns adults have when considering orthodontic work is the appearance of traditional metal braces and the extended period over which the orthodontic work is done. Invisalign alleviates this concern by providing a metal-free, faster-working alternative. Dr. Marquis is experienced in Invisalign orthodontics and can help you take the next step toward achieving the smile of your dreams.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a technique in which transparent aligners made out of SmartTrack material are utilized to correct your teeth. Basically, they’re a set of clear, removable aligners that work to straighten your teeth over time just like braces, but without using wires or brackets at all.
The SmartTrack material is a patented thermoplastic material that was made just for use for Invisalign. Because this material was made safely, Invisalign is FDA approved and doesn’t have harmful chemicals such as latex. If you’re allergic to gluten, no need to worry: Invisalign is gluten-free as well.
The aligners are specially designed for each individual patient. A skilled orthodontist will make a digital map of your teeth and form your aligners specifically to apply the right pressure in the right places and solve your smile concerns. Through every step of the process, you’ll be monitored by your orthodontist.
How Do the Aligners Work?
Another one of the most popular Invisalign FAQs is: how do they work?
Invisalign works similarly to metal braces do; their main advantage is the fact that they are clear as opposed to braces. Your aligners are designed to put gentle force on your teeth, in different areas, and with careful timing, to bring them into a more aesthetic and functional alignment. Each aligner is designed to make only the slightest of adjustments.
Aligners are swapped out usually about every two weeks, to continue putting pressure on your teeth. This ensures that your orthodontist can continue monitoring the progress of your teeth and alter the aligners if necessary.
Eventually, the incremental progress will slowly accumulate, and you’ll discover that your smile is better than ever. The best part of it all is that you won’t have to deal with the bulk or discomfort of traditional braces to get the smile you’ve always wanted.
How Long Is Treatment?
Treatment length varies depending on your particular alignment issues, but in general, Invisalign treatment for adults usually can be completed in twelve to eighteen months.
How Often Do I Have To Wear My Aligners?
One of the most popular Invisalign FAQs is, how often do I have to wear my aligners? This is crucial to the effectiveness of your treatment. You must wear your aligners every day for 20 to 22 hours in order for them to work.
When you take your aligners out to eat and drink or to clean them and your teeth, make sure you put them right back in. Missing large gaps of treatment time will derail your treatment which can be very frustrating. And typically you will receive a new set of aligners every two weeks.
Do I have To Give Up Certain Foods?
No! One of the best parts of the Invisalign system is that you do not have to restrict your diet. The trays are meant to be removed while you eat, so you do not have to worry about damaging them with hard or sticky foods. You may want to be a little easy on your teeth after each new set of aligners though, because your teeth may be a little uncomfortable while adjusting.
Keep in mind, though, that you will need to brush your teeth after eating before you put the aligners back in. If you eat a food that will be very difficult to brush out (say, corn on the cob), make sure you have enough time to clean thoroughly before wearing the aligners again.
What Is the Best Way To Care For My Aligners?
Avoid discoloration, odor and a buildup of bacteria by following these tips for how to clean Invisalign trays.
Each morning take your aligners out and clean both your teeth and the aligners thoroughly. While you were sleeping a lot of bacteria could have built up on the aligners so it is important to start the day off right with clean teeth and aligners. Make sure you do this every evening as well.
Always rinse them when you remove them. To prevent dry saliva and plaque from building up, make sure you rinse your aligners every time you take them out of your mouth. You want to avoid creating an inviting environment for bacteria to grow. You can also use a clear anti-bacterial soap to keep your aligners clean and clear.
Brushing the aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush can also help remove some of the plaque. Even when you are out and about and not in the comfort of your own home, it is important to properly take care of your Invisalign aligners.
Soak your aligners every day. The best way to make sure your Invisalign aligners are as clean as possible is to soak them in either a denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals. After they are finished soaking, use an extra toothbrush that you don’t use for your teeth to brush off any lingering plaque or food particles and then rinse the aligners before placing them back in your mouth.
