The day has finally come: you’ve decided to become an Invisalign patient. You’ve learned how it compares to braces, the main benefits of treatment, and soon you’ll be leaving the dentist’s office with your first set of shiny new aligners!
(That, or you’ve landed on this blog because you’re still doing your research. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Today’s topic is an important one!)
As valuable as it is to learn the ins and outs of Invisalign, something that’s talked about less often is the actual patient experience. Getting Invisalign requires time, patience, and commitment – so what should you expect when (or if) you decide to go through with treatment?
Keep reading to find out.
What is Invisalign?
Gone are the days of wearing multi-coloured braces. Invisalign is an ideal teeth-straightening choice for a variety of reasons:
- Aesthetics. Invisalign is made from a smooth, clear plastic material. This is a highly desired choice because it’s a lot less obvious to the public that you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. You can take photos, go to meetings, and head out for nights on the town without feeling like a total brace face. And since a lot of Invisalign patients are adults, it’s no question why this benefit is a no-brainer.
- Convenience. Another huge benefit of Invisalign is that it’s removable. You can take out your aligners to eat, brush, and floss your teeth. This is beneficial because it means no food or drinks are off-limits. It also means your oral hygiene will be easier to maintain.
- Quick treatment time. This is largely dependent on the unique reason why you’re seeking out Invisalign treatment. Maybe you have an overbite, an underbite, or a crossbite that you want to straighten out. Or perhaps it’s an aesthetic reason, like closing the gap between your two front teeth. In most cases, when you visit a dentist experienced in providing Invisalign, they’ll be able to fix your concerns much quicker than they would with braces. On average, cases at HealthOne can be completed in as little as six months.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Now, let’s explore how Invisalign treatment works before we cover the 5 things to expect when you become a patient. Do you just put in your aligners and visit the dentist again in six months? Not exactly.
During your initial consultation, a dentist will take a 3D scan of your teeth using a machine called the ITero element. This creates a detailed, digital mock-up of your current smile which is then used to create your aligners. You’ll be given a certain number of trays based on the desired outcomes agreed upon by you and your dentist. You’ll also receive instructions on how often you should change trays.
It’s important to follow these guidelines exactly to make sure your treatment goes according to plan. Each tray in sequential order is slightly different from the next, and going off the path (like changing a tray too early or not wearing your aligners for 22 hours a day) can offset your progress.
Patients can choose to pick up all their trays during their initial appointment and will return to see the dentist once they’ve completed all their treatment. Alternatively, your dentist may recommend you come in mid-treatment to check up on how your teeth have shifted and give you your second half of aligners.
Now that you know the basics of Invisalign and how Invisalign works, it’s time for the stuff you’ve been waiting for! Here are 5 things to expect when you become an Invisalign patient.
5 Things to Expect
Your oral hygiene will improve.
Be honest: do you brush your teeth twice a day? Better yet, do you actually floss (or just tell your dentist that you do?). Regardless of what your current at-home dental routine looks like, you can expect it to improve when you become an Invisalign patient.
“What we notice is that for anyone who goes into treatment, their hygiene always gets better,” says Dr. Gill, Dentist at HealthOne. This is because you have to remove your Invisalign trays to eat food or brush your teeth. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth after eating and before putting your trays back in to reduce the buildup of bacteria. “At a minimum, you should be giving your trays a bit of a rinse before you put them back in,” he explains.
Being on top of your brushing and flossing game during Invisalign will only make your experience more enjoyable. Who knows – you just might be inspired to maintain those A+ dental health habits when you finish treatment, too!
It might feel a bit uncomfortable at first.
You landed on this blog post because you want the truth about Invisalign. Here’s the one thing we want to be honest about: you might feel a bit of discomfort when you first put in your trays.
“To break into the science of it, what we’re doing when we’re moving teeth has two periods. There’s one where we’re pushing them, and another period where we’re dealing with the bone around the teeth and kind of moving it into a new position.”
This all happens very gradually over the course of many months – but it’s still a significant shift taking place in your mouth and surrounding structures.
“The first couple of days of having aligners can be the toughest part for most people,” Dr. Gill explains. “It’s usually 2-3 days where you might feel some pressure or tension, but after that, it should go away.”
It might take some getting used to.
Another thing you should know before you start Invisalign is that it’ll take a bit of time before you get used to having your trays in. Luckily, Invisalign is made of a smooth, comfortable material (compared to braces, which have uncomfortable wires that can poke the inside of your mouth).
“It will take a couple of days to adjust to having something new,” Dr. Gill explains. “Just like when you get a new pair of glasses or start wearing a wristwatch, and it’s all you can pay attention to. But over time, you get acclimatized to them being there – it's the same thing with Invisalign. So, I always tell people that you have to bring your patience for the first couple of days. But once you get through that, it just becomes like any other thing on your body.”
You’ll have to stay on top of your calendar.
The fourth thing you should expect when you become an Invisalign patient? That you’ll have to stay on top of your schedule and calendar. This will be music to some peoples’ ears and bad news to others. Luckily, Invisalign has a handy app to help you stay on top of things!
The MyInvisalign app, available for iPhone and Android, has a variety of features to help you:
- Aligner time log. As we mentioned, you’ll be expected to wear your aligners for 22 hours a day. You can remove them for eating, drinking, and cleaning your teeth – but the rest of the time, they should be in (including while you sleep!). The aligner time log conveniently helps you keep track of how long your aligners have been out and when it’s time to put them back in.
- Calendar feature. Time to change your aligners. Time for a follow-up appointment. Time for your final appointment. There’s a lot to keep track of! The calendar feature in the MyInvisalign app helps you stay on top of every part of your treatment so you never miss something like important, like a tray change.
Of course, it isn’t required that you use the MyInvisalign app. Some people prefer to put reminders and appointments in their own calendar, their way. Regardless of how you decide to stay organized, you’ll want to have a scheduling method in mind so you can stay on top of your treatment.
You’ll be a happier, more confident you.
Last but not least, when you become an Invisalign patient... you can look forward to revealing a brilliant new smile! And a brilliant new smile means newfound confidence, happiness, and satisfaction with how you look.
Everyone’s teeth are unique, and a slight shift in the right direction can make a world of difference. According to Dr. Gill, the changes he sees in his patients post-treatment are one of the most rewarding parts of his job.
“We believe that having a great smile is literally life-changing,” he says. “When you have confidence, and you’re healthy, you can literally live to your full potential. For me, when someone walks in one day and they’re super shy and only smile with their mouth closed... and after treatment they’ve got this bright, wide smile, it’s a whole different person. A whole different energy comes out. And to be part of creating that for somebody is an awesome feeling.”
Am I A Good Candidate for Invisalign?
Now that you know what to expect when you choose Invisalign, you might be wondering how to find out if you’re a good candidate for treatment.
The easiest way is by booking a complimentary consultation with a dentist!
They’ll take the time to understand what you wish to achieve with Invisalign – whether that be straighter teeth, improving your bite, or any other aesthetic or functional concern you have in mind. Then, they’ll perform a 3D scan of your teeth using the iTero and give you an idea of what your treatment plan could look like.
If you’ve read this blog and decided that Invisalign might be right for you, we invite you to visit our Dental clinic at HealthOne! We have a team of experienced dentists who would love to speak more about what your smile transformation could look like.
There are lots of dentists in Toronto who can perform Invisalign treatment, but they also all have different experience levels. Dr. Sunny Gill is recognized as a Diamond+ Invisalign Provider, which puts him in the top 1% of Invisalign providers in North America!
Come experience the difference for yourself during a free consultation. Click here to book your appointment.
One Life. Live Inspired.