Is Invisalign Right for You?

Invisalign® revolutionized orthodontic treatment with its introduction in 1999. Many orthodontic patients were freed from the inconvenience and discomfort of traditional bracket-and-wire braces — not to mention their unaesthetic appearance. For adults wanting to improve the alignment of their teeth, wearing braces seemed especially awkward, as they were associated with teenagers. And in today’s social media-conscious society, even teens tend to consider old-school braces clunky and unacceptable.

NK Family Dental offers both Invisalign and traditional braces in our orthodontics services, and is always ready to provide the facts about each, so you can make an informed decision about which is better for your expectations, lifestyle and budget. It’s also helpful to have this knowledge before your consultation in order to have a good overall understanding of Invisalign’s benefits and limitations.

What is Invisalign?

Although most people are generally familiar with Invisalign, it is basically a teeth-straightening system that involves a series of custom-made, transparent, BPA-free plastic aligners that fit over your teeth and gradually shift them into their desired positions. The orthodontist first scans your teeth and gums with a specialty scanner to create a 3D model, then fashions custom aligners. These aligners apply gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into alignment. Approximately every two weeks, the current aligner is replaced with a new one. Each new aligner will slightly adjust the positioning of your teeth until the final outcome is achieved.

The Advantages of Invisalign

The main advantage to patients is that the aligner is transparent, allowing it to be worn undetectably. It also is thin and smooth, which makes it comfortable to wear — as opposed to the brackets and wires of braces.

Other advantages include the following:

Aligners are removable — The aligners are easy to slide off and on, and can be removed while eating, brushing your teeth and sleeping. This eliminates the numerous food restrictions imposed on those who wear metal braces, as many types of food can get stuck in the brackets. Maintaining oral hygiene is also easier without braces preventing proper reach with a toothbrush and floss to remove food particles.

Aligners cause less pain and discomfort than braces — Many patients will still experience some soreness as their teeth shift, but they will not experience the tissue injury associated with traditional braces. With less abrasive contact, there is less risk of bruising or irritation.

Aligners don’t require adjustments — Instead of scheduling appointments with the orthodontist to have traditional braces adjusted, Invisalign aligners are changed every two weeks, and office visits are every four to six weeks. No muss, no fuss, no uncomfortable adjustments!

Who is – and is Not – a Good Candidate for Invisalign Treatment

The ideal candidate for Invisalign is one whose full set of adult teeth has emerged, is responsible enough to manage the requirements of care to ensure a good outcome, and whose orthodontic treatment needs are fairly straightforward. For example:

  •       Misaligned teeth
  •       Gaps between teeth
  •       Crowded teeth 
  •       Crossbite
  •       Overbite
  •       Open bite
  •       Underbite

As attractive an option as Invisalign is to straighten teeth, not everyone is a good candidate. Crosby Family Dental lists the following situations for which Invisalign isn’t recommended:

Severely rotated teeth: Teeth that are rotated from the normal position more than 20 degrees including the molars and lower eyeteeth.

Severely tipped teeth: Teeth that are angled more than 45 degrees from the normal ones.

Huge spaces between teeth: It includes all tooth gaps combined total more than 6mm per arch.

Other issues include severe deep overbite, skeletally-based malocclusion, open bites and other cases where the extraction of teeth is required.

There is another factor that makes some people a poor candidate for Invisalign, and that is psychological. Before considering Invisalign, consider your ability to commit to the self-discipline of staying on schedule for wearing the aligners. If fitting them back in your mouth after eating, brushing or getting up in the morning slips your mind too often — or if you think you can just wear them when you feel like it — they can’t do their work. Consistency is crucial to getting results.

Moreover, although the aligner is replaced every two weeks, it needs to be properly cared for. Clean your aligners by brushing and rinsing them in lukewarm water and using Invisalign’s own branded cleaning system or special cleaning tablets. It’s important that you brush your teeth after every meal before re-inserting your aligners to maintain good oral hygiene. 

The Risks of Online Teeth Aligners

You’ve probably seen TV commercials and online ads for online teeth aligners — also known as mail-order teeth aligners. Such products promote convenience and low cost as advantages, since they sell directly to consumers.

But while Invisalign and similar brands require a visit to a participating licensed orthodontist for in-office treatment, direct-to-consumer companies take a different approach — and not a good one. The American Dental Association (ADA) and The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) caution against using online companies, issuing statements that realigning teeth is a medical procedure and needs to be directly supervised by a trained medical professional — emphasizing that improper treatment can result in the loss of teeth and costly dental complications.

Our blog post — “Are Online Teeth Aligners Safe?” — gives this important topic the in-depth coverage it deserves. We encourage you to read the entire post. We quote at length a blog post by Laster Orthodontics of Rolesville, NC, which summarizes the risks of ordering aligners online without having seen a dentist or orthodontist in person, and taking dental impressions with an at-home kit to be mailed to the aligner provider.

“Another danger of mail order aligners is the lack of supervision during treatment. When you are treated with clear aligner therapy in an orthodontist’s office, they require routine appointments to make sure your teeth are moving at the safest, most efficient rate. An orthodontist will adjust your treatment plan as needed along the way, but you won’t get this when you go with DIY, home aligners. 

“With mail order aligners, teeth may move slower or faster than anticipated. You may develop gum disease or cavities during your treatment, with no orthodontist or dentist being able to treat you because they can’t see your teeth. These are both real concerns that a lack of supervision during orthodontic treatment brings to light. I see daily pictures of patients’ teeth that were damaged, and bite ruined by poorly designed mail order aligners that were done at home with no supervision. I would suggest to anyone that no treatment is much safer than unsupervised treatment.”

The Take-Home Message

Invisalign is a great option for those who are appropriate candidates, offering convenience and optimum aesthetic benefits — which will continue to improve as your treatment concludes, and you can finally show the world your perfect smile!

As mentioned earlier, NK Family Dental is proud to represent Invisalign as our clear aligner brand. It is the most advanced aligner in the industry, and has produced outstanding results for millions of patients. Our blog post — “10 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Invisalign” — is a good introduction to what to expect during treatment. We also offer traditional braces for teenagers and adults.

It is our mission to provide the highest quality and most compassionate oral care to our Chicago patients, including both dental and periodontal services. Our practice is trusted for advanced oral surgery procedures and comfortable root canal treatment.

Our team of experienced, dedicated dental professionals will help address your oral health concerns, and determine the best solution for you based on your individual situation. We strive to identify treatment options that fit your needs.

Our dental specialists include our general dentist, Dr. Nilofer Khan, our endodontist, Dr. Sabek, and our periodontist, Dr. Amir Danesh. Dr. Danesh is a board-certified periodontist and Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology. He has contributed to the publication of two books, as well as published over 20 papers in prestigious dental research journals.

We serve the neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Wicker Park with the dedication that’s earned us the reputation as the Best Dentist in Chicago!

We understand that the main concern you may have is cost, which is why we accept all major PPO plans for dental insurance and also offer our in-house dental plan. Please see our financing page for more information.

Schedule your visit through ZocDoc, or contact us directly. We look forward to treating you soon!

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