Traditional metal braces aren’t for everyone. Some teen and adult patients prefer a more toned down look where they don’t have visible “hardware” on their teeth. For those patients, our Grand Rapids orthodontist recommends Invisalign® aligners, a nearly invisible orthodontic alternative to regular braces.
Invisalign consists of a set of thin clear aligners designed to be worn over the top and bottom teeth. If chosen by a patient, Dr. Miller will provide multiple sets of aligners to be worn over the course of their planned treatment.
Much like how metal braces work, each set of aligners in a complete series applies controlled force to teeth that will gradually straighten your smile and fix bite issues over time. The main difference with Invisalign, however, is the absence of any wires, brackets, or elastics.
On average, desired results can be achieved in 12-18 months but this timeframe entirely depends on your individual situation. For example, patients with minor crowding and no bite problems may need 6 months to correct their smile while others may need a year or so.
You may have heard that with traditional metal braces there are rules regarding what you can and can’t eat. Generally, foods that are chewy, sticky, or crunchy are best avoided when you have brackets or wires that could become damaged.
With Invisalign, the aligners are removable and there are no breakable metal components. Because of this, you can comfortably eat foods like popcorn, caramel, and corn on the cob without worry. After eating, it’s important to remember that Dr. Miller will want you to clean your teeth and mouth as best as you can to prevent any staining of the aligners once they’re put back on.
With no wires or brackets partially blocking your access to teeth, tasks like brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily are much easier to accomplish. Getting in between each tooth to remove left behind food particles and plaque will also reduce your chances of developing any unwanted cavities.
Along with your teeth, your clear aligners will also need to be cleaned at least twice a day to prevent them from accumulating bacteria or staining. Dr. Miller recommends you try gently brushing and rinsing them off at the same time you are cleaning your teeth so it’s easy to remember.
Are you embarrassed about braces showing in your graduation photos or distracting those listening to your presentation at work? Invisalign clear aligners do not stand out like metal braces do and most people won’t notice them unless they’re viewed up close.
This means you can confidently smile during your entire treatment and never feel like you have to hide your teeth as they’re being straightened. Keep in mind that Dr. Miller wants you to wear your aligners for about 22 hours a day to ensure you remain on track and make progress as detailed in your treatment plan.
Many patients enjoy the level of control they have with Invisalign. For example, when you need your braces adjusted, you have to visit our Grand Rapids orthodontics office. With clear aligners, all you need to do at the end of a treatment stage is to proceed to the next aligner set in the series.
Dr. Miller will want you to still come in periodically to monitor the alignment of your teeth. We’ll let you know of an appropriate appointment schedule based on your individual needs. Of course, you can also give our office a call anytime you have a treatment related question.
Another benefit to choosing Invisalign is that no repairs or adjustments are needed in the same way as with other types of braces. When instructed by Dr. Miller, you’ll simply put in the next set of aligners after a predetermined amount of time and continue on with treatment.
We will check to see if you’re wearing your aligners on schedule, however. If you are removing them too much and not keeping them in place as recommended, it can lead to corrections being made which delays your overall progress.
If you’re interested in getting started with clear aligners, our Invisalign orthodontist in Grand Rapids, MI, can talk with you about whether they fit with your orthodontic needs. Call Miller Orthodontics at (616) 942-9320 today or contact us online to request an appointment.
This blog post has been updated.