Straighten Your Teeth with Invisalign: A Patient’s Guide

Let’s imagine a scenario: you wake up, jump out of bed, and go into the bathroom to brush your teeth. As you’re opening wide to reach those back molars, you notice something — the bottom row of your teeth is getting pretty crooked.

In the old days, this meant painful, irritating, and unsightly braces. In fact, many people don’t realize that there are other options on the market today, and we love to see the look on their faces when we inform them that in most cases, braces are a thing of the past!

One of the most popular alternatives is a clear-aligner straightening method called Invisalign. In this piece, we’ll tell you all about them, including the advantages over conventional teeth-straightening methods and what to expect when you come into see Dr. Kevin F. Postol for a consultation!

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a system that provides an alternative to braces for millions of patients — 14 million as of 2022, according to the brand’s website — looking to improve their smile easily and comfortably.

Like braces, Invisalign® gradually corrects the alignment of the teeth using clear, medical-grade plastic trays that seamlessly cover the entire set of upper and lower teeth. Like the name suggests, this method is intended to be an invisible alternative to other teeth-straightening methods and while the aligners won’t be literally invisible, Invisalign is virtually undetectable at a glance.

Who Is a Candidate for Invisalign?

In a 2022 study released by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the smile’s importance to a person’s self-image was made crystal-clear:

  • 37% of people interviewed said flaws in their smile make them feel less attractive
  • 25% said that these flaws make them feel less confident

Everyone wants to love what they see in the mirror — and make the best impression on the world around them — so it’s no surprise that patients of all ages (treatment can start with patients as young as 6 years old) are lining up to learn more about Invisalign. A few reasons you might want to schedule an Invisalign consultation with Dr. Postol and the team include…

  • To achieve the perfect smile with straight, well-spaced teeth
  • To correct issues with the width of your dental arch
  • To alleviate irritated gums and tooth pain caused by uneven wear

Is there anyone who isn’t a good candidate? Generally, Invisalign is not recommended for people who already have dental implants or bridges, as well as those who suffer from TMJ pain. But, every case is different, so we recommend that everyone schedules a visit so they get a chance to walk through all of their options with Dr. Postol!

Invisalign vs. Braces

Most people are interested in Invisalign because it’s WAY less noticeable than braces — and you’re right. Invisalign doesn’t come with the same distracting metal brackets, wires, and bands. But there are more benefits to opting for clear aligners outside the realm of aesthetics that you should keep in mind…

They’re Customized to Your Teeth

Invisalign clear aligner trays are made using a 3D-mapping process that creates precise molds of your teeth and gently aligns them over time. The process is faster and easier than having to have metal semi-permanently fixed to your teeth, affecting your speech, and occasionally injuring the inside of your cheeks and gums!

They Have a Minimal Effect on Your Lifestyle

With braces, some of the major complaints are about how annoying it can be to not be able to eat everything you want while wearing them. This isn’t a concern with Invisalign.

Clear aligners can be removed and put back in, making it easy to eat any foods that you desire — as long as they’re good for your teeth, that is — and makes brushing and flossing easier than with braces too!

They’re More Comfortable to Wear

Any time we’re talking about moving teeth in your mouth over time, there will be some discomfort associated with the method of choice, but you’ll be happy to learn that most patients rate Invisalign higher in terms of comfort.

Since each tray is mapped out using sophisticated imaging technology, you’ll have a better fit. Many patients say that they still feel pressure from the aligners holding their teeth in place, but experienced far less soreness than with braces, especially in the beginning.

Can You Get Invisalign if You’ve Already Had Braces?

Yes! For a variety of reasons, when you have braces as a teen or young adult, your teeth may not stay aligned forever. Maybe you didn’t wear your retainer enough (a common issue) or maybe you developed a new alignment issue due to a wisdom tooth emerging after getting your braces off initially. There are any number of issues that may cause your smile to be less than perfect as an adult, even if you’ve already had braces earlier in life.

Invisalign can be a great option for adults who want an improved smile without having to go back to braces — in fact, we see them here every day!

What Should You Expect if You Want to Move Forward with Invisalign?

The first step is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Postol and his team in Ballwin, MO. We’ll make sure you’re a good candidate for Invisalign and give you a more detailed explanation of what the treatment looks like from there. Before that, though, there are a few things to know about being fitted with and wearing Invisalign or any other clear aligners.

  • The process is simple. We’ll start by taking extremely precise measurements of your teeth. After that, your custom alignment trays will be made. You’ll be instructed to wear each tray for two weeks before moving to the next one.
  • You’ll need to come in for a follow-up appointment every 4-6 weeks. During your follow-ups, we’ll confirm that the treatment is working as designed and that you’re not experiencing any unintended side effects.
  • Time estimates for Invisalign may vary. Also, it’s recommended that you wear your aligners for as much of the day as you can — otherwise, the course of correction may take longer.

The average patient completes the process between 12 and 15 months, but everyone is different! Dr. Postol and his team will provide all the information you need, personalized to your unique case, when you come in for your Invisalign consultation! Schedule an appointment today to get started.

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