Having aligned teeth goes a long way in improving your smile, giving you a chance to boost your confidence. Among the most effective ways to fix teeth misalign conditions is using Invisalign treatment. The process has helped thousands of patients achieve their desired dental aesthetic, allowing them to improve their overall appearance.

Invisalign treatment has become more popular because of the multiple positive reviews that patients issue. As a result, the services are now widely accessible, and you can consult your dentist on whether you are eligible to receive treatment. Before consulting a dentist, be sure to find a qualified dental team that understands the technicalities of orthodontic treatment. By working with an experienced team, you can expect excellent results that meet your expectations.

At Washington Dental, you will work with some of the most experienced dentists to help you achieve a perfect smile. Over the years, we have improved our craft in providing orthodontic services to help provide high-quality results.

Our experience administering dental misalignment treatment using Invisalign has equipped us with the necessary skills to improve our patients’ smiles. If you or a loved one requires Invisalign treatment in Lomita, California, schedule an appointment with us today.

Defining Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign is a brand that produces plastic dental trays for tooth alignment. It is an improved version of traditional orthodontic methods, like using metal braces to achieve the same purpose.

The Invisalign treatment method has improved over the years, taking advantage of technological improvements to create a more versatile method of orthodontic treatment options. As a result, it has gained popularity among dentists and patients, making it one of the most chosen dental options for teeth alignment.

Invisalign dental trays take the shape of your teeth, with slight differences in measurement to help straighten your teeth. The plastic material making up the trays is hard enough to fit into your current teeth positions as your teeth gradually move into the expected position.

Since Invisalign treatment is an improvement from traditional braces, they offer more flexibility to you as the patient. Your dentist will formulate the plastic trays to meet your specific needs and to correct the condition causing dental misalignment.

How Invisalign Works

Dental alignment aims to gently push your teeth into different positions until you attain a straight smile. Based on this, Invisalign treatment involves creating dental trays molded into the position that your dentist intends your teeth to move into. Since the treatment is gradual, you will need to change the dental trays every two weeks after your dentist verifies that your teeth have fit into the current dental trays.

The treatment continues for a specified duration, with each dental tray change creating a new gentle force on your teeth to push them into the correct position. Over time, you will begin to notice an improvement in the teeth alignment, giving effect to the treatment.

Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign provides a faster and more efficient treatment process. This is because your dentist would have to change the wires in braces treatment every two weeks, and the wires will then apply pressure on your teeth to move. However, wires may push your teeth further than anticipated, making it necessary to readjust the teeth position until reaching the ideal position.

On the other hand, since Invisalign dental trays are molded to resemble the position that your teeth will assume after alignment, your teeth move more accurately into this position. Subsequently, you are more likely to complete treatment faster than when undergoing the traditional braces alignment process.

The Expected Treatment Duration

Every patient has varying needs, meaning there is no definite time to complete Invisalign treatment. Nevertheless, if all processes go smoothly, the average reported completion time ranges between one year to one and a half years.

However, if your dentist notices some setbacks, they may suggest extending the treatment duration to ensure your teeth align with the desired position. Some emerging challenges include gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth sensitivity, making it difficult to keep the Invisalign on.

In some cases, treatment may also delay if you are unavailable to attend adjustment appointments every two weeks. If so, you want to inform your dentist of your absence to help them plan your treatment effectively. 

Parties Eligible to Seek Invisalign Treatment

The overall problem that Invisalign resolves is teeth misalignment. However, the condition arises in different variations, making determining whether you are eligible to seek the treatment is important. You should consider Invisalign treatment if you are dealing with the following:

Dental Overbite

An overbite is a dental condition arising from different circumstances like thumb sucking, regular biting of the lower lip, or genetic predisposition. It manifests by having your upper jaw teeth align themselves further from the lower jaw teeth when your jaw is shut. As a result, an overbite is detectable if your upper front teeth project more toward the outside of your mouth than the lower jaw teeth.

Common signs of the condition include difficulty keeping your mouth closed, mainly because the front teeth press on your inner lips. Additionally, some patients may be more prone to accidentally biting themselves when chewing due to misalignment.

Invisalign can help remedy the problem by pushing the upper front teeth back into the jaw, creating proper alignment with the teeth on the lower jaw. Although the process will be gradual, you will soon begin noticing the changes and feel more comfortable speaking, chewing, or closing your mouth.

You will also notice a change in your facial structure as treatment progresses. The situation occurs because having an overbite often requires stretching the upper lip to close the mouth. At the same time, your lower lip may assume a more contracted position, giving you an overall different appearance. You will not strain your mouth upon dental alignment, and your facial alignment will adjust accordingly.

Dental Underbite

A dental underbite is the reverse condition of an overbite, whereby the front teeth on your lower jaw project more outward than those on your upper jaw. Your overall appearance may create difficulties in biting, chewing, or even talking because your jaws will strain to align the two rows of teeth.

