We always want to look and feel our best, which includes improving our smiles, which are often the first thing people notice about you in any circumstances. Unfortunately, several medical or genetic conditions may hinder the proper alignment of teeth, which may leave you highly conscious of this factor as you go about your routine activities. While body positivity and accepting yourself as you are is highly encouraged for a healthy mental state, you are also encouraged to make changes where possible. This is especially in cases where if no action is taken, misaligned teeth structures will lead to more medical complications. At the Northridge Dentist clinic, we specialize in advanced dental procedures that include the installation of Invisalign, to help you get the picture-perfect smile that is highly desired.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an advanced method of orthodontic treatment, which is a way of straightening teeth alignment in a patient’s mouth cavity. The treatment is applied in cases where the teeth are misaligned along the gum base and therefore call for gradual movement into the desired position. Invisalign does not require the use of wires for this alignment process, as it is made of durable and clear plastic installed in the mouth to push teeth into their new position. Treatment using Invisalign is a development form the conventional use of braces as a remedy for a case of misaligned teeth, which shows improvement in the medical field. Formulation of Invisalign treatment is also highly driven by modern technology, which focuses on the continuous development of new plastic mouth structures for the patients, to be replaced every two weeks or so, depending on the treatment process. Invisalign is, therefore, an alternative way to fix dental misalignment conditions, without the uncomfortable and often painful process of installing braces. It has become highly popular in California and in the entire country, because of the convenience it provides.

For What Dental Conditions Can I Use Invisalign?

There are several adaptations of misaligned teeth that vary from one patient to the next. Often, the conditions are not caused by any fault made by the patient suffering from them but are mostly due to genetic aspects that manifest in the patient’s body development, which extends to the mouth.

First, some people may have smaller jaws than average, which brings about the problem of overcrowding in the mouth. Teeth are not well fitted in the mouth because of the small size of the jaw, which can cause several problems. One of them is that the crowded nature of the mouth becomes the perfect breeding ground for oral bacteria, which is dangerous. It may cause some complications for the patient that includes tooth decay or periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease. The diseases are as a result of failure to properly clean the enamel of the teeth, because you may not be able to properly brush or floss an area where two crowns overlap or join. It, therefore, calls for a patient to seek for teeth realignment treatment, by the use of Invisalign.

The second condition that will warrant Invisalign treatment is an overbite in the mouth. The condition is manifested by the overlap of the lower front teeth by the frontal teeth on the upper jaw. An overbite can be caused by some practices that may be subconscious to the patient, like placing the tip of your tongue on the top frontal incisors when your mouth is closed. The progressive force of the tongue on the teeth pushes them out, leading to an overbite. It may also be a result of overcrowding of teeth, whereby some are forced out of the normal alignment and pushed outwards. Overbites can dramatically affect your physical appearance, due to the elongated appearance of the mouth, which makes you look older than you may actually be. It may not necessarily be painful, but nevertheless, it is an uncomfortable condition to live with, because you may be unable to close your mouth without effort or keep it closed because of the protrusion of the front teeth. Invisalign can immensely help reduce the effects of an overbite.

Thirdly, an underbite will require Invisalign treatment. Its manifestation is the parallel opposite of an overbite, whereby the lower front teeth protrude and overlap the upper front teeth. The condition is often more painful to live with because the teeth often clash with the upper teeth, which may even result in chipping or cracking of teeth during chewing or any other normal action that involves movement of the mouth.

An addition to the list is the condition of a crossbite. It may be termed as a combination of overbites and underbites. It results in the overlap of some upper teeth with lower teeth, which may be differently positioned in the mouth. The frequent crashing of misaligned teeth may cause severe gum problems due to the weakening of the gums when the teeth clash against each other. Your jawline may also be severely affected due to crossbites as you try to adjust your mouth to fit all your teeth as you close your mouth. As in underbites, crossbites also cause chipping of teeth, which is a result of the weakening of teeth as they clash in the mouth in the chewing process. Invisalign will be a very effective solution for the treatment of crossbites because of the plastic structure of the device installed in your mouth, which shields teeth from impact.

Tooth gaps also require to be reduced, in an effort to prevent the breeding of bacteria in between those gaps. The gaps often result in food particles and plaque getting stuck, which then enables the bacteria to thrive. Invisalign pushes the teeth together and helps solve the problems that may arise from oral bacteria like cavities and tooth decay. Advanced complications may even lead to a condition of dental abscess. You should, therefore, seek your dentist’s opinion on the installation of Invisalign to prevent these grave effects caused by tooth gaps.

