The Advantages of Choosing Invisalign®

Not every person is born with a mouth full of perfectly aligned teeth, meaning that sooner or later, most of us are going to require orthodontic treatment. The standard for centuries has been the wire-and-bracket metal braces used to pull and push the teeth into the correct position,  getting many kids called “metal mouth” in the process.

At the dental office of Dr. Kiran Rapal in Saratoga, California, Dr. Rapal and her expert team understand that braces don’t sit well for everyone, especially not for adults who might be more than a bit embarrassed if they crack a smile. While there have been advances in traditional braces over the years, the revolutionary change came with the Invisalign® system, which performs much the same function as braces but is virtually invisible. Here’s what you need to know.

Alignment issues that require orthodontia

Teeth misalignments, also known as malocclusions, can lead to serious oral and overall health problems and need to be treated. Some of the most common conditions include:

Overcrowding

Not everybody’s mouth is large enough to contain all 32 permanent teeth. When that happens, the teeth crowd together, overlap one another, and/or grow in crooked, and it becomes hard to keep them clean. Most adults seeking orthodontic treatment do so for this reason.

Overbite

Your top front teeth naturally fit over your lower front teeth to some degree. With an overbite, however, the top teeth extend too far forward and can inadvertently bite down on your gums, causing injury.

Anterior crossbite (underbite)

An underbite occurs when your lower jaw protrudes forward, and your upper teeth bite down inside your lower teeth. It’s called an anterior crossbite when it affects the front teeth.

Missing teeth (hypodontia)

Teeth can be missing if they failed to develop properly, or they can be lost through decay or injury. The resulting space allows for neighboring teeth to drift inward, affecting the bite.

The function of braces

Braces of all types are designed to correct malocclusions. With traditional metal braces, the teeth are moved into position by tightening the wires over a period of anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. Because they can’t be taken in and out, compliance is 100%, but they can be painful and difficult to clean.

Modern traditional braces are more user-friendly. Though they still can’t be removed by the patient, they use smaller brackets, which means they’re less painful, and less food gets trapped between the parts. They can also be made from ceramic, meaning they’re less visible, an attractive selling point for adults.

Advantages of Invisalign

Invisalign accomplishes the same task as traditional braces, but in a totally different way. The Invisalign system uses a series of clear plastic trays, also known as “aligners,” which are custom-made to fit over your teeth. They have the major advantage of being almost invisible, so you can smile all you want without worrying that people will notice.

To start, we perform a digital scan of your teeth. This is sent to a lab which, through special software, creates 3D models of your mouth to determine how each of your teeth will need to shift to move into their proper (end) positions. The lab then fabricates the aligners out of a strong, medical-grade plastic.

During the treatment, you need to wear the aligners at least 22 hours a day, removing them only to eat (so you don’t stain them) and for brushing and flossing. Of course, you do need to clean your aligners along with your teeth.

You wear each tray for 1-2 weeks before swapping it out for the next one in the series, which will fit a little more snugly and push on your teeth a little harder so they move in the right direction. You see Dr. Rapal every six weeks or so to ensure you’re progressing according to plan. Most patients need six months to a year to complete their treatment. 

The Invisalign system has multiple advantages:

If you need orthodontia but have reservations about a mouth full of metal, we can help. Contact Dr. Rapal to learn more about Invisalign by calling the office at 408-864-7010, or by scheduling your consultation online. The solution is clear.

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