What Is Invisalign?

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Invisalign clear aligners have been around for the last 2 years. Invisalign consists of a sequence of wearing customized plastic removable appliances that are used to move teeth into a straighter position.

We used to take impressions or mouldings of the teeth but have now found better accuracy with our iTero digital scanner. The iTero does not scan your teeth with radiation but rather with light. Shelby or Natasha can complete the scan in just a few short minutes. The scan is comfortable, especially for those of us who have a sensitive gag reflex. We send this scan to Invisalign and they give us a 3-D computer model of your teeth. Dr. Aggarwal will then use your photographs, x-rays, and his expertise and experience to readjust the teeth on the computer model. After approximately 2 weeks Invisalign will produce all of the aligners at once, each designed like a relay race to move the teeth gently, safely, and predictably over the estimated time given to you by Dr. Aggarwal. Often a second or third scan is needed to create extra aligners at no additional cost to detail the position of certain teeth to achieve the best result.

What goes hand in hand with Invisalign are attachments. These are bumps of white filling material that we glue onto your front and/or back teeth. Their purpose is to add surface area for the aligner plastic to move a tooth or teeth in more than one dimension.  

We may have to do some light filing of specific teeth during your Invisalign treatment. This involves using diamond paper to slenderize the width of teeth from a tenth to half of a mm. It does not require drilling or freezing and only takes a few seconds to do. We do this when a particular tooth on the left side of your mouth is bigger than its corresponding tooth on the right side or if a lower tooth is too big for its corresponding upper tooth. We also do this if adjacent teeth are touching but there is a gum gap due to gum recession prior to orthodontics. This process helps us to create a symmetrical smile and bite.

If you have an overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, or deep bite we may also use rubber band elastics and hook them from upper to lower attachments to create a more even bite. A healthy bite is equally as important as a beautiful smile.

Aligners are given to you in sets of 8 or 12 or as otherwise directed by Dr. Aggarwal. Changing aligners every week on your own means that he would see you every 8 or 12 weeks. During each week you would wear an aligner from day to night except when eating or brushing, which translates to an ideal wear time of 22 hours per day. We will give you some chewies to help you fully seat your aligner against your teeth for maximum grip of plastic. If you have long nails, we may also give you an aligner removal tool to help you remove your aligners safely and easily. You can expect optimal results when you fully form the aligner plastic up against your teeth before proceeding to the next aligner.

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