The Difference Between Invisalign And Braces

Invisalign and braces are treatments that have a similar end goal, which is the proper alignment of your teeth in your oral cavity. However, there are certain differences that make Invisalign a more advantageous form of treatment than fixing braces.

The major selling point for Invisalign is that the plastic fixtures fitted in your mouth are not detectable, and some may even call them ‘invisible’ as implied by the name. The aspect of being undetectable is very important to some of our patients who may not want any major difference in their appearances for a given time but still require treatment. A good example is professionals in the television and media field, such as actors or news anchors. Their roles demand a consistent appearance, which is made possible by Invisalign treatment in place of braces, which are highly conspicuous, because of the bridges that need to be stuck onto the teeth, in order to hold the tightening wire that will be used for the teeth alignment. Since Invisalign is made of clear and durable plastic, it is a perfect alternative in this instance, which does the same job.

Another difference between the two forms of treatment is that Invisalign plastic structures are removable, while braces are semi-permanent and remain on your teeth until the completion of treatment. The flexibility of the treatment process using Invisalign enables you to lead a normal feeding life, whereby you are not restricted from the consumption of most foods, as would be the case in a braces treatment process. You are able to remove the Invisalign plastic impressions when you eat sticky or colored foods to avoid staining, which is not possible to do when you have braces on. However, because of the unrestricted nature of food and drink consumption while under Invisalign treatment, the adhesive on the plastics are easily stained over time, especially for people who smoke or drink red wine and fail to properly clean the teeth or the Invisalign. This may be a big disadvantage because it now becomes visible and is unfaltering in the teeth, which contradicts the biggest reason for its installation in the first place.

Thirdly, Invisalign is more comfortable to wear, as opposed to braces. The installation process is painless, and the only discomfort that may be expected is in the first few days as your teeth adjust to the placement of the Invisalign alignment. When it comes to braces installation, the bridges and wires used may be abrasive to your mouth especially as you chew or even speak, because the inner lining of the mouth is fragile and is sensitive to constant contact or friction from the metallic brackets, bridges or wires. There may, therefore, be many scratches that can even cause bleeding, which is not the case after installation of Invisalign. Thus, it is highly recommended to you, especially if you are prone to suffering from mouth sores, which are aggravated by the abrasive nature of braces.

Preparation For Invisalign Installation

The process of installation does not begin immediately after your dentist establishes that you require Invisalign treatment. There are various procedures that need to be completed first, to enable a smooth transition of the different processes involved in the treatment.

The primary thing to do in preparation for Invisalign installation is scheduling a consultation with your dentist, where he or she will use the session to explain to you what expectations you should have as the treatment begins, as well as the end results you should look forward to. Your dentist will also give the estimated time it will take to complete treatment, which is not very long for Invisalign procedures. You should use this opportunity to raise any concerns you may have regarding Invisalign alignment, such as the costs involved and whether there is a follow-up treatment that involves the installation of retainers like in treatment using braces. Since Invisalign creates muscle memory in the mouth for teeth alignment, there may be no need for the retainers, but it is a good reinforcement, especially when there is an alignment relapse that is not uncommon.

After the consultation appointment, your dentist will need to take the dimension measurements of your mouth. Normally, we do this by using a special dental mold that takes an impression of the shape of your teeth and mouth structure once placed inside the mouth. It is a very important step to take because it creates a replication of how your teeth alignment looks like in an external environment, which allows the dentist to come up with possible forms of Invisalign treatment. The dry study models from the mold are unique to your mouth and are, therefore, the reference point for the Invisalign design that will be used on you.

However, because of the technological development that is ongoing, dentists now prefer to use 3D images of your teeth that are captured using special cameras that take multiple photographs at once. It is easier to manipulate the images on a computer, and even project the future placement of teeth during the treatment process. The use of 3D technology has greatly helped to speed up the process of Invisalign treatment because dentists can promptly develop the next required model in your treatment as your time for adjustment approaches.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Upon the development of the aligners, your fitting process can now be scheduled. The aligners are well designed and customized to fit your teeth, thanks to the measurements taken by the use of the 3D images or by the use of impression mold. The treatment involves the proper alignment of your teeth, which means you should expect constant adjustments of the aligners. Based on the projected results, Invisalign aligners are changed every two to three weeks, which is the average time by which your teeth should have moved a reasonable measurement in the required direction in an effort to align them. The time may also vary from one patient to another because the process is not the same for all types of conditions. People with overbites may have a more straightforward process because the aligners only require to bring the frontal teeth backward to the straight placement of the rest of the teeth. This is different from crossbite treatment, where different teeth may need to be moved in different directions to achieve proper alignment. This information is important for you to note so that you do not worry in case your timeline is different.