Always brush and floss your teeth before putting the aligners back in. If you put the aligners back in when there are food particles still stuck between your teeth, you will be trapping them inside the aligners which could lead to cavities and other dental issues down the road.
What Are the Invisalign Cleaning Crystals?
As discussed, it is very important to keep your Invisalign aligner trays clean at all times. If you are often in a hurry and worry about cutting corners with your cleaning routine, you should look into the Invisalign Cleaning System. Invisalign offers this product as an alternative to brushing your trays multiple times a day.
To use the system, you place your Invisalign aligner trays in warm water and add the Cleaning Crystals. You gently shake the mixtures to evenly distribute the crystals, and then you let the whole thing sit for about 15 minutes. Then you shake it again, remove the trays, and rinse them off in warm water. NEVER use hot water on your trays, as it could melt or soften the plastic.
Using the Invisalign Cleaning System is not required though. You can keep your aligners just as clean with old-fashioned brushing. Some studies have even found that the best approach is a combination of the Cleaning System and brushing with toothpaste. Whatever method you choose, be sure to do it consistently and thoroughly.
Where Can I Buy Invisalign Cleaning Crystals?
Luckily it is very easy to find places to buy Invisalign Cleaning Crystals. You can buy them directly from Invisalign, order them online from Amazon or even pick them up at your local Walmart. Get recommendations from your orthodontist on how best to clean your aligners and where to get all the cleaning accessories you will need.
Does Invisalign Hurt?
While there is pressure on your teeth to align them, many patients are not very affected by this. However, it is entirely possible that you may feel a little discomfort and soreness, especially when you are starting with a new set of liners.
This discomfort should clear up within a few days and should never exceed pain beyond some general sensitivity. As your teeth and mouth become used to the pressure from the Invisalign, you’ll find that the soreness dissipates and you can no longer notice the pressure at all.
For the early days, you can utilize minor pain medication, such as that for headaches, to help alleviate the discomfort if necessary.
Is Invisalign Easy To Use?
Yes, that is what people love the most about Invisalign. The aligners are easy to put in and remove and are very comfortable to wear. There are no sharp edges that can dig into your gums and because they are practically invisible to people around you, you will feel more confident wearing them.
Also because they are removable, keeping your aligners and teeth and gums clean is a lot easier. You will be able to get into all the nooks and crannies without any problems.
Why Is Wearing Invisalign 22 Hours A Day Necessary?
22 hours is most of the day which can seem like a lot, but it is really truly necessary for you to wear your Invisalign aligners for that long every day. This is because the aligners gradually put pressure on your teeth to move them into better alignment and this takes time. If you have them out for long gaps of time during the day, not enough pressure is being exerted to get the results you want.
What Are Invisalign Attachments?
Sometimes during Invisalign treatments, your orthodontist will add tooth-colored “handles” to your teeth to give the aligners something to push against. They help increase the pressure on your teeth to get the proper alignment. They are invisible just like the aligners though so you will barely notice that they are there.
What Are Invisalign Buttons?
Some patients might need a little extra pressure to shift their teeth than just their aligners. That is where the Invisalign buttons come in. What exactly are they? Well, they are small tooth-colored dots of dental bonding that are places on specific teeth, usually in the middle of the tooth. Buttons can be created in a variety of shapes, including rectangular, square, circular, ellipsoidal or triangular in shape. It all depends on what its purpose is. In general though the buttons create extra pressure between the tooth and the aligner to help it shift better.
Which Invisalign Type Do I Need?
There are actually different types of Invisalign you can choose from including:
- Invisalign Full are the most common type of Invisalign. It can treat the most complex bite issues. With this type of treatment, you will have top and bottom aligners for about a year to 18 months.
- Invisalign Express is better for less complex issues. It is also a quicker solution when you need teeth straightened before you can get cosmetic dentistry work like veneers or crowns.
