In the past, if you needed orthodontia, you were stuck with a mouth full of wires, metal brackets, and rubber bands for a few years. Braces often made people, especially adults, self-conscious about their appearance and unwilling to smile as a result. They were also painful and difficult to clean.
Then, in 1998, the US FDA approved Invisalign®, a revolutionary new form of orthodontia that uses clear, almost invisible aligners instead of the traditional flashy metal. And they can handle most mild to moderate dental issues that regular braces treat.
At the dental office of Dr. William M. Schneider in Walnut Creek, California, we’re proud to offer Invisalign to our patients needing orthodontic work. It’s a noninvasive and aesthetically pleasing treatment that also offers a number of dental health benefits. Here’s what you need to know.
Reasons for orthodontic treatment
Orthodontia is used to correct malocclusions, or problems with your bite. Examples include:
When your teeth are crowded together, it makes it hard for you to brush and floss thoroughly and effectively. As a result, bacteria, plaque, and tartar can easily build up where you can’t reach; over time, these can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Also referred to as a “deep bite,” an overbite occurs when your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth more than is healthy for your jaw. Dentists express an overbite as a percentage — 5% to 25% overlap is ideal. Overbites can lead to issues from tooth erosion to pain in your jaw.
When your top teeth rest behind your bottom teeth, and your jaw juts forward, it’s called an underbite. This condition makes it difficult to chew properly and even to speak clearly since the tongue needs to touch the upper teeth when you talk.
Like overbites, underbites can also cause your teeth to wear down more quickly.
A crossbite, when some teeth overlap and others rest behind, can lead to teeth wear and chipping. Your gums may also start to recede, and your teeth can rub marks into the tissue above your gum line. The resulting damage can lead to painful gums or even bone loss.
Gaps between your teeth create pockets where food can get stuck, and where it may be difficult to clean efficiently. Untreated, it can lead to gum disease.
The dental benefits of Invisalign
Invisalign is an orthodontic option that uses a system of clear plastic aligners, also called trays. The trays are made of a clear plastic — a patented thermoplastic known as SmartTrack®, created exclusively for the dental aligners.
The aligners are flexible but strong enough to put pressure on your teeth to move them gradually to their proper positions.
You get a new set of aligners every two weeks, with each just a little tighter than the one before. The entire process should take only 6-18 months, making it more efficient than metal braces, which can take 18 months to three years
The Invisalign aligners come with a number of dental health benefits:
First, you can take them out when you eat and drink, brush and floss, and clean them. You don’t run the risk of staining them, and you can eat whatever you want without food getting caught in the mechanism.
It also means you can properly take care of your teeth — and your aligners — during the process, solving the cleaning problem.
You have to wear the aligners about 20 hours a day for them to be effective, which means you need to be responsible about putting them back in after eating or cleaning.
Second, the plastic has no sharp edges, meaning the trays won’t cut your lips and cheeks every time you open or close your mouth.
Third, you won’t have the problem of wires and brackets snapping, further hurting your mouth and requiring you to run to the dentist for repair every time it happens.
And last, you can smile with confidence, knowing that almost no one can tell you’re wearing the trays. That’s great motivation to stay with the program and ensure you maintain an effective dental health regimen.
If you want to learn more about Invisalign and see if you’re a good candidate for the process, give Dr. Schneider’s office a call at 925-935-2700, or book your consultation online. Your mouth will thank you.