If you’ve been looking into orthodontic options to straighten your teeth, chances are you’ve come across Invisalign. Invisalign has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional braces because it is effective and doesn’t require brackets or wires. Because we are a comprehensive cosmetic and restorative family dental practice in Nashua, New Hampshire, we are very familiar with the process of Invisalign treatment and are happy to share it with our patients, so they can make an informed decision about their orthodontic treatment.
Step One: Choosing the right treatment
The first thing to determine is, “Would Invisalign treatment be right for me?”
While Invisalign treatment is quite versatile at handling a wide variety of orthodontic issues, it is not the right choice for every patient. The best thing to do is begin by scheduling a consultation appointment at our office where we can determine if you are a suitable candidate for Invisalign treatment. In general, Invisalign can treat many cases of mild to moderate malocclusion and misalignment for both adults and teens.
Once we determine that Invisalign is the right solution for you, we will create some dental records, which include digital photographs, x-rays, and impressions.
Step Two: Custom-made trays
Each set of Invisalign aligner trays is unique to the individual receiving treatment. We send your dental records to an Invisalign laboratory along with detailed instructions on how we want the teeth to move. Technicians will use your impressions to create a digital model of your teeth along with step by step movement into the final position. Before the trays are made we will review this movement to ensure the results are what we want.
Once we are happy with the digital models, the custom aligners can be made and sent to the office. The time it takes for us to receive your trays after the impressions are taken is usually about 3-4 weeks. You are now ready to begin treatment.
Step Three: How to wear your aligners
Each set of Invisalign aligner trays is made to be worn for two weeks. The trays are designed so that each set moves the teeth slightly closer to ideal alignment. When you put on a new set of trays you will notice that the spaces for your teeth are a little bit straighter than your teeth. This may cause the trays to feel slightly snug at first, which is completely normal. Over the two-week period, your teeth will move so that they line up with the tray.
While the removability of the aligner trays is a major benefit of Invisalign treatment, it’s important to know that compliance is one of the biggest factors in successfully straightening your teeth. We will advise you to wear your aligners an average of 20-22 hours each day to achieve the best results. Trays can be removed for eating and to allow patients to brush and floss their teeth. You can also gently clean the aligners with a soft toothbrush every time you brush your teeth.
Step Four: After treatment is completed
In some cases, you will finish with your full set of aligner trays and still have a few teeth that aren’t properly positioned. This is a normal occurrence and is a straightforward fix. If this happens to you, we will simply take a new set of impressions and have a few more sets of trays made to finish treatment. Many Invisalign patients require a set or two of refinement trays.
After you are completely done with the trays you will need to wear a retainer to prevent teeth from moving out of proper alignment. You can choose from a removable retainer like the Invisalign trays or a permanent retainer. Our team can help you decide which retainer is best for you. For the first few months after treatment you will need to wear the retainer close to full time. After that, you can switch to wearing it only during the evenings.