Dr Ian Lin Dental

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Invisalign

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Invisalign

Not only is Invisalign versatile, helping to correct a broad range of dental and orthodontic issues, but it really works. And there are over a million smiles to back that up. But a confident smile isn't the only benefit of correcting your dental issues with custom-made Invisalign aligners—your health can be positively impacted as well. Learn more about several common issues below that an experienced Invisalign doctor can work with you to correct.

Overly crowded teeth: This occurs when there is simply a lack of room within your jaw for all of your teeth to fit normally. When left untreated, overly crowded teeth can cause dental decay, an increase in chances of gum disease, and can prevent the normal function of teeth.

Widely spaced teeth: This occurs with abnormal continued growth of the jaw bone. When teeth are missing, this issue can also be caused by the other teeth shifting due to extra space. Spacing issues in teeth can cause some periodontal diseases.

Crossbite: This occurs when the upper and lower jaws are both misaligned. It causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, and can happen on both the front and/or the sides of the mouth. This issue can cause wear of the teeth, gum disease, and bone loss.

Overbite: What people commonly refer to as an "overbite" is known to dental professionals as "overjet." It occurs when the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. It's typically caused by either genetics, bad oral habits, or over development of the bone that supports the teeth. This issue can lead to gum problems or irritation, and/or wear on the lower teeth and can cause painful jaw and joint problems.

Underbite: This occurs when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. It's usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. It can also be caused by missing upper teeth. This issue can prevent the normal function of front teeth or molars which can lead to tooth wear. It can also cause painful jaw and joint problems.

An Invisalign doctor will work with you to create a custom-designed program that will treat your specific dental or orthodontic issue(s). Your treatment program will consist of a full set of 
aligners, made for you, and only you.

And of course, there are other considerations when making the decision to straighten your teeth. Think about how Invisalign can present  a virtually-invisible option to getting the smile you want.

What happens if I lose an aligner?

Losing an aligner is not the end of the world. What does cause problems is when patients do not replace them. By not wearing your aligner for the right amount of time, you risk disrupting your treatment and prolonging the need to wear aligners. If you do not wear your aligners enough, it could be that ultimately, your treatment does not create the results you want.

If you lose or damage an aligner, it is important that you contact your dentist for advice as soon as possible. They will be able to commission a replacement so that your treatment can continue to a successful conclusion.

Q. Will I have to wear retainers?

Retainers are an essential part of all orthodontic work and the Invisalign system is no different. However, the type of retainer you require will vary depending on the type of treatment you have. Some retainers are removable, others are fixed or bonded into place. But retainers will be a requirement of your treatment, as they will stop your teeth from rebounding into their original positions when you have stopped wearing your aligners.

It can be helpful to ask your dentist in advance what kind of retainers they recommend. Retainers are an overlooked part of the treatment for many patients and the type of retainer required in the future can affect their willingness to undergo treatment. There is also an additional cost for retainers which your dentist should make clear to you at the outset.

Q. Will I need further treatment in the future?

As we mentioned above, retention is an important element in the overall treatment. When using Invisalign, retention is usually required for up to two years, though it is gradually scaled back so that you have to wear your retainers less and less.

Most dentists will also recommend that you take regular check-ups to maintain your oral health and hygiene once your treatment has finished. This means that your investment in your smile is maintained in the future.

Q. What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry or ‘Aesthetic Dentistry’ involves dental procedure that improve the appearance of you smile. Treatments can lighten, straighten, repair and re-shape teeth, this is done by using tooth whitening, tooth coloured fillings, veneers, crowns, implants & dentures.

Invisalign has some major advantages over conventional braces simply through its unique patented design. Suddenly, everything that makes conventional braces so uncomfortable has disappeared. The wires, the elastics and the brackets are all replaced by a number of minimalist, plastic aligners. The streamlined design of Invisalign is both simpler to work with and more aesthetically pleasing.

The key to the Invisalign system is that it is designed entirely with the patient in mind. Through a combination of X-rays and photography, our dentist will build up a ‘photofit’ of your teeth and jaw structure. He then transfers these images to the Invisalign laboratory where a highly-trained technician, working closely with our dentist, will develop a computer-generated model of how you want your teeth and your smile to look. By using advanced computer packages, we can evaluate different scenarios and ensure that your teeth are being moved in the most efficient way, to the ideal position.

Therefore, you can see before the treatment begins where you teeth will move to and how your smile will look after the treatment. That gives all of our patients the reassurance they need before they commit to the cost of the full procedure.

Once you and our dentist are both happy that the computer-generated model is showing the right results for you, our dentist will commission the production of the transparent aligners. The aligners, therefore, are designed and built specifically for you and to the exact specification agreed with our dental team dentist.

Many patients focus on the end result of their orthodontic treatment and overlook the fact that there is often a lot of work required before you get their teeth to their optimal positions.

For example, if you choose conventional braces, you get the benefit of a relatively low cost option that is proven at generating effective results. So many patients take the attitude that, if they can live with the metal look of the braces, it will be worth it for the reduced cost.

