There are many important reasons why it is better to have straight teeth. The most obvious reason is your appearance. You feel confident when you smile with straight teeth and other people notice that confidence. There are other, not so obvious reasons why straight teeth are better for your health. If you are an adult who would like straight teeth but doesn’t want a mouth full of metal for the next two years, or if you are a teenager with the same concern, Invisalign® may be right for you.
Why Are Straight Teeth Important?
Crooked teeth and a misaligned bite can lead to other very serious health issues. If your teeth don’t meet properly when your mouth is closed or when you are chewing it is called a misaligned bite. If it is not corrected it may cause bruxism or teeth grinding and contribute to chronic headaches, tense jaws which lead to soreness, loose teeth, and chipped or fractured teeth. If you can’t chew your food properly, you may avoid certain foods and not get the nutrition you need.
Crooked teeth that are overlapping or crowded together may be very difficult to keep clean. Flossing properly can be a problem, which will lead to gingivitis or gum disease. This is a serious problem because it means you are regularly swallowing pus, which has a detrimental effect on other parts of your body. Your teeth will gradually become loose and could fall out. If you have gaps between your teeth, you may eventually suffer bone loss.
Chronic bad breath is one symptom of gum disease and poorly cleaned teeth. No amount of mouthwash or breath mints can cure bad breath caused by poor oral hygiene.
Periodontal disease or gum disease starts when you are not able to thoroughly clean your teeth. The bacteria, food particles, and mucus go deep into the small spaces between your teeth and gums. This is called plaque and you can remove most of it with regular brushing and flossing. You will always need to have a dental checkup and teeth cleaning to remove tartar, which forms when the plaque is not removed. This is very hard and can only be removed by an orthodontist. Gum disease has been linked to serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and premature births.
How Does Invisalign® Help?
Invisalign® is a clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth like a mouth guard. It will not only redefine your smile with straightened teeth, but it will also correct gaps between teeth, overcrowded teeth and crooked teeth. It corrects most misaligned teeth, which not only makes your teeth look better but allows you to chew properly, and reduce the risk of cracked or broken teeth. Straight teeth are easier to clean and more likely to last a lifetime.
How Does the Treatment Work?
Invisalign® is an orthodontic treatment that uses clear plastic aligners instead of brackets and wires to push your teeth into the correct position. When you meet our experienced Invisalign® provider your teeth will be examined and a plan for treatment recommended. With Invisalign®, you can see your whole plan before you begin. You receive a new aligner every two weeks and each one continues the process of pushing your teeth a little further to the goal.
The clear plastic aligners are virtually invisible. Your teeth will move about 0.25 mm every two weeks or per tray. The trays are manufactured from flexible thermoplastic that was created exclusively for Invisalign®. It contains no bisphenol S (BPS), bisphenol A (BPA), gluten or latex, and is approved as food-grade by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
The Top Six Benefits of Invisalign®
• Virtual invisibility – for people who need to meet the public in their jobs or who just don’t want to deal with the time-consuming attention required by traditional braces, Invisalign® is a great option.
• Comfortable – the trays are custom made to fit your mouth. There are no sharp edges or wires to catch on your cheek or tongue. The smooth plastic is easy to get used to.
• Fewer appointments – with traditional braces your progress needs to be checked often and the braces tightened accordingly. This may need to be done every three to four weeks depending on your orthodontic problems and it takes time. With Invisalign®, you only need a checkup approximately every six weeks and even those appointments are short.
• Better dental hygiene – it is essential to keep your teeth very clean while you are wearing braces. This is a time-consuming job for people who wear traditional braces. There are special tools to help make easier but it has to be done every time you eat or you could develop cavities and white spots on your enamel that cannot be removed once the braces come off.
• No dietary restrictions – since you remove the tray to eat, you can eat whatever you want as you usually do. Nuts, caramels, raw veggies, and hard bread are a few of the things people with traditional braces need to avoid. These can break brackets and wires. Just remember to brush your teeth after every time you eat or drink anything before putting the tray back in your mouth. Coffee, tea, spaghetti sauce, berries, red wine, and dark juices will stain your tray, so don’t put it in without cleaning your teeth. This may make you want to rethink your snacking time. It may also make some people reconsider lipstick. Clear gloss is fine, but colored lipstick may stick to the tray.
