Long gone are the days of having to wear metal brackets and wires, the dreaded headgear, food restrictions, painful mouth cuts and abrasions, difficulty in oral hygiene, and bearing the nickname “metal mouth” for years. Say hello to more smiles, better diets, and cleaner, healthier teeth and gums, for about half the time that metal braces require. Invisalign® is the newest breakthrough in orthodontic care and is offered here at Brodie Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
How Fast Does Invisalign® Work?
Your orthodontist will begin with a 3D digital scan of your teeth to ensure accuracy, using the iTero® Element scanner. This process can be completed in as little as 60 seconds – which is must faster than the old days of multiple x-rays. Digital software is then utilized to map & predict shifting of your teeth into their correct positions for that perfect alignment and smile, providing an immediate projection of the corrected alignment of your teeth.
This technology allows you to see your future perfect smile immediately. This simulation can even be emailed to the patient for additional motivation and for tracking the progress of the entire process. The custom aligners are then molded with a clear material called SmartTrack® using a state-of-the-art printing process, for quicker results.
Each set of aligners is tailor trimmed with precision, for a result that looks and feels great. This process is much faster than the traditional moldings, which often had to be tweaked or recast. Any necessary corrections can be made at your next visit. However, with the precision of the iTero Element® 3D scanner and digital software, corrections are rarely needed.
The Speedy Process
This correction process takes place over a number of weeks or months and gradually shifts your teeth into the position that was originally mapped out using the digital mapping software. A new set of aligners are used every 1-2 weeks, depending on how quickly your teeth respond to movement and shifting. Each set of aligners can move your teeth up to .33 millimeters before requiring the next set of aligners.
In most cases, a new batch of aligners will be provided at each visit, lasting approximately 6-8 weeks. Depending on the severity of your case, however, you may be required to visit your orthodontist for each new set of tray aligners, at least in the initial part of the process. Each set of aligners will be discarded after their time limit—to be followed up with the next set of alignment trays.
Traditional metal braces take an average of two years for correction, whereas clear aligners can yield the same results in almost half that time! Some cases may only take about six months for correction. Each new set of alignment trays will take you one step closer to your final corrected alignment, for that perfect smile.
Speeding Things Up Even More
To speed up the process, SmartForce® attachments can be utilized. These are tiny little tooth-colored shapes, referred to as handles, that are placed in specific areas on the tooth to assist in correcting the tooth alignment. They are barely noticeable, especially when worn underneath the clear aligners.
They work by giving the aligners something to push on for additional guidance. However, these are not always necessary for every case. A new smart technological app provided by both iOS and Android can also be used to assist in monitoring the movement of your teeth.
This smartphone app is used to scan your teeth to determine the appropriate time for moving on to your next level of alignment trays. The information is obviously sent to, monitored, and determined by your orthodontist, of course, and compared with the digital software impressions taken at your initial visit. This process can speed things along drastically, especially if your teeth respond quickly to the aligners.
Treatable Case Timelines
It has been estimated that around 65% of adults in the United States have some type of misalignment of their teeth or an irregular bite. Some of these adults may have even worn braces during their youth but discontinued wearing their retainers at some point, causing their teeth to return to their original position.
Clear aligners can effectively correct mild, moderate, and sometimes even the most severe cases with ease and comfort, often much sooner than traditional metal braces, though additional attachments or devices may be necessary for these more severe cases. The following are ideal treatable cases for Invisalign clear aligners:
This condition is due to either the mouth being too small for the teeth or the teeth being too large for the gum line.
In either case, these are easily corrected with clear aligners, often as early as six months. Of course, the more severe the crowding is, the longer the process could take.
Gaps between teeth are usually caused by small teeth, comparable in size to the jawbone. There are other factors that can cause gaps, such as gum anomalies or tissue overgrowth.
Just as in crowded teeth, gaps in teeth can be anywhere from small to wide. One patient may have multiple gaps in their teeth, whereas another patient may only have one or two.
Obviously, the more severe the gaps are, the longer the process could take. Small gaps can be corrected in as little as eight weeks, whereas large, multiple gaps could possibly take up to 12-18 months.
As with crowded or gapped teeth, the duration it takes varies, depending on how severely the teeth are misaligned.
