Many patients at the practice have asked how my Invisalign treatment went and what my reason was as to why I decided to undergo orthodontic treatment for the second time.
I was informed I needed braces at the age of 13. I cannot say my experience with traditional braces was a pleasant one. I remember the wires constantly digging into my cheeks as they were left too long at the ends. This caused painful ulcers all the time and salt water mouth rinses as well as the use of orthodontic wax became part of my everyday routine.
I cannot tell you how much my teeth ached each and every time I had my wires tightened. I dreaded those appointments the most. I could not wait to have my braces taken off as I recall always leaving my orthodontic office with a headache due to the tension placed on my teeth but I guess that is how orthodontics work.
The day finally arrived where my braces came off. I remember being relieved as well as excited to have a new, straight smile and a metal free mouth. My orthodontist issued a removable retainer which I was told to wear each night for 6 months to prevent my teeth from relapsing. I did this for a majority of the time but as I grew from a teenager into a young adult my teeth did happen to relapse.
Seeing my once straight smile crooked again was something that I was not happy about. At age 30 I decided to do something about correcting the relapse and working in dental does have its perks.
At the time my boss had signed up to do the Invisalign training course and I volunteered to be the test dummy. I was also asked to attend the Invisalign training course but I will get to more about that later.
What is Invisalign exactly?
Good question Invisalign is the invisible way to straighten teeth without the metal or wires needed for braces. Using a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, Invisalign combines 21st-century technology and revolutionary manufacturing to customise a treatment for each individual patient. As you will see from the picture Invisalign is virtually undetectable and many didn't even notice I was undergoing treatment.
What issues can Invisalign correct?
At the Invisalign course I came to learn Invisalign can be used to correct a series of issues. I have attached a series of pictures below to show the actual issues which Invisalign can help correct.
How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign works using aligners that look a little bit like a sports mouth guard but are a lot thinner and less noticeable. These aligners, which are made of clear, strong, medical grade, non-toxic plastic, are specifically moulded to your individual requirements and fit over your upper and lower teeth. This plastic is virtually invisible when worn so no-one will notice you’re having treatment.
These aligners are designed to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. Every 2 weeks you’ll be given a new set of aligners which build on the work of the previous ones. The length of treatment is dependent on the severity of individual cases and will vary from anywhere between 6 months to 2 years. Average treatment time is around 12 to 14 months. In my specific case, my treatment took 9 months in total and 19 aligners were needed to make the necessary movements to correct my smile.
The process for treatment
The first step I made was to book myself in for an Invisalign consult. At this appointment, Sam and I discussed what I did not like about my smile. My two main concerns were my crooked bottom teeth and what I would refer to as a gummy smile. The plan of attack was to widen my smile so it would show my teeth more as my previous orthodontics created a very narrow smile. We would then push the teeth up which would lift the gums, therefore, showing less gum when I smiled.
At my second visit, a series of mirrors were placed in my mouth and photos were taken. This was to capture my bite. A series of impressions were also taken. What happens from here is the models are sent off to Invisalign headquarters in Texas where a plan is created to correct your smile. The images are uploaded into the Invisalign 3D software also. It takes approximately 2-3 weeks for the plan to come back.
Your dentist will then take a look at this plan and make any necessary changes. You will then be asked to come back to see us for a Clini-Check appointment. If you are happy with the outcome we will then approve your treatment. Once this is done it will take two weeks for your aligners to arrive. Once your aligners arrive back at our office we will then call you for your first aligner insert appointment.
At your aligner insert appointment little white composite buttons are placed on your teeth. The buttons act as brackets to move your teeth into the desired position. Your first aligner is then issued and off you go for two weeks till your next appointment with us.
So what is the difference between traditional orthodontics and Invisalign?
In my experience, there was definitely a difference. I did not have wires digging into my cheeks and a mouth full of metal. I found Invisalign extremely comfortable. I won't lie the first day it did feel strange and there was a lot of pressure on my teeth. I felt like my lip was protruding but in reality, it wasn't. The first few days are the hardest. My teeth did ache but nothing compared to traditional orthodontics. I found this time there was barely any need for pain killers. There were some weeks where my teeth would hurt the first week and then some weeks where my teeth would hurt the second. All in all, it was far more convenient and comfortable.
How long should I wear my retainers for each day?
The answer to this is 22hrs a day. Yes, we will know if you are not wearing them correctly as your teeth will not track. This means that you may have to wear your retainers for an extra week which therefore increases the amount of time you are in treatment. The only time you are to take your retainers out is to eat and drink.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
- The treatment is discreet. Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible so you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing. They’re also removable so you can eat and drink whatever you want during treatment.
- Invisalign aligners are comfortable to wear as there are no metal brackets or wires to cause mouth irritation. No metal or wires also means you spend less time in the orthodontist’s chair getting adjustments.
- Traditional metal braces can make it difficult to floss and brush properly, which can cause decalcification. This can lead to unsightly marks on the teeth and possibly even decay. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, you can brush and floss normally, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent decalcification.
- In order to move teeth, force needs to be applied. One of the problems that can arise from this is root resorption. This condition refers to the breakdown of the root of a tooth and could lead to the loss of the tooth. Because the forces exerted by Invisalign aligners are more gradual than those applied by traditional braces, early indications are that Invisalign treatment exhibits a much lower rate of root resorption.
- When traditional metal braces are removed from teeth, this can sometimes cause some of the tooth’s enamel to be removed as well. Because Invisalign doesn’t involve using adhesive to bond brackets to teeth or enamel scouring.
So how much does Invisalign cost?
This will vary depending on the duration and severity of your case. Treatment costs are similar to traditional orthodontics so it can be anywhere from $6000-$8000.
Will my health fund pay towards the cost of treatment?
Yes, if you have major dental on your health fund policy.
What happens when I finish treatment?
Your composite buttons are removed and lingual wires will be placed on the back of your top and bottom teeth. This will feel quite strange at first but you quickly become accustomed to having them there. You will also be issued with a set of night retainers which you will wear each night. These retainers will help keep your teeth in the desired position and also prevent your teeth from relapsing. These retainers are similar to your Invisalign aligners. It is also important that you keep your retainers in a safe spot and away from animals as they seem to sniff them out and chew them.
Are you happy with the end result?
Most definitely I am extremely happy with the result. While there are other things I would like to still correct with my smile I am happy to say I now have straight teeth again. All in all the process was pretty easy and a lot better than my orthodontic experience the first time.
What do I do if I want to go ahead with Invisalign?
The first step is to call and book in for an initial consultation. The process, fees, and length of treatment will be discussed with you. One of the biggest joys we have here at CCD is helping our patients create the smile of their dreams.
If you wish to book an Invisalign consultation click the link below or call reception on 9382 8266 for further information.
Written By: Sophia (CCD Patient Coordinator)