• Digital scan – we use a 3D digital scanner which is a non-invasive and painless method to get a full picture of your teeth and gums.
• Safe for teenagers and young adults – if you have a child who needs orthodontic treatment but is avoiding it because she or he wants to play sports or a musical instrument, Invisalign® is the answer. When there is a game or concert, they can just remove the tray for a short time or leave it in.
With Invisalign®, you remove the tray to eat and clean your teeth. You can brush and floss as you always have. To clean the trays, we can give you an Invisalign® Cleaning System, or you can brush it with a toothbrush and a mild detergent and rinse it in lukewarm water. Never use hot water as this can warp the plastic.
If the tray drops in an unhygienic place like a bathroom floor, it needs to be properly cleaned before you put it back in. The best option for this is Invisalign® Cleaning Crystals. This keeps aligners hygienic and clear and will remove plaque in just a few minutes.
The aligner trays need to be worn from 20-22 hours every day. This gives you a little margin so you can remove them for special events. If you are going to a wedding and don’t want to have to remove your aligners to eat, you can leave it out for an hour or two without hampering your treatment.
However, if you lose an aligner, and teenagers are prone to do this, you need to contact us immediately to get a new one. Your teeth will not only stop moving in the right direction, but they may also start moving back to their original position. This could significantly extend your treatment time. The most common situation when an aligner gets lost is when someone takes it out and either loses it or forgets where they put it.
Research Backs Invisalign®
Studies done by the U.S. government in 2014 show that teenagers are bullied because of crooked teeth or bad dental hygiene. This can have a detrimental effect on the mental health and social interaction of a teenager. Invisalign® can solve this problem. Also, 96 percent of U.S. teenagers were unhappy with their appearance and 30 percent of those were specifically unhappy about their teeth. About 50 percent of the children who used Invisalign® Teen said they had an increase in self-confidence. Of those who wore metal braces only 25 percent reported an increase in self-esteem.
What About a Retainer?
Our orthodontist recommends that anyone who has had orthodontic treatment wear a retainer to keep the teeth in the correct position. We understand that individual cases are different, so the best answer about a retainer will be given at the time it may be needed.
There are many different types of retainers and we will help you select the best one for you. One type is made with the same clear plastic as your Invisalign® trays and is 30 percent stronger than other retainers. If you have a removable retainer, it will need to be removed and cleaned. There are permanent retainers available. You will need to wear the retainer full-time at first and as we see your teeth settle, we may recommend you only wear it at night.
How Long Will It Take to Redefine Your Smile?
The average time it takes to straighten an adult’s teeth is about 12 months, but the time could be longer depending on the severity of your condition. For some people, after the initial straightening, we give a few more trays to fine tune the appearance.
Your teeth may feel slightly loose when you remove a tray. This is normal as they need to be loose to move. Some people take a while to get used to the trays and have a slight lisp for a few days or weeks. For some patients, small plastic buttons are added to each tooth to help the trays stay firmly in place and move the teeth faster.
While cleaning and eating are much easier with Invisalign®, you do need to be mindful about your meals. Since you need to wear them most of the 24 hours, you need to determine how long your meals take and add up the time. Unless you have a partner who helps you with your treatment, you are on your own to remember to wear the trays. Invisalign® requires some self-discipline. Many people keep an aligner case and a travel-size toothbrush with them at all times. While you can take them off for a special occasion, you shouldn’t overdo it.
Even though Invisalign® orthodontic treatment has your brushing at least six times a day and eating meals quickly, it may also help you become more mindful of your diet and teach you good oral hygiene. If you are avoiding braces, it’s worth looking into Invisalign® for better dental and overall health.
Invisalign® may not be right for everyone, but it is the most discreet type of orthodontic treatment and is very useful for adults and teenagers who want to avoid braces. Visit Runnels Orthodontics to learn more about redefining your smile with Invisalign® and find out how easy it is to get your dental problems corrected. We are conveniently located in Inlet Beach, Destin, and Santa Rosa Beach, and we also serve residents in Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Panama City Beach, and Panama City. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!