For minimal misalignment, the process could be as short as six months. For severely misaligned teeth, it could possibly take up to 18-24 months, depending on age and other factors.
More Severe Cases
Invisalign trays can also be used for other anomalies such as an openbite, overbite (also known as a deep bite), underbite, crossbite, or for baby and permanent teeth combinations.
These types of cases can often be more severe and may require a longer duration of treatment, in addition to other forms of treatment and/or possible surgery. However, the process time will still tend to be shorter than with metal braces.
Factors Affecting Treatment Time
Just as children heal faster than adults, age is a big factor in how fast the teeth can be moved. Typically, the older the patient, the longer the process could take.
Teens and pre-teens can often be in and out of clear aligners in as little as six months, whereas, it may take older adults one year, or possibly two for more severe cases, for complete re-alignment. For most cases, however, results can be seen within several weeks to several months.
It’s All in the Genes
As we are all aware, our genes are the individual signature that make each of us unique. Just as no two fingerprints are alike – no two mouths are alike. Although age is usually a telltale factor in how quickly the treatment process will take, it is not written in stone.
Some individuals’ teeth simply move faster than others, without an easy-to-explain reason – it just simply is.
The guidelines written here are simply just that – guidelines. There simply is no way to predict the treatment timeline for any one individual one hundred percent, but we can usually get within the average ballpark range.
As with most anything, consistency rules! Most can recall their teachers, coaches, or music instructors telling them, “Practice makes perfect.” Suffice it to say, the same rule applies here. If the patient is not willing to wear their clear aligners at least 22 hours per day, then results will take longer.
Results may not happen at all, depending on the amount of time the aligners remain out of the patient’s mouth.
Compliance can be a real problem with teenagers and pre-teens. To help parents eliminate this situation, a new technology called blue compliance indicator dots can be utilized, to help determine and ensure they are wearing them for an appropriate amount of time.
Ways to Decrease Duration of Treatment
Let’s look at a few ways that could possibly decrease the amount of time you have to wear your clear aligners. One of the most obvious ways is to wear them at least 22 hours per day, as mentioned above. If constantly being removed during the day, the teeth are not as nearly responsive, allowing them time to revert to their original position. They should only be removed for eating, oral hygiene care, and for a short span of events, such as playing contact sports.
Another thing to consider is proper care of your alignment trays. Keeping them clean and in a safe place when not in use is important. If treated properly, they will last for their allotted time and will not need to be replaced. Replacement trays can add days, if not weeks, to your treatment time.
Frequent visits to your orthodontist for check-ups and/or using the monitoring app from your smartphone can also speed up the process time by moving into your next set of alignment trays as early as possible, without wasting needless days wearing your current trays. Lastly, follow any additional advice or guidelines provided by your orthodontist, for faster and optimal results.
Temporal Benefits of Using Clear Aligners
Wearing braces can often be detrimental to patients, especially to children and teenagers. Teasing and bullying are often a result of wearing metal braces, particularly when headgear is also required. Since the duration of wearing clear aligners is much shorter than traditional braces, this will affect the patient’s self-esteem to a lesser degree and for a decreased amount of time. This is a huge benefit for the patient, with a reduced overall impact on their personal life.
Fewer trips to your orthodontist may be another temporal benefit. Since your aligners will most likely be dispensed in batches, there is no need for repeated trips to your orthodontist’s office for corrections every 1-2 weeks.
In addition, there are fewer, if any, emergency visits for broken brackets or wires. This is a huge convenience for most people, saving time, gas, and money. It often takes time to repair braces, which cuts into the correction process time. Fewer repairs simply mean faster correction time for your teeth. On average, clear aligners can cut the time of treatment by almost half, compared to the traditional treatment of metal braces.
Begin Your New Smile Today!
If you’ve found yourself refraining from smiling or avoiding pictures and social interactions due to misaligned teeth or bite anomalies, there’s no need to suffer anymore. Join the millions who have benefited from the ease and comfort of Invisalign’s innovative technology. Call us today at Brodie Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach, FL, to learn more or to book your initial consultation. You could be wearing your beautiful new smile sooner than you realize. We look forward to serving you.