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Everything You Need To Know About Invisalign

Invisalign bracesIf you are self-conscious about your teeth and have thought about getting them straightened, Invisalign may be the right choice for you. Invisalign has many advantages over traditional braces. The main ones are listed below:

  1. They are pretty much invisible – This means you can straighten your teeth without anyone even knowing you’re having treatment. You’re kidding? Are they really invisible? Well, if you get really close to someone, they may be able to see the aligners but anyone from a few metres away will have no idea.
  2. They are comfortable – With traditional ‘train-track’ braces there’s always a wire or bracket digging into your gum, causing soreness. With Invisalign, once they are in, you can hardly tell. In the first week, you’ll be getting used to them but after that everything becomes a lot easier.
  3. You can clean your teeth easily – Have you ever been worried about having food such as spinach stuck between your teeth after lunch for everyone to look at? Well, with traditional braces this could happen because the wires and brackets create opportunities for lots of different foods to get caught. With Invisalign, the aligners are removable and can be taken out so that you can clean your teeth as normal.
  4. They are removable – If you have a big party or a hot date, just remove your aligners. Though, to be honest, once you get used to them, you’ll always keep them in as they are so comfortable and discreet.

Does Invisalign work as well as fixed braces?

Invisalign has been around for 20 years and has gathered a massive amount of data on tooth movement during this time. The great thing about it is that it’s always improving. When we first started using Invisalign, you couldn’t do much with it and the process always used to take ages. However, we have now treated some complex cases using Invisalign and have achieved very good results; the speed is getting quicker and quicker as well.

In our experience, you will be able to fix most cases with Invisalign. For the ones that can’t, the only other option is metal braces; however, this doesn’t happen too often.

Don’t get me wrong, fixed braces are great at moving teeth but a lot of our patients want something more discreet and better looking to suit their lifestyle. They actually come to us asking for clear or invisible braces. We will generally reserve fixed braces for the most complex of malocclusions. So, to sum up, anyone can get Invisalign and it will help pretty much everyone. There are only a few cases where we would say that fixed braces might achieve a better result.

How long does it take?

This is always specific to each person. The quickest the process can take is around 3 months, the longest can be anything up to 2 years. On average, we would say that most cases are finished within a year.

How quickly can I start?

If you want to get started with Invisalign quickly, the first step is to visit us so that we can examine your teeth and ensure that they are all healthy. Once this examination has taken place, we will then take a digital scan of your teeth and will plan your case.

After a few days, we will call you so you can view your ClinCheck. This is a computer simulation that shows you how your teeth will move throughout treatment and gives you a chance to see what they will look like at the end. Once you are happy, we approve the ClinCheck and wait for Invisalign to send us the aligners. These normally take around 10 day to arrive and then we are good to go!

Can you do Invisalign on just your top teeth? Or bottom?

Yes, absolutely. You can get Invisalign for a single arch (either top or bottom) and leave the other one.

However, it generally is best to have both arches done and I will explain why. Teeth are often overlapping and crooked because you have too many teeth and not enough space for them to fit within the arch. In order to make space we can do 3 things:

  1. Remove teeth – We always want to avoid this unless we really have no other choice.
  2. IPR (Interproximal Reduction) – This involves polishing each tooth very gently to remove a small amount of tooth structure. Generally, you can only remove around 0.25mm on each side of the tooth but if you do this to 10 teeth, you end up gaining around 2.5mm which is sometimes enough to straighten the whole arch.
  3. Expanding the arch out

If you expand the arch out, you can gain a couple of mm of space. See the image on the right. The perimeter of the top image is more as it’s been expanded out.

Most of the time we will use approaches 2 and 3 and this usually creates enough space to align the teeth and give you the smile of your dreams.

So, why does this matter?

If you’re going to expand the bottom arch only, this arch may expand more than the top arch, causing your lower teeth to stick out more than the upper arch. This invariably results in poor cosmetics, especially for women.

If you are expanding out the top arch only, the upper teeth may then stick out more than the bottom teeth. Depending on how much, this can also lead to poor aesthetics. As a result, we will treat both arches most of the time.

Does this then mean that the costs will go up? The costs will go up slightly, but this increase is nowhere near double.

Is IPR (Interproximal Reduction) safe?

Yes, provided you stick within the limits. You can’t just polish as much tooth as you like to gain an unlimited amount of space. There are plenty of studies to show its completely safe.

If you are interested in straightening your teeth – give us a call on 0203 925 3846 and we’ll be happy to chat you through the options. Invisalign could be the solution you are looking for.

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