Additionally, you are likely to have a change in facial structure because your lower teeth force the lower lip to extend as you try to close your mouth. This could be when trying to sleep, chew, or when at rest.

With the help of Invisalign, your lower teeth will realign to match the upper teeth, creating a precise alignment when you shut your jaw. Achieving this position is important because it prevents the teeth from creating ongoing dental problems, affecting your physical and mental well-being.

An underbite is often easier to correct than an overbite because the lower front teeth are smaller than the upper ones. Nevertheless, your dentist will provide remedies case-by-case because every patient is different.

Gapped Teeth

Another common condition that Invisalign treatment can resolve is gapped teeth arising from genetic or external factors. Having gapped teeth means they are spaced out compared to the conventional dental alignment, where teeth remain closely aligned.

Genetic conditions may cause gapped teeth, especially if they involve hereditary appearance. On the other hand, external factors like injuries that cause teeth loss or breakage may also create gapped teeth. Further, you may face the condition as a symptom of other dental problems like gum disease, which can loosen your teeth and shift them from their original positions.

After your dentist establishes the specific cause of your gapped teeth, they will formulate your Invisalign trays to push the teeth closer together as desired. The purpose of realigning your teeth is to prevent tooth particles from accumulating in the spaces. Your overall appearance will also improve after the realignment, improving your confidence.

Dental Open Bite

A dental open bite manifests as a large gap between your upper and lower front teeth, with your upper front teeth aligning at a wider angle than the lower ones. Open bites often arise at birth, making them a genetic condition for many patients. They may also arise from consistent thumb sucking, which often begins in childhood.

Invisalign is, therefore, a useful treatment option to remedy open bites, as the trays will help align your teeth into the required position. Your dentist may adjust the treatment throughout the process to ensure that the teeth on your upper and lower jaws align at the same angle. In doing so, the open bite is closed, and complete alignment is achieved.

Crowded Teeth

Teeth crowding occurs when your teeth are bigger than your jaw can accommodate. Many patients deal with tooth crowding, especially after losing their milk teeth and having permanent teeth grow. You can identify the condition by checking the positioning of your teeth, particularly if some are in front of others.

Different patients may also experience crowding by having teeth grow on the gums instead of along the jawline. Upon beginning treatment, your dentist may recommend the removal of several teeth to create space for proper dental alignment. Before determining the number of teeth to remove, your dentist should thoroughly examine to create a fitting space.

Apart from researching whether to try Invisalign treatment, you want to consult your dentist, who will help you establish whether you have any of the discussed conditions. Seeing your dentist is beneficial because they may point out a misalignment condition that you were unaware of.

The Invisalign Treatment Process

After establishing that you are eligible for Invisalign treatment, you will schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the procedures to follow before receiving your trays. Naturally, you will need to undergo several pre-treatment processes to set up the best possible outcome for your alignment treatment.

By learning about the various treatment procedures you will undergo, you will be better equipped to participate and provide the necessary information to your dentist. Additionally, you will understand the importance of every treatment step, giving you a better appreciation of the entire treatment process.

Many of the procedures will occur during your initial consultation, and you will likely complete all requirements by the end of the session. However, some situations may be more complicated than others, making scheduling subsequent sessions with your dentist important.

Some important pre-treatment procedures to prepare for include:

Providing Your Medical History

Among the important details to provide your dentist with are your medical history records, as they inform many of their subsequent treatment choices. Your medical history ranges from your allergies, if any, especially if you are likely allergic to the plastic used to create Invisalign.

Additionally, you must inform your dentist of your previous dental history, including whether you have undergone any orthodontic treatment. For example, if you underwent teeth alignment using braces but did not achieve the desired look, you can express this to your dentist. They will then review the previous treatment and make adjustments to ensure your current realignment process achieves the targeted tooth alignment.

Moreover, you need to disclose whether you have suffered from tooth decay or cavities, as they may directly affect the current treatment. If you have not received treatment for the underlying conditions, your dentist may direct you to a different treatment process to ensure you do not face complications.

Similarly, medical history extends to any information about having artificial dental fixtures. Examples include dental implants or crowns that you may have had fixed along the same alignment that your dentist now aims to adjust. By informing your dentist of the existing fixtures, they can determine whether Invisalign is a suitable treatment option or whether to adjust them.

Conducting X-Ray Imaging

After your dentist understands your medical history and concludes that you are ready for treatment, they will require X-rays of your teeth. These images are important because they help portray the specific tooth alignment on the jawbone's surface and inside the jawbone.

With the information, your dentist can make more informed decisions on aligning your teeth because they can identify why your teeth appear on the surface as they do.

