You’d likely be hard-pressed to find anyone among us who doesn’t desire a healthy, straight smile. However, for one reason or another, many people end up with misaligned or crooked teeth, which can be a problem for overall oral health as well as a knock to their self-confidence. Fortunately, a wide variety of orthodontic treatments are now available for those struggling with a less than stellar smile, from traditional metal braces to tooth-colored ceramics to the Invisalign clear aligner system.
If you’re in the Wichita area and have been looking into options for a straighter smile, Invisalign is a revolutionary orthodontic therapy that we’re proud to offer here at Dillehay Orthodontics. Developed for patients who require more straightforward correction, this system is growing daily in popularity. But how does it work? And just as importantly, how long does it take to work? Let’s take a look!
Understanding Your Wichita Invisalign treatment procedure
First things first: Invisalign involves a series of removable, plastic aligners that are designed to be worn incrementally in sequence. Sound complicated? It’s actually a fairly simple process! It will typically begin with your orthodontist creating a customized profile and treatment plan for you. This usually includes doing one or more of the following:
- Taking x-rays
- Creating a bite registration
- Taking one or more impressions of your gums and teeth
- Determining if you are a good candidate for Invisalign treatment
- Completing a written evaluation
Assuming you’re a good fit for Invisalign, the mold of your teeth and gums will be scanned to develop a 3D computerized model of your aligners. This model will help your orthodontist determine the desired location to which your teeth should be moved. In most cases, each misaligned tooth will need to be moved in stages. Depending on your particular case, you may need anywhere from 6-48 aligners throughout the course of treatment. This number does vary significantly from one individual to the next, and depends on multiple factors, such as the severity of the misalignment being treated, and the overall condition of the teeth and gums.
Each aligner usually moves the person’s teeth approximately .26 to .33 millimeters before it is time to begin using the next aligning device in the sequence. In layman’s terms, this means you’ll be expected to change your aligners out every 1-2 weeks.
The patient’s role and responsibilities
Obviously, any orthodontic treatment is going to require an assessment by and the expertise of a qualified orthodontist. But Invisalign is unique in that it assumes a certain amount of patient compliance and responsibility. In order to get optimal results, you’ll need to commit fully to following the customized plan outlined by your orthodontist for you, and wear your aligners exactly as directed.
Although the duration of Invisalign treatment will vary from patient to patient, each aligner will need to be worn for around 20-22 hours a day, every day throughout the process. Although the aligners can be removed for short periods of time occasionally, you’ll typically only remove them when eating or drinking (if it’s anything other than water), or when you’re brushing and flossing. Failure to follow this routine can affect your entire treatment plan negatively, including extending the overall time you’ll need to wear aligners. This is why it’s essential to keep all aligners in place exactly as directed!
So….how long does Invisalign take?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The treatment time for Invisalign can be between about nine and eighteen months, with some extreme cases taking longer and simpler cases taking as little as a few months. Twelve to thirteen months is the average. As mentioned, the overall treatment time for Invisalign will depend partially on your specific dental issues and partially on you following your orthodontist’s recommendations.
Dillehay Orthodontics has a committed, experienced orthodontics team that will monitor your Invisalign treatment every step of the way to make sure everything is going smoothly and that your results are exactly what you’ve been hoping for. Before we begin the process, we’ll be able to tell you approximately how long your treatment will take, and if there are any changes to this timeline, we’ll let you know immediately. You’ll be visiting one of our offices every four to eight weeks in order to track your progress, so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to make sure things are moving along at the pace we’re expecting!
Although traditional treatment with metal braces has come a long way in recent years in terms of appearance and comfort, many patients with misaligned teeth are still hesitant to choose them. Invisalign has an advantage here, as the aligners are transparent, making treatment an almost invisible process! This can be a big deal for our teen and adult patients.
Invisalign aligners also have far less restrictions than other orthodontic treatments. There are no foods to avoid, dental hygiene is far easier to maintain, and playing sports or music is simpler and safer. Because the trays are based on a mold of your gums and teeth, they offer a comfortable, snug fit, and are made of a smooth plastic with no irritating brackets or wires. This eliminates the gum, cheek, and overall mouth discomfort you often experience with traditional braces. After an initial adjustment period, Invisalign aligners can hardly be felt when worn.
Dillehay Orthodontics and Invisalign in Wichita
Given the advantages and benefits of the Invisalign system, it’s no wonder it’s one of our most popular treatment options with teens and adults! With three conveniently located offices in East and West Wichita and Derby, as well as satellite offices in Arkansas City and Pratt, we’re perfectly positioned to meet all your orthodontic needs.
As certified Invisalign providers, we have the knowledge and experience to answer any questions or concerns you might have about the process, and would love to schedule a consultation with you to chat about your options. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Invisalign, or find out if you’re a good candidate for this treatment, get in touch with us today to set up an appointment.
We can’t wait to help you work toward the smile of your dreams!