Traditional braces have undergone major transformations in recent years. Gone are the days of bulky braces that draw attention to your mouth, replaced instead with discreet brackets that are smaller and more aesthetically pleasing than ever. While today’s braces are less noticeable than they’ve ever been, many patients are still unsure about using them to achieve their perfect smile. If that’s a sentiment you can relate to, I’ve got great news – there’s another option available for aligning your teeth and improving your oral health!
Here at Windy City Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer Invisalign clear aligner therapy as an alternative to traditional braces. This innovative system in many cases gives patients the same beautiful, long-lasting results as braces without having to use any brackets, wires, or bands! Unlike braces, which have a long history of successful use within the field of orthodontics, Invisalign has only been around for about twenty years. That means lots of people are still unaware of what Invisalign actually is, and what aligners can do to correct orthodontic issues. To learn more about exactly what you can expect from a well-trained orthodontist using the Invisalign system, keep reading below!
What is Invisalign?
Even though Invisalign clear aligners have been around since the late 1990’s, similar trays had been used for decades before that as post-treatment retainers. Invisalign uses unique software and technology to move crooked and misaligned teeth in stages using nothing more than a series of customized aligners. At the end of each stage, patients replace their current aligner with the next in the series to keep up with the movement of the teeth. This will usually be every 1-2 weeks, but the exact time frame depends on each patient’s customized treatment plan.
In its earlier days, Invisalign was used only for simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. Once orthodontists began to realize its potential, however, the aligners were redesigned to efficiently move teeth in most mild to moderate cases. When patients are fully compliant, Invisalign aligners can be just as effective as traditional braces. The 7 million patients who have been treated with Invisalign all over the world are all the proof you need!
Does Invisalign treatment take longer than braces?
Any orthodontic treatment requires a commitment from the patient in order to be effective. With Invisalign, this compliance is even more important than usual! That’s because the aligners are removable orthodontic appliances. Traditional braces are fixed to the actual surface of the teeth, so most of the hard work is done without too much on the patient’s part. But Invisalign aligners are removable, so the patient is responsible for wearing them as directed, which is 20-22 hours a day throughout the course of treatment. Patients who neglect to do so won’t see the results they desire, and may face longer treatment times in general.
The most common question we’re asked is how long a patient will need orthodontic treatment, but the truth is, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to that. Every case is unique and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. In general, however, most people will wear Invisalign aligners for anywhere from 10–15 months,. This is actually slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!
Does Invisalign cost more than braces?
There are several factors associated with the overall cost of any orthodontic treatment, but comparatively speaking, Invisalign tends to cost about the same as traditional braces.
We are committed to providing high-quality, affordable orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Chicago and the surrounding communities. We offer interest-free payment plans, and also accept payment through third-party financing companies. In addition, we’ll file claims on your behalf if you have dental insurance that covers orthodontics. A better smile is always in the budget with Windy City Orthodontics!
What advantages does Invisalign have over traditional braces?
Invisalign gives patients more freedom and flexibility than traditional treatment methods do. Food restrictions are a perfect example of this. For many patients, one of the toughest parts of treatment is having to give up some of their favorite foods to keep their braces safe. They must avoid anything crunchy or chewy, which may eliminate several of your favorite foods and snacks. With Invisalign, this isn’t an issue! The aligners are simply taken out before eating, then put back in when the patient is done. Not having any food restrictions makes the treatment process a lot more fun!
Removable aligners also make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing around wires, brackets, and bands can be frustrating and time-consuming, but Invisalign aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Caring for the aligners themselves is a breeze, too! There are special kits designed especially for Invisalign, or they can be gently brushed using a soft toothbrush.
Without any wires or brackets to get in the way, Invisalign’s removable aligners are great for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. And since they can be removed for short periods of time, they’re also perfect for any special event when a patient wants their natural smile to shine through, such as prom, weddings, or even senior pictures.
Is Invisalign recommended for everyone?
Invisalign tends to work best for teen and adult patients who already have all their permanent teeth. While it can be used for almost all patients, it’s most efficient when used to correct mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Complex or severe cases may require more treatment flexibility or precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. When you schedule your complimentary consultation, we’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you, or if you would be better served by a more traditional method of treatment. In many cases, patients are able to choose between braces and Invisalign aligners!
What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?
Whatever method of orthodontic treatment a patient chooses, the teeth always remember their previous places in the mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if nothing is there to stop them. That’s why retainers are an essential part of achieving long-lasting results and are included with every treatment plan! Our office will provide you with a retainer once your treatment is complete. Wearing this retainer exactly as directed in your treatment program will help keep your newly straightened smile in place for years to come!
Find the perfect smile for you at Windy City Orthodontics
As our most popular alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign’s innovative aligner system continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment. To learn more about the incredible things we can do for your smile with Invisalign, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation!