Before You Go
Questions to ask your doctor:
- If I lose my top aligner during the course of treatment, should I still wear the bottom one until the missing tray is replaced (and vice versa)?
- Can my aligners get stained if I forget to remove them before consuming colorful food or drink?
- If I think I'm ready to move on to the next set of trays, should I do so without consulting my dentist first?
What To Expect
During the first consultation, impressions and digital photographs are taken of your teeth. A computerized 3-D image is generated, which is then used to plot out the appropriate course of treatment.
In the Invisalign process, numerous sets of aligners are used over the course of the treatment. The goal is for each tray to incrementally shift the teeth a certain degree. After a period of one to two weeks, the old trays are tossed, making room for the next set of aligners.
Who should do it: Both dentists and orthodontists can be certified to prescribe Invisalign. The company behind Invisalign offers special training that certifies dentists and orthodontists to use its aligners. Currently, there are more than 20,000 dentists in the US who can prescribe Invisalign treatment.
Duration: Invisalign definitely takes commitment. To stay on track, the aligners need to be worn at least twenty hours a day for the duration of your individual treatment plan, which can last up to a year. Basically, if you're not eating or drinking, you should be wearing your Invisalign trays - even when you're fast asleep.
How Painful Is It?
Because Invisalign causes your teeth to shift, it may feel like there is pressure being placed on your teeth and gums. While the discomfort shouldn't last more than one or two days, keep in mind that with each new aligner comes new sensations.
One way to reduce the aches that may arise from a new set of aligners is to swap from the old set to the new trays at night, right before going to sleep, so that your teeth are given ample time to adjust while you are blissfully unconscious.