Each type varies a little in what they treat so you should consult with your orthodontist to see which one will meet your needs best.
Here is a list of the most common accessories that can help you adjust to your Invisalign a lot easier. They include:
- Orthodontic Wax – Even though Invisalign aligners are usually more comfortable to wear, you can sometime still experience so discomfort from the aligners and any buttons or attachments the orthodontist might have adhered to your teeth to help straighten your smile.
- Aligner Retrieval Tools – Usually there is a learning curve to learn the smoothest way to get the aligners in and out of your mouth and There are tools available that can make it a lot easier to get the aligners on and off your teeth and to make sure it is positioned properly. Look for one that is made of surgical stainless steel so it is easy to keep clean and will last you a long time.
- Invisalign Chewies – Chewies are another product that can help you with switching the aligners in and out. You can usually get them 2 in a pack.
- Travel Oral Hygiene Kit/Storage Case Combo – Probably the most important accessory for your Invisalign braces is a storage case that also doubles as an oral hygiene kit. You are wearing the aligners for 20 to 24 hours and will be taking them in and out at different times of the day so being prepared is key. You need a discrete place to store the aligners when you are not wearing them and you need to also have on hand all your cleaning products and tools because you need to clean not only your teeth and gums every time you take the aligners out, but also the aligners themselves. To have all this in a compact travel kit you can take everywhere will make your life so much easier.
- Cleansing Towelettes and Sprays – If you are looking for quick ways to clean your aligners and freshen them up, you can buy cleansing towelettes that you can simply wipe your aligners quickly without the need to rinse them out. If you prefer a spray to towelettes, you can get an Invisalign and retainer cleaner spray.
- Cleaning Crystals – Invisalign offers its own cleaning system to help simplify the process. If you do not want to brush the trays you can purchase packs of cleaning crystals from Invisalign or possibly your orthodontist. You place the trays in water, mix in the crystals, and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Take them out, rinse them in warm water, and voila! Clean aligners!
How Does Invisalign Look on Your Teeth?
Because the aligners are made of clear plastic, Invisalign is pretty much invisible. People would have to look really hard at your teeth to spot them. Most people will never know you are wearing them unless you tell them.
Of course, you need to take really good care of the aligners. Aligners can get stained and give off an odor if they are not cleaned properly.
Can I Smoke While Wearing the Aligners?
No, we do not recommend smoking while wearing the Invisalign trays. Smoking can cause significant discoloration which will affect how your trays look. If the discoloration is problematic, you may end up needing to replace them, which could be costly and interfere with your treatment progress.
Are Invisalign Results Permanent?
This really depends on you. For best results, you need to follow all the instructions of your orthodontist, making sure you wear your aligners every day for the prescribed amount of time. Also, like with any type of orthodontic treatment, you will need to wear retainers after your Invisalign treatment. This will help keep your teeth in their teeth permanently. Do all this and you will be able to enjoy your beautiful smile for the rest of your life.
When Will I Start to See Results with Invisalign?
Usually it takes a few months before you start to see results with Invisalign. Sometimes however a patient can start to feel subtle changes with that first tray. It all depends on the individual patient.
Will I Need To Wear a Retainer After Treatment?
Just like with regular braces, the end of your treatment doesn’t necessarily mean that your teeth will be perfectly straight for the rest of your life. Most orthodontists will recommend that you wear a retainer even after the completion of your aligners’ work to prevent your teeth from moving back to their original position over a long period of time.
This is not a guarantee, however. If you only require a slight correction from Invisalign, it’s definitely possible that you won’t have to wear a retainer after the fact. The more drastic the correction, the more likely that you’ll need to wear a retainer.
Thankfully, you can get retainers from the same orthodontist who helped you with your Invisalign treatment. There are several different retainer options that you can look into to best suit your lifestyle and schedule. Many retainers only need to be worn at night.