Friday, 18 October 2013

Invisalign - FAQs

As I am nearing the end of my Invisalign treatment I thought this would be a good time to do a little round up post of FAQs and give you guys a chance to ask any questions that you may have! So many of you have e-mailed/ tweeted me (@NatalyaFGM) directly to raise you queries or concerns that I thought it would be helpful to have some of them listed in a post for your reference!

  • How long will it take?
The length of treatment depends on your individual case however, the average is about 12 months for adults. As I only have minimal movement to make mine was estimated to take about 9 months.

  • How often must I wear my aligners?
They should be worn for between 20 and 22 hours a day. My dentist said I should really aim for 22. I only take them out when I'm eating, brushing my teeth, drinking a hot/ strongly coloured drink (eg. red wine) or to clean them!
  • How often must I see my Invisalign doctor?
Once again this depends, but I have been seeing my dentist every 6 weeks or so to monitor my progress.
  • What are attachments and will I need them?
Depending on your specific treatment, some of the movements may require either "attachments" or "ridges" to help the aligner grip the teeth. These bumps, or wells, are where the aligner grips the attachment the doctor places on your teeth. The attachments are actually small pieces of enamel-coloured composite the doctor fixes to your teeth that are then gripped by bumps on your aligners. The ridges are slim indentations in your aligners. Your doctor will use one or both of these features to attempt to achieve the desired tooth movement.
I have had both as shown in my earlier posts. The ridges are not problematic and almost invisible. The attachments are usually used towards the back, but are definitely noticeable if they are on your front teeth.
  • Is it painful?
While Invisalign moves your teeth some people experience temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure. It's also a sign that Invisalign is working, as it moves your teeth to their final destination. This discomfort typically goes away in a couple of days.
I have experienced very minimal pain. The first two weeks of treatment were quite uncomfortable as it took me a while to get used to the trays, but there was no pain. The last two trays I have had (over correction trays) have been a little painful, but this is because my teeth are nearing the end of treatment so they have already been moved the furthest along the bone. I would describe the feeling as a mild ache in a few of the teeth, but it's not something that would honestly put me off the treatment (and I am a major coward when it comes to pain).
  • Will wearing Invisalign aligners affect my speech?
Similar to other orthodontic treatments, Invisalign aligners may temporarily affect speech and you may have a slight lisp for a day or two. However, as your tongue gets used to having aligners in your mouth, any lisp caused by the aligners should disappear.
This was the worst part for me! I had a lisp for 2/3 weeks and though most people didn't notice it did make me feel quite self conscious. I still sometimes say the odd word strangely and definitely find things harder to pronounce so it's something to bear in mind when timing you treatment! Of course it's easy enough to take the trays out if you have an important speech to make...

  • What's the best way to clean my aligners?
The best way to clean your aligners is to use the Invisalign Cleaning system, available for order at www.invisalignstore.com. As a secondary method, however, your aligners can also be cleaned by brushing them and rinsing them in lukewarm water.
I have a slight cheat method in that I brush my aligners when I'm brushing my teeth, but also often leave them in water with a denture cleaning tablet to make sure they stay fresh and clean. I find this really helps with the staining so that your trays stay nice and bright throughout your treatment.
  • What happens after treatment to prevent my teeth from moving again?
This varies from person to person and depends on the outcome of your treatment. Some patients might need a positioner, or conventional retainer. Other patients might need a clear plastic retainer similar to the ones Invisalign makes, such as Align Technology's Vivera Retainer, which are worn at night.
  • How much does it cost?
Of course cost is a big question for anyone considering orthodontic work. In most cases, Invisalign treatment is comparable to the cost of traditional braces. However, as with other medical treatments, only your doctor can determine the cost, based on your specific needs. Other factors may include your treatment goals, the difficulty of your case, how long you are in treatment, where you live, your orthodontic insurance coverage, and additional factors determined by your dentist or orthodontist. In the U.S., the cost of Invisalign treatment ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with the average at about $5,000. In the UK the average cost ranges from approximately £2,500-£4,000. However, prices start as low as £1,800 for minor corrections.



I really do hope this was helpful for some of you who are considering orthodontic treatments! If you have any more questions that I haven't touched on please do let me know! It can be quite a long process and definitely something that requires a commitment so I am more than happy to give you my honest opinions and share my experiences to help you make the right decision for you!!

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