What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is the brand name of a set of clear plastic retainers that place continuous pressure on your teeth to straighten and align them. It is popular with patients of all ages because it allows them to disguise their orthodontic treatment. Adults who never had the opportunity to have their alignment issues corrected earlier in life appreciate the opportunity to undergo treatment with Invisalign. They don’t attract unwanted attention because Invisalign doesn’t require wearing metal brackets and wires commonly associated with teenagers.
In addition to being unobtrusive and comfortable, Invisalign retainers are easy to remove. You can take them out when you eat, brush, or floss and put them in their case. However, you should minimize taking them out at other times. This includes overnight while you’re sleeping. The designers of Invisalign recommend that patients wear the aligners 20 to 22 hours per day for the entire duration of their treatment.
Dr. Monica Neely is an experienced dentist and a preferred Invisalign provider in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She has completed extensive training beyond dental school to ensure the highest quality of care for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment with Invisalign. She enjoys working with patients throughout their treatment and finds it personally satisfying to see their confidence increase with each appointment. No matter what your age, it is not too late to straighten or align your teeth with Invisalign.
How Does Treatment with Invisalign Work?
If you’re interested in correcting your crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth with orthodontic treatment, the first step is to schedule a consultation at Monica Neely Dentistry. Dr. Neely will perform an initial evaluation and let you know if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign. She will also explain the process in detail and answer any questions you still have about it.
Both Invisalign and traditional metal braces serve the same purpose of putting continuous pressure on your teeth until they move into the desired position. The difference is that traditional orthodontic treatment uses brackets and wires to move your teeth. Invisalign uses a series of alignment retainers that Dr. Neely prepares for you based on her initial assessment and goals for your treatment.
Once you have decided to pursue orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, Dr. Neely uses three-dimensional (3D) technology along with X-rays to understand the current positioning of your teeth and the problems you are experiencing. She uses this information to plan the progression of the movement of your teeth into their desired position.
The next step in the process is for our laboratory technicians to create customized aligners, also known as invisible retainers, for your mouth. You wear each retainer for approximately two weeks before switching it out for the next one. Every aligner you wear puts slight pressure on your teeth so they gradually move into the correct position. We design each aligner with your specific treatment goals in mind. When you get to your last aligner, Dr. Neely will inspect your teeth to ensure the positioning is exactly where it should be.
The Benefits of Invisalign Compared to Traditional Metal Braces
Both Invisalign and traditional metal braces put pressure on your teeth to cause them to move. The goals of treatment are also the same. These include giving you a more attractive smile and improving your oral health. However, Invisalign offers several benefits that you just won’t find with typical braces. Here are several of them:
The clear plastic aligners make it possible for you to undergo orthodontic treatment without anyone knowing about it. People may be able to see the retainers up close, but otherwise you don’t have to share the fact that you’re having your teeth straightened if you don’t want to. It is impossible to disguise your treatment with metal braces. This benefit is especially important for adult patients who don’t want to look like a teenager. Those in a professional, image-conscious profession can especially benefit from Invisalign.
You can easily remove Invisalign retainers from your mouth to eat, brush your teeth, and floss. You don’t have to worry about food particles getting trapped in wires or limit what you can eat for fear of damaging brackets and wires like you do with traditional braces.
Invisalign retainers are made from soft materials and are extremely comfortable to wear. With braces, you need to visit the orthodontist every month to have them tightened. The tightening process can be quite uncomfortable as well as make it painful to eat for a few days.
Treatment time averages nine to 15 months with Invisalign compared to 24 months with traditional metal braces.
You only need to return to Dr. Neely’s office approximately every six weeks to monitor your progress compared to monthly with standard braces.
Wires and brackets can cause mouth irritation and make it difficult to keep your teeth clean. That is never an issue with Invisalign since you can remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth.
Why It is Important for Your Teeth to Be Properly Aligned
It is in your best interest for your teeth to be properly aligned, no matter which type of orthodontic treatment you choose. You can expect to enjoy these benefits at the end of your treatment:
It is much easier to brush and floss your teeth when they are properly aligned. Crooked or misaligned teeth decay easier because it is more challenging to remove plaque and bacteria from them.
Orthodontic treatment restores your mouth to full functionality. When you have a misaligned bite, you can experience grinding, wearing down of your teeth, chewing difficulties, jaw pain, and other issues with your teeth, jaws, gums, and mouth.
Gum disease is more prevalent in people with misaligned teeth. That is because keeping the gums clean is more challenging. Left untreated, gum disease can even cause you to lose some of your teeth.
