Invisalign 101

You’re already familiar with the world-class dental services we offer here at Cashmere Family Dentistry, from general care to cosmetic and restorative treatments. But did you know that we can also help straighten your smile? As Invisalign providers, we’re able to give patients in Wenatchee and the surrounding community the same beautiful results as traditional braces, but without the use of brackets, wires, and bands.

As the most popular alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign can be an excellent option for teens and adults who want orthodontic treatment that is more subtle and gives them more flexibility throughout the process. But what exactly is Invisalign, and how does it work to align your teeth and jaw? Keep reading to learn more about this exciting orthodontic treatment!

What is the Invisalign clear aligner system?

The Invisalign system uses a series of removable clear aligners to straighten your teeth and improve your overall oral health. We create these customized aligners by generating a precise 3D image of your teeth using x-rays and digital impressions. The design of these aligners is deceptively simple – though they don’t look like much more than simple plastic trays, they are constructed of a special thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to move your teeth into alignment. When they are worn as directed, Invisalign aligners have proven to be just as effective as traditional braces at treating many of the most common orthodontic issues.

How does Invisalign work?

The first step in any treatment process should be an initial consultation with an experienced dentist or orthodontist. During this first visit, one of our experienced doctors will perform a complete examination of your teeth and jaws to determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. If you are, a precise treatment plan will be mapped out for you. This plan will be customized for you based on your specific needs, preferences, and goals. It will include all the movements we want your teeth to make, an estimate of how long we expect treatment to take, and we may also be able to give you a sneak peek of what your new smile will look like!

At this point, we will begin the process of designing aligners for you using the 3D scan of your teeth and gums as our guide. Invisalign aligners are made with a special material that keeps the plastic trays smooth, comfortable, and nearly invisible. In order for the Invisalign system to work, you must wear your aligners exactly as directed by our doctors. They should be kept in for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment. Ideally, aligners will only be removed to eat, drink anything other than water, and to brush and floss. During the treatment process, we will switch you to a new set of aligners typically every 1-2 weeks. Invisalign depends on your commitment to the process to get results!

Like braces, Invisalign will straighten your teeth gradually over a period of time. We’ll check your progress in our office about every 8-12 weeks to ensure your treatment is on track. Because every case is different and every patient responds to treatment in their own way, we can’t give a one-size-fits-all answer as to how long treatment is likely to take. However, the average total treatment time generally tends to be anywhere from 9-15 months, with somewhere from 24-36 aligners used in the process.

Patient with Invisalign

What advantages does Invisalign have over traditional braces?

For most patients, the biggest benefit of Invisalign is its invisibility factor! Aside from the clear aligners, the system also has a number of other advantages, due in large part to their removability. This includes:

No food restrictions

The food restrictions that accompany braces can be a steep learning curve. To protect the brackets, wires, and bands, patients must avoid anything that is too crunchy or chewy, like popcorn, many raw fruits and veggies, and most chips, candies, and sweets. Even though the payoff is totally worth it in the end, having to forego some of your favorite foods can be frustrating. Because Invisalign aligners are a removable orthodontic appliance, you take the aligners out every time you eat, meaning you’re free to enjoy all the foods you normally would!

Easier to maintain oral hygiene

Good oral hygiene is important to every smile, but it becomes even more essential when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Braces can make this tricky by trapping food debris in all the nooks and crannies created by the brackets and wires. But with Invisalign, it couldn’t be easier to keep your teeth free of plaque and bacteria! The aligners are designed to be removed before you begin brushing and flossing, making it a cinch to maintain a great dental hygiene routine. Cleaning the aligner itself is also a simple process. There are special kits available designed specifically to clear Invisalign aligners, or they can be gently cleaned using nothing more than denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.

Convenience, flexibility, and freedom

For athletic patients who regularly participate in sports, Invisalign aligners can be especially beneficial. The aligner can be removed prior to practice or a game, and replaced with a mouthguard to keep the mouth and teeth safe. They can also be helpful for musicians, since there is nothing to get in between them and their instrument. And when it comes to one-off events like weddings, prom, and senior pictures, Invisalign aligners can be removed to allow nothing but your natural smile to shine!

Invisalign aligner in handWho is a good candidate for Invisalign?

The Invisalign system is at its most effective when treating mild to moderate cases of the most common orthodontic issues. While there are many issues that can be successfully corrected with Invisalign, some cases severe or complex enough that they require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. Our doctors will be able to determine if Invisalign would be a good fit for your specific issues, or if a more traditional orthodontic approach would be better.

Invisalign is the clear winner at Cashmere Family Dentistry

Cashmere Family Dentistry is proud to offer patients in Wenatchee, Quincy, Peshastin, Cashmere, and the surrounding Washington towns the opportunity to straighten their smile with Invisalign! Would you like to learn more about how the Invisalign clear aligner system can work for you? If so, get in touch with us today! We’d love to schedule a consultation for you so we can walk you through the process and discuss any questions or concerns you have. Your very best smile is waiting for you here!