However, these patients often don’t realize that their conventional braces need constant adjustments to remain effective over the long-term. You will need to visit your dentist regularly, so that your dentist can adjust the wires and brackets, to ensure that there is enough tension in place to keep on moving the teeth. Missed appointments can therefore result in having to wear your braces for a longer period than originally intended.

With Invisalign, you will still need to visit your dentist but this is more for updates on your progress. Rather than having to adjust fixed brackets, your dentist simply recommends the right time to move up to the next aligner in the series. Therefore, there is no wasted time or periods at which the pressure on the teeth becomes reduced. As long as the patient wears their aligners for at least 22 hours a day, then treatment times can be as little as 6 months.

Of course, each case needs to be assessed and judged on its own merits by a qualified dentist or orthodontic specialist. The more serious the case, the more time needs to be allowed for the aligners to work. Average treatment time is around 12 months or 24 sets of aligners.

As more and more adults seek high quality orthodontic work later in life, treatments are becoming more expensive. One of the reasons for this is that orthodontic treatments are designed to achieve more than they used to. Now, not only do they need to be effective, they also need to be aesthetic. Not only do they need to be durable, they also need to be comfortable.

In some ways, therefore, customer demand for more personalised, better quality treatments has led to much more variation in the cost of treatment.

Similarly, newer products that depend on advanced technology can require specialist product training for dentists or orthodontic specialists. Often, dentists will invest in this training themselves and this necessitates an increase in the cost of their services. For the very latest treatments, it may be that only a very small number of dentists have the facilities, equipment and expertise to deliver them – so their services can be in very high demand.

All of these factors mean that good quality orthodontic treatment can be expensive and Invisalign is no exception. Don’t forget, Invisalign is a bespoke treatment, with aligners that are created to fit exactly and precisely to the shape of your particular teeth. It is a far more sophisticated approach than conventional braces requires.

On average, you can expect Invisalign costs to start at around $6000 - $8000 for a straightforward tooth realignment. One of the benefits of Invisalign is that, because the treatment is planned out through computer-generated images at the outset, you always can obtain a full quote from our dentist before the treatment begins. Therefore, you know the costs and time scales before you commit to a full treatment plan.

Your treatment plan begins with a consultation with our experienced team of Invisalign experts. During that consultation, we will discuss the options to treat your particular issue, whether it be an aesthetic or bite problem (or both).

Once we have confirmed that your issue can be corrected with the Invisalign system, we will write a detailed treatment plan that determines how each of your aligners will change throughout your program. When you begin treatment, you'll wear each set of aligners in approximately two-week increments. The aligners gently move your teeth into position, and at the end of each two-week period, you "graduate" to the next set of custom aligners. 

As you progress through the series of aligners, your teeth will begin moving, little by little. And you don't have to wait until you complete treatment to see your smile change—you may start seeing positive changes early in the process. You will have occasional checkups with us—usually every six weeks—in order to gauge your progress. And at the end of your treatment, you'll be showing off a smile you never knew you'd have before you had Invisalign.

This is the complete sequence of events:

First Stage

 After our consultation and we have agreed that Invisalign is the correct treatment for you, we will take impressions of your top and bottom teeth and a registration of how your bite meets together. In addition, we will need some simple x-rays and photographs of your face, jaws and teeth to ensure we create a perfect smile that matches your face. These records are sent to Invisalign to begin the process.

Second Stage

After about 4-6 weeks, we will meet you again so that you can view your very own movie of how your smile will change. You can actually see how it moves every few weeks. Once you are happy with the predicted outcome, we give the green light to the Invisalign team to manufacture your special aligners.

Third Stage

Your first set of aligners are fitted. They are to be worn for 2 weeks, 22 hours per day...this is really critical if we want to achieve a perfect result. You change into the second set after 2 weeks and you store the original  in a special carrying box just in case you lose or damage the current set of aligners.

Usually at the beginning of the 3rd aligners, we often bond small tooth coloured plastic buttons to your teeth to aid in the accurate movement of each aligner. They are almost impossible to see but are crucial to the success of the treatment.

Fourth Stage

As you progress through the treatment, we sometimes need to polish your teeth in very specific areas to establish some extra space to move teeth into their best position. This does not hurt nor is it painful but is also critical part of the treatment.

Final Stage

Once you have completed wearing all the aligners, we assess whether your teeth have moved into the position we had predicted. Most of the time, we achieve about 95% of what we expected. Sometimes we choose to take another set of impressions and order some extra aligners to bring us to that perfect result.

The last thing we need to do is to make sure that your teeth stay in this perfect position so we retain them by either bonding a tiny wire on the inside or giving you some retainers to wear at night time (called Vivera).

The process is over and your smile will be perfect! Congratulations!!!

Not finding what you need?
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
In accordance with the recent Australian Dental Association recommendations, our office is currently only seeing patients with urgent needs and by appointment only. All elective and routine appointments will be rescheduled to a later date. This protocol will be in place until further notice.
 
If you would like to make an enquiry or if you need an emergency appointment, please call 0416 039 378.