Say this to your 8th or 9th grader and watch them run screaming from the room:
“I think we probably need to look into braces to straighten your teeth.”
Most of us have had them. Something like 80 percent of U.S. teens have braces at some point. But who wants a mouth full of metal? Who wants to look like the Jaws dude from that James Bond movie? And who wants the wires poking your cheeks and the bands rubbing on the inside of your lips?
Fortunately, today’s teens often have an alternative, a nearly invisible one — Invisalign. Dr. Smith and Dr. Feng provide Invisalign for our patients at Pound Ridge.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is the latest dental technology that originated in the late 1990s and has been developed and improved to the point where it is very popular and effective today. Rather than metal bands and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners to straighten the teeth. Each aligner is worn for a period of two weeks and then is discarded and replaced by the next in the series. The aligners do the same job as metal bands, only without the social stigma attached!
Because the aligners are made of clear acrylic, they are almost invisible when doing their job. Even from conversational distance, people can’t see the Invisalign aligner on your teeth. Plus, the hassles of trying to keep your teeth clean and having to do things such as cutting corn off the cob don’t happen with Invisalign. And there’s no need for dental floss threaders — you simply take the aligner out to eat, and brush and floss your teeth! Plus, you can say goodbye to the wires poking your cheeks and bands scraping your lips.
How does the process work?
Not every straightening case can use Invisalign, but Dr. Smith and Dr. Feng will see if you’re a good candidate. Invisalign is great for mild to moderate cases of teeth straightening and issues such as gaps between teeth. Invisalign cannot be used for large-scale tooth movement.
If a candidate is right, we start by using our iTero intraoral scanner. This is part of the Invisalign system, and it takes digital photos and measurements of your smile. Using this information, Dr. Smith and Dr. Feng can then plot out the path of your necessary tooth movement right in the Invisalign software. The Invisalign software then creates a 3D image of your overall smile, and it estimates the movement created by each of the aligner trays you will wear in the process. This information is then sent off to Align Technologies, the company behind Invisalign, where the patient’s clear aligner trays are fabricated. They are then shipped to our offices on Westchester Avenue. When they arrive, you come in, we explain the system and how you’ll wear and care for your aligner trays, and we give you the first few sets of aligner trays. You wear the trays for 22 hours or more per day, and the rest is straightened history.
The complimentary phrase oft heard in high school, “metal mouth,” can now maybe pass into the lexicon of no longer used phrases. Call us a Pound Ridge, (914) 764-3540 and let’s see if Invisalign can work for your teen.