For a complete treatment, you may need to change your aligners around 20-30 times, which translates to the use of 20-30 different aligners to achieve the desired results. For the effectiveness of your treatment, we recommend that you stay with your Invisalign retainers for as long as you can, even if you have the privilege of removing them at certain times. The recommended period for you to have them on is for an average of 22 hours a day. This enables constant force on the teeth to be exerted by the aligners, which pushes them quicker than when you do not wear them for the proposed time. The jaw and mandibular bone structure are easily adjustable because it is held together by flexible muscles. This is why the alignment of teeth is possible in the first place. As much as this is a good thing, it can be a disadvantage to you if you are not keen on your treatment. The reason is that your teeth can relapse into their previous alignment without proper Invisalign reinforcement, which will inevitably slow down your treatment time and may even add to your overall costs, caused by retrospective treatment.

It is evident that you require a lot of discipline in the use of Invisalign, in terms of keeping the aligners inside your mouth for most of the day, which may not exactly be pleasant for everyone. We often observe this more so in younger patients, children who are prone to remove the aligners when they are not under adult supervision. Luckily, the technology used in formulating Invisalign aligners has included a special feature that helps you track your compliance in wearing Invisalign aligners. For a compliant patient, the aligners have a blue color indicator that tells you that you're doing a good job so far. You can use this tracker to track your progress and enhance your self-discipline, but the ones to benefit most from it are the parents of younger children whose treatment needs to be supervised closely. For older patients who understand the importance of the treatment, it is important to remember what you intend to achieve by the end of your treatment and use it as motivation to be compliant in retaining your Invisalign aligners.

Does Invisalign Affect My Normal Lifestyle?

There is no major change to be expected with the onset of Invisalign treatment except for the gradual improvement of your teeth alignment, of course. Our patients are able to lead their lives as they have been doing before, with the inclusion of a few changes to their routines, which are frankly helpful to them.

Your food consumption choices will not change while using Invisalign, because of the earlier highlighted aspect of the detachability of the aligners from the teeth for the required time. This allows you to go on eating whichever kinds of food you live to eat, whether they are sticky, chewy, or crunchy. However, people who smoke are advised to reduce their cigarette intake, because aligners easily stain from the tar marks that get stuck on the teeth even after brushing. The process may be gradual, but it is sure to happen eventually and lead to undesirable staining of the clear plastic material of the retainer. The disclaimer extends to coffee consumers too, who may suffer the same fate. Coffee has a rich, dark color that easily stains clear or white substances like your aligners.

Apart from those minimal food restrictions, everything else continues normally. You are required to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing at least twice a day. You will need to remove your Invisalign aligners to achieve this, and your dentist will give you a liquid solution to clean your Invisalign with as well. Also, because the Invisalign is clear, nobody has to notice any ongoing treatment, which is good for you if especially if you would prefer to be discreet about it or are bound by your profession, as mentioned to maintain your daily image. It is also a good way to simply look good as you endeavor to create better results.

Despite the assurance of normal life, some patients are highly sensitive to the kind of plastic used in making the aligners. This may be uncomfortable for you with common symptoms like gum irritation and swelling in some cases. Should it happen, be sure to inform your dentist of the issue so that he or she can establish if you will have to switch your mode of treatment.

The Cost of Invisalign Treatment

Owing to the numerous advantages and comfortable nature of the treatment, Invisalign installation is guaranteed to cause a dent in your pocket. In California, the average amount you should expect to pay for Invisalign is anywhere from $3000 to $8000. The cost may be slightly more expensive than treatment using braces, which is because of the benefits you enjoy while undertaking Invisalign treatment. They are improvements specially made to improve the patient’s treatment experience, which is what we always strive to achieve. If you are unable to pay for the treatment upfront, we are happy to use a payment plan that is suitable and comfortable for you. We can allow spread out deposits of payment that can be made throughout the treatment.

The good news is that insurance can help cover your Invisalign treatment. Most companies make payments that amount to $500 to $1500, which may significantly reduce your financial burden. We welcome the use of customized payment plans even with the use of insurance coverage to enable you to start treatment immediately, which is our goal. Getting Invisalign treatment is a good investment to make on yourself, especially since positive results are guaranteed in a short period of time.

Contact a Northridge Dentist Near Me

Dental misalignment is a constant cause of self-consciousness. Should you desire to enhance your dental alignment to improve on your teeth appearance, give us a call at 818-875-0216. We will be happy to give you the professional support and help you need as you work to better your dental health and improve your lovely smile.