Additionally, X-ray images allow for a better understanding of how to achieve proper dental alignment based on the root positions. If a tooth’s root is causing misalignment in the surrounding teeth, your dentist can choose to remove it as a permanent solution for the problem.

Usually, having X-ray imaging done falls within the total treatment cost, and your dentist will likely have an imaging machine inside their clinic. However, if you have to undergo the services elsewhere, consider budgeting for them because they may result in extra costs. Your dental team should recommend a trusted third-party clinic to conduct the X-ray imaging at a reasonable cost.

Taking Dental Impressions

Another important process before beginning the Invisalign treatment is having dental molds or impressions taken. The process is necessary because it creates a replica of your actual teeth using a special dental mold.

Once at your dentist’s office, they will mix special dental clay and create the mold, fit it into a mouthguard-shaped tool, and press it against your teeth. The dental team will repeat the process for your upper and lower teeth, creating two impressions.

After the mold dries, it leaves a replica of your teeth that your dentist can use to determine the best alignment process to apply. These molds are also an excellent reference point when creating 3D images of your teeth to aid in creating custom-made Invisalign for your dental alignment.

Dental impressions are also important because they are a comparator for each stage of treatment. Since your dentist takes the impressions before beginning treatment, they can always refer back to the molds when tracing the movement of specific teeth into their new positions. In doing so, they prevent setbacks and inaccurate Invisalign designs.

Professional Teeth Cleaning

Before starting treatment, your dentist may suggest a professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and other stubborn stains from your teeth. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums throughout treatment is essential for ensuring smooth completion.

Your teeth cleaning appointment may be scheduled for the same day you receive your first pair of Invisalign dental trays. By aligning the two, your dentist is sure that you will wear the dental trays without worrying about trapping any dirt between your teeth.

During the cleaning session, the dental team uses several tools and agents to ensure the tooth surfaces remain clean. You may experience slight tooth sensitivity as the tools rub against the tooth surface, but many patients report a painless process.

Fitting the Invisalign

After completing the preliminary treatment stage, your dentist will order the development of your first Invisalign set. The plastic tray's creation follows the designs accessed from 3D images of your dental structure, meaning that each set is unique to you.

Once the set is ready, your dentist will call you in for a fitting session where you will wear the Invisalign for the first time. Your dentist will then examine how the plastic trays fit into your mouth and provide guidelines on maintaining the set.

As a general rule, you should wear your Invisalign for about 22 hours per day to give the treatment time to take effect. Nevertheless, circumstances may hinder you from sticking to the directives, making it more realistic to keep them on at any time except when eating. This gives you more time allowance when eating, especially in social settings where you may have difficulty keeping the Invisalign on.

The treatment process also requires you to attend dental appointments every two weeks, where your dentist will provide new Invisalign sets. They space the appointments based on the expected duration your teeth take to assume their new positions.

If your teeth still need to move into position after two weeks, your dentist may delay issuing a new set and set a new appointment in a few days. They will also advise keeping Invisalign on longer to speed up the alignment process.

Your treatment concludes when all teeth align into the desired position, leaving you with a set of straight teeth. The final outcome will occur after one to one and a half years, so you want to remain patient and consistent with the treatment.

You may receive retainers similar to your Invisalign to wear at specific times as part of your treatment. Your dentist may direct you to wear them only at night, before sleeping. Following the guidelines is important because the retainers prevent your teeth from returning to their original position. This occurrence is highly likely in the first few years because your jawbone is still adjusting to the new tooth positions.

Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign has become a more suitable option for many patients because it is more comfortable than traditional braces. You do not have to endure cuts and friction from brackets or broken wires during the treatment.

Further, they are less noticeable compared to braces, which may be desirable to many patients who do not want extra attention. The freedom to retain your regular diet is also a big advantage, as you only need to remove the trays when eating and replace them when done.

Contact an Experienced Dentist Near Me

Dealing with dental misalignment can be disadvantageous, as you may have to deal with discomfort, pain, and an overall lack of confidence. You can remedy the problem by trying dental alignment with Invisalign, which will enable you to achieve a great smile. The treatment provides effective treatment options, and you will begin to notice positive changes within weeks of starting. Moreover, you can access more benefits when using Invisalign than traditional dental alignment treatments like braces. As a result, you are more likely to remain consistent with the treatment because of the positive experiences you will have.

At Washington Dental, you will work with a skilled and equipped team of professional dentists. We aim to help you improve your smile by using Invisalign treatment to push your teeth into the required position. Our clinic has helped hundreds of patients achieve straight teeth alignment, which enables them to attain a better body image and overall well-being. You can look forward to partnering with a highly experienced team that puts your needs first throughout the process. If you or a loved one needs Invisalign treatment in Lomita, California, contact us today at 310-326-5183 to schedule an appointment with us.