Did you know that one in five Brits reports feeling self-conscious about their teeth? If you fit into this category, even simple daily gestures like smiling can leave you feeling uncomfortable.
That’s why 61 per cent of people admit to covering their mouths when they laugh. Others avoid smiling and laughing altogether, which can lead to misconceptions about being anti-social, even among the most gregarious people.
Of course, the thought of wearing braces for a few years proves a daunting solution and one that most adults don’t relish. That’s why so many patients turn to Invisalign in the hopes of avoiding traditional braces.
When it comes to how invisible braces work, there’s a learning curve. From removal with attachments to keeping your aligners clean, here are our answers to your top questions.
How to Remove Invisalign With Attachments
Invisalign is a convenient and less noticeable method for correcting orthodontic issues than metal braces. But, like anything else in life, it isn’t easy in the beginning. You’ll have to get used to a variety of different daily realities.
These realities include needing to remove your aligners before every meal and learning how to live with attachments. We wanted to start this article by talking about attachments because so many people have never heard of them.
For patients requiring a more thorough intervention than clear aligners alone, there are attachments. Attachments help remedy issues like stubborn teeth, extreme gaps, or crowding that requires a heftier tooth correction.
What are attachments? Attachments are extensions that get added to your teeth.
Manufactured from a tooth-coloured material known as composite resin, they tend to blend right into your mouth. (Dentists use composite resin to craft cosmetic bondings and fillers.)
Your orthodontist will adhere these attachments to your aligners, providing extra leverage to adjust tooth positioning. Orthodontists typically use them to handle intrusions, extrusion, or rotations. Attachments include buttons and bumps.
Once patients get attachments, they may experience more trouble removing their aligners at first. That’s because the aligners will feel tighter, especially when initially installed.
As with the removal of aligners without attachments, you’ll want to work from the back forward. Lift off the easiest to remove parts of the aligner first and then use your fingernails to get under the edge of the aligner to lift it over the attachments.
How to Remove Invisalign Without Cracking
How do you avoid cracking when removing Invisalign liners? Start with a warm, dry mouth. That way, your fingers will get a better grip, and the plastic will also feel more malleable.
If you’re still having trouble, use a paper towel or a pair of plastic gloves for better grip. Always start from the back molars working towards the front of your teeth.
Some patients also swear by using an aligner hook. You can easily purchase aligner hooks from places such as Amazon, and they provide you with effective assistance when getting aligners out of your mouth.
The techniques above will ensure you properly remove your aligners without any cracking.
Does Invisalign Work for Crowded Teeth?
You’ll need to work with an experienced Invisalign dentist and go through a screening to determine if invisible braces are an option for your current needs. That said, invisible braces can remedy a variety of tooth crowding issues.
As the name suggests, invisible braces are largely undetectable while you’re wearing them. Yet, they prove useful in straightening the teeth of those with crowded alignments.
This treatment is also ideal for those who desire a subtle and less conspicuous treatment option. Invisalign remains an excellent intervention for dental issues such as crossbite, overbite, crowded teeth, and gapped teeth.
Unlike metal braces, invisible braces are removable and virtually unnoticeable while in place. Removing your aligners allows you to brush and floss carefully. You also take them out to eat.
When worn a minimum of 22 hours per day, you’ll enjoy the full benefits of treatment. In other words, you only remove the liners for eating and cleanings.
What’s the caveat to all of this? For severely misaligned teeth, you may need to explore additional dental treatment.
Invisalign vs Braces: Which Is Faster?
How many years will you need to wear invisible braces? There’s no simple answer to this question. After all, the severity of your overcrowding has a direct impact on the timeline of the correction process.
The process begins with the creation of dental impressions. Once these are completed and sent away, you’ll wait approximately four weeks to get your first set of aligners or trays.
Each set of aligners get worn for a fortnight before moving on to a new pair. Patients with the mildest misalignment may complete their full course of treatment in a matter of a few months.
For others, they may need to wear aligners for one year to a year and a half. If you know much about metal braces, you’ll realise that the timeline for invisible braces often proves drastically reduced.
What makes invisible aligners so effective? They’re crafted based on the dimensions of your precise 3D tooth impressions.
What does this mean for you? They fit perfectly. You’ll also be pleased to learn they’re among the most comfortable treatment options when it comes to overcrowded teeth.
Differences Between Braces and Invisalign
What are some of the significant differences between metal braces and invisible braces? Nobody enjoys the look of metal braces. Especially as an adult.
They also prove uncomfortable and can lead to friction sores on the insides of your lips and the interiors of your cheeks.
But with invisible aligners, these issues vanish. You’ll enjoy an attractive smile throughout the entire duration of your treatment. That means no more feeling self-conscious, and no more self-deprecating comments or need to explain why you have braces.
Metal braces can also interfere with proper dental cleaning. The metal brackets are notorious for catching and holding food particles and plaque. In turn, this can lead to gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath.
But with Invisalign braces, you take them out every time you eat, allowing for easy access to brushing and flossing. Your teeth remain cleaner and cavity-free. Your breath will stay pleasant, and you’ll never have to worry about food particles stuck between metal brackets.
Unlike metal braces, aligners can be removed anytime. Although you must be sure to keep them in 22 hours of the day, this flexibility means they fit perfectly into your everyday lifestyle. What’s more, you’ll never have to deal with metal wires, brackets, or elastics.
How to Clean Invisalign
Every time you remove your aligners, you’ll want to brush your teeth as well as the trays. But you’ll also need to set aside some time each day for a quick aligner soaking.
Soaking your aligners remains the best way to ensure your aligners stay hygienic. The water you soak them in should contain Invisalign cleaning crystals or a denture cleaner. That way, they’ll always stay fresh and clean.
What are some things to avoid when it comes to caring for your trays? For starters, avoid soaking your trays in hot water or mouthwash.
Why? Because these liquids can damage your trays. After you’ve completed the soaking process, brush over the trays with your toothbrush to remove any stubborn particles, and you’re all done.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what invisible braces can do, let’s take a closer look at how this remarkable technology works. These braces treat overcrowded teeth by coaxing them gradually into the right alignment.
Each set of invisible aligners gets designed to move teeth by one-quarter of a millimetre to achieve realignment. As your teeth move, the space in your mouth increases.
Tooth overcrowding diminishes. Eventually, your teeth finish in their desired positions. As already mentioned, you may need the addition of attachments to get your desired look.
Don’t be afraid of getting attachments. Once you get used to removing your aligners with these new attachments, the process will become as simple as changing shirts or removing your contacts. Consider buying an aligner hook to make removal a cinch.
Invisible Braces Work
Are you tired of feeling self-conscious about your smile? Would you like to improve your dental health while finally getting the flashy smile you’ve always longed for? Then, it’s time to learn whether invisible braces are right for you.
Find out more about London’s leading orthodontic centre. Contact us today to schedule your first consultation and discover firsthand how invisible braces work.
Dr. Stefan Abela
BChD, MFDS, RCS Eng, MSc, MORTH RCS Ed, AHEA, FDS Orth RCS Ed
Stefan is a Consultant in Orthodontics at one of the most prestigious London teaching hospitals; Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
Stefan is also a specialist in Orthodontics and is registered on the General Dental Council (GDC) specialist list. Stefan qualified as a dental surgeon in 2003 and underwent further training in various specialties including restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry, oral medicine and complex oral and maxillofacial surgery including the management of facial trauma.