Dr. Neely’s Process for Invisalign Treatment
While every patient is an individual and Dr. Neely tailors her treatment approach to each one, these are the basic steps in receiving orthodontic treatment with Invisalign at her clinic:
The purpose of your first appointment is to gather dental records. Dr. Neely uses a digital scanner called ITero to scan your teeth and take photos. This is faster, more comfortable, and more accurate than the traditional method of taking impressions. She uses the information obtained from the ITero scan to create a 3D rendering of the movement of your teeth from the beginning to the end of treatment. The name of this process is Clincheck. It allows Dr. Neely to create a customized treatment plan based on the current positioning of your teeth.
You and Dr. Neely will review the Clincheck results at your second appointment. She wants to ensure that you understand the information it contains and that you feel satisfied with the plan for treatment. We need you to approve your Clincheck before authorizing our laboratory to begin fabricating your custom aligners.
You should expect to receive your customized aligners at your third appointment. Dr. Neely and her staff will instruct you on how to place them in your mouth and how to remove them. We also spend considerable time teaching you how to care for your aligners and manage your oral health during treatment.
After the third appointment, you will return to the clinic approximately every six weeks so Dr. Neely can check on your progress. The interval between your appointments may be closer to four weeks if your case is more complicated. She may need to adjust your aligners or treatment plan if things are not progressing as expected.
Your teeth will move more each time you switch to a new aligner. While most patients change every one to two weeks, Dr. Neely will let you know your schedule during your third appointment.
Keeping Your Invisalign Retainers Clean
The first thing you need to do when it is time to clean your retainers is remove them from your mouth and run them under lukewarm water. This removes food particles and bacteria at a superficial level. Next, fill a cup of water and add a packet of Invisalign cleaning crystals to it. You then need to place your retainers in the cup of water for approximately 15 minutes. After removing the retainers from the cup, run them under room temperature water a second time.
Next, clean the retainers with a soft bristled toothbrush. Start by getting the toothbrush damp and then thoroughly scrub the retainers. You should not add toothpaste to your toothbrush as this could damage the plastic aligners. When you’re done scrubbing, run the retainers under water one last time. After drying them, you can place them back in your mouth. Your customized alignment trays should remain in your mouth except when you eat and when you need to clean them. We will discuss cleaning options in more detail after you receive your set of customized aligners.
Special Concerns for Athletes
Athletes who wear braces face an additional risk of injury if they get hit in the mouth. That is because a sudden jolt can loosen brackets and wires and cause them to poke or cut the gums, cheeks, or lips. When you wear Invisalign retainers, you can leave them in throughout the entire game or practice. If you play a sport like hockey or football that requires you to wear a mouth piece, simply remove your Invisalign retainers and put them in a safe place until the game or practice is over.
Payments Options and Insurance Coverage for Invisalign Treatment
Patients are naturally concerned about the cost when they decide to go ahead with Invisalign treatment. It is difficult to give an exact cost upfront because it depends on the severity of your misalignment issues and the complexity and length of your treatment. Naturally, patients whose teeth require longer or more involved treatment to align properly can expect to pay more. In general, payments run less than $200 per month throughout the course of your treatment with Dr. Monica Neely.
Dr. Neely accepts several forms of payment for your convenience. These include:
Care Credit: If approved for an account, you could qualify for interest-free financing for up to two years. You can learn more about dental financing with Care Credit here.
Major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express
Money from your flex plan or Health Savings Account
Cash and check with a five percent discount if you pay your balance in full
Dental insurance policies vary considerably when it comes to coverage for orthodontic treatment. Some offer a percentage while others give you a flat dollar amount to spend. It is also common for benefits to differ depending on whether an adult or child is receiving treatment. We encourage you to speak to a representative at your dental insurance company to ensure that you understand your benefits. You are responsible for paying any amount that your insurance company does not cover.
Schedule an Appointment to Learn More About Invisalign Today
Dr. Neely offers a free consultation to any patient interested in orthodontic treatment with Invisalign. If you’re the parent of a teenager who wants to learn more about invisible braces, we include both of you in the session. Dr. Neely will briefly review your oral health history and let you know if you appear to be a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. She will also answer any question you have so you feel confident about making an informed decision.
Kari, our office manager, also attends these sessions. She explains our payment options in more detail and tries to make it as affordable for you as possible. We think you will agree with past patients that an investment in Invisalign is well worth the cost. Your confidence will grow as you get closer to completing treatment and achieving the smile you have always wanted. Dr. Neely and her staff look forward to meeting you and learning more about how we can help you achieve your goals for improved aesthetics and oral health. Please call 405-302-0100 to request your free consultation today.
Call Oklahoma City Invisalign Certified Dentist, Monica Neely, at 302-1000 for your free consult to see if you are a good candidate for Invisalign.