Today’s braces are almost unrecognizable from years past, with smaller brackets, a sleeker appearance, and greater comfort. Despite this transformation, many teens and adults we see are hesitant about using them to straighten their smile. Fortunately, there’s an alternative available, one that offers patients the chance to achieve a beautiful smile without any brackets, wires, or bands! Hunter Family Orthodontics is here to give you the truth about Invisalign.
Invisalign clear aligner therapy is an exciting way to give you the same incredible results as braces but with a lot more freedom and flexibility. Braces have a long track record of proven results, but Invisalign aligners are still relatively new in the world of orthodontics. That means a few misconceptions are floating around out there about how they work, how effective they can be, and how much they cost compared to braces. We’re going to get to the truth about Invisalign below, so keep reading to find out more!
What is Invisalign?
Although Invisalign clear aligners as we know them were developed by a company called Align Technology in the late ’90s, similar trays had been in use for decades as post-treatment retainers. The Invisalign system uses specialized software and technology to allow orthodontists like Dr. Hunter to move crooked and misaligned teeth in stages using customized aligners. At the end of each stage, the current aligner is switched out for the next in the series. This will usually happen every one to two weeks, depending on the predetermined interval.
In the beginning, Invisalign was only used to treat simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. Once orthodontists became aware of its potential and the system became more popular, the design improved dramatically. When used as directed, Invisalign aligners can now be just as effective as traditional braces for many mild to moderate orthodontic issues.
What advantages does Invisalign offer over braces?
Because they can be removed for short periods, Invisalign aligners give patients flexibility that other treatment methods just can’t beat! Food restrictions are a good example of this. Crunchy and chewy foods can cause problems with brackets and wires, so patients in braces must avoid these items throughout their orthodontic journey. This can eliminate several popular foods and snacks from the menu, but with Invisalign, you can still eat all your favorite foods any time you want! Simply take the aligners out whenever you’re ready to eat, then put them back in when you’re done.
Removable aligners also make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing around wires, brackets, and bands can often be frustrating and time-consuming. Invisalign aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as you normally would! Caring for the aligners themselves is a simple task, too. There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can gently brush them using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
Because they’re removable and don’t have any wires or brackets to get in the way, Invisalign aligners are great for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. Since they can be removed for short periods, they’re also perfect for those special events where you only want your natural smile shining through, like a wedding, prom, or senior pictures.
Does Invisalign treatment take longer than braces?
No matter what kind of orthodontic treatment you choose, it will require some level of commitment to be successful. This compliance is especially important when working with Invisalign aligners! Because braces are affixed to the actual surface of the teeth, much of the tooth movement occurs without too much work on the patient’s side. Aligners are a different story. They are a removable orthodontic appliance, and as such, they must be worn for 20-22 hours a day for the treatment to succeed. Failure to do so can result in longer treatment times or inferior results.
Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to how long a patient will need to be in braces or aligners. That’s because every case is different, and each patient responds to treatment in their way. In general, however, the average number of aligners used with Invisalign will be somewhere between 10 and 48, with the total treatment time averaging anywhere from 6 to 18 months. The good news? This is slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!
Does Invisalign treatment cost more than braces?
Like any time something new hits the market, treatment with Invisalign was considered to be quite pricey in its early days. That cost has decreased as it’s become more popular and readily available. While there are several factors associated with the overall cost of orthodontic treatment in general, Invisalign aligners tend to cost just about the same as traditional braces these days.
Here at Hunter Family Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing high-quality orthodontic care for every budget! Your treatment fees vary depending on several factors, and we’ll make sure you understand everything the total cost includes before proceeding with the active phase of treatment. We have a variety of payment options available for your convenience, and also accept many major insurance plans. Our team will be happy to verify your orthodontic benefits, and will even process your insurance forms for you.
Does the Invisalign system work for everyone?
Generally speaking, Invisalign aligners tend to work best for teen and adult patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are particularly complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. When you schedule your free consultation with Dr. Hunter, he’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you, or if a different treatment method would be better. Our practice will only recommend the treatment best suited for your unique smile!
What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?
Even with orthodontic treatment, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth. If there’s nothing in place to stop them, they will eventually begin drifting back towards those positions. This is why retainers are so important when it comes to achieving lasting results! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. To keep your newly straightened smile in place, you should always wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Hunter.
Find your best smile with Invisalign from Hunter Family Orthodontics
Invisalign’s innovative system is the most popular alternative we have to traditional braces right now, and it’s not hard to see why! This exciting option continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment, and we’re proud to offer it to our patients in The Woodlands and the surrounding communities.
If you’d like to learn more about the wonderful things Invisalign can do for you and your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Hunter. We’re here to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile!