Invisalign® is a series of clear, removable aligners that are used to straighten your teeth; these are used instead of conventional braces. Invisalign® is a very popular option our adult patients tend to be interested in, particularly as it tends to be very discreet aesthetically. It can also be flexible with special occasions coming up, for example, a wedding, birthday celebrations, etc. The Invisalign® aligner can be removed for the day and replaced that night at bedtime; this done sparingly can help overcome some of the hurdles our adult patients have.
Our Product Quality Guarantee – We are selective and trust in the products we use and will replace fractured aligners at no charge to you, if required.
Some other common questions our patient seek are listed below.
Can Clear Aligners achieve the same result as braces?
This needs to be examined on a case by case basis. There are certain medical and dental teeth conditions where clear is better suited for a patient than braces.
If there are large spaces to close, braces can be more effective. There are some cases where we use a combination of clear and braces to speed up treatment time and to keep the tooth movements very precise; the braces are only usually attached to the back teeth and hence not seen when talking and smiling.
In the instance that braces are better suited to treating your condition, we’ll discuss this with you at your initial consultation and also provide some other options which may interest you, clear braces or lingual braces, which are braces that sit on the inside of your teeth.
How does Clear Aligners compare to braces?
The clear aligners are removed when eating thereby allowing maximum flexibility with eating. This differs from fixed braces where care with eating is required and hard foods have to be avoided or modified in the way they are eaten ie: cutting apples into wedges before they are consumed.
In addition, the clear aligners are removed when cleaning your teeth, making this process a breeze compared to tooth brushing and using floss with braces. Unlike braces, the clear aligners do not have any projecting hooks, and are thinner than the width of the mini-braces that we use, so our patients universally find clear to be a very comfortable appliance, more so than braces.
Will Clear Aligners affect my speaking?
There can be some slight speech changes with the ‘s’and ‘th’sounds after the clear aligners are first fitted. This quickly returns to normal within a few days as the aligners mainly only cover your teeth surfaces and do not extend onto the gums. If you are concerned with this aspect, you may arrange to have the 1st series of the clear aligners fitted at the end of your work week.
What is a Clincheck?
With the clear option, we are able to estimate what your new smile will look like at any particular point in time, prior to the actual clear aligners being made. This is through the Clincheck- a computerized sequential projection of the planned teeth movements, which we will send to you, which shows the position and duration of any tooth coloured attachments, elastics, projected outcome and the need for any auxiliary orthodontic treatment.
I am looking for the fastest treatment time possible, what are my options?
There are some options that Dr. Chang or our Treatment Coordinators can discuss with you at your consultation. An appliance called a BitePod/Accelerdent is a vibrating mouthpiece that can help to reduce treatment duration with your aligners, as well as reducing the discomfort associated with changing your aligners. The vibrating mouthpiece also helps to seat the aligners better, which ensures your treatment continues to track smoothly and on time.
What happens if I break or lose my aligners?
Accidents happen; we get it.
If you lose or break your aligner, kindly call the practice and we can inform you of the best course of action. We’re also available on Facebook to message; through this method, you’ll be able to send a photo. Link to facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SmilesandFaces/
We don’t recommend moving on to your next aligner or back to a previous one until we can gauge how many days you’ve been in your current aligner, try to establish how the fit was and a couple of other factors, so before proceeding, please speak to one of our friendly staff .
Remind me again.. What do I do?
Everyone walks a different orthodontic journey, so the instructions here are generic and are given to most patients. If the information below doesn’t fit what you’ve be told, don’t be concerned, and remember, if you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our friendly staff.
Typical Invisalign ® Instructions:
Wear each aligner for 22 hours a day
Remove your aligners to eat and drink, unless its plain cold water
Use your chewies daily, especially at the start of a new aligner
If your aligners aren’t in your mouth, put them in your case. This will prevent accidental loss of aligners, i.e. getting wrapped in tissues/napkins and being thrown out
Keep all your old aligners in a safe place
Clean your aligners with liquid handsoap, a whitening mouthwash or a ‘Polident’ denture cleaning tablet. Only clean your aligners with cold water, as hot water can disfigure them
Where possible brush and floss your teeth before placing your aligners in after eating
Tips on Keeping Your Aligners Clean
It is important to stay on top of cleaning your aligners to keep them clean and prevent them from staining or turning yellow and getting bad odour. Cleaning your aligners well will also help your teeth and mouth to stay healthy.
Here are some tips on how to clean your aligners:
Make sure that you brush your teeth at least 2 times a day and floss daily.
It is also best to brush your teeth and your aligners after each meal. If food and plaque are trapped in your teeth and aligners, there is a risk of getting tooth and gum problems as well as bad breath. So it is a good idea to keep them clean all the time.
Use Listerine Whitening Mouthwash and cold water to brush and clean your aligners. This mouthwash will prevent your aligners staining or turning yellow. It also contains hydrogen peroxide which destroys bacteria that cause bad breath.
If you find you’re out and about at work/school/travelling, it’s a good idea to bring along a spray bottle (you can buy this at the shops as part of a travel kit). Fill it up with the Listerine Mouthwash. To clean your aligners, simply spray your aligners and brush it if you have your brush with you, otherwise rinse it with cold water. Again this will help prevent malodour or bad breath especially that you wear your aligner for about 22hrs per day.
Use a cleansing denture tablet such as Polident Denture Cleanser once a week. The Polident Fresh Active Express tablet can clean your aligners in 3 minutes, keeping your aligners clean and fresh.
For a demonstration of how to clean your aligners, watch a video of this here.
3 Tips to Finish Your Treatment On Time
Remember your aligners are custom made plates and are generally are changed every 2 weeks. They are removed when eating and placed straight back on.
We get lots of questions asked by teenagers and young adults about clear aligner treatment: What are the ways that I can speed up my orthodontic treatment, so that I can complete my Clear Aligner orthodontic treatment on time?
Full Time Wear ie: 22 Hours a Day
So in regards to in the invisible braces treatment, the first tip, and probably one of the most important tip: Wearing the aligners fulltime. It is recommended that you wear them for 22 hours a day; which only really allows you to take them out when you are eating or brushing your teeth. If you like eating small but frequent snacks, you can keep your aligners in when you are eating.
If you are finding it a bit awkward removing the aligners before eating and then putting them back in again, you may eat with the aligners in. Sometimes with the aligners, particularly when you have the hard crunchy foods you would have to be a bit more wary, because they could potentially crack your aligners. Other than that, if you are having a sandwich, pasta or a stir-fry, you could keep your invisalign aligners in. They are generally changed every 2 weeks, so the risk of them cracking or breaking, even if you eat with them in, is low. You may find though that when you eat or drink any coloured foods/liquids the fluids can go beneath the aligner so you may need to excuse yourself and take out the aligners and rinse them before you put them back in.
What happens if I do not make the 22 hours a day?
Most of our patients who are wearing aligners are young adults who have busy lifestyles and they may have an important meeting or function where they need to remove the aligners. While we don’t encourage this routinely, if you do ever have to remove your aligners, it is important that you make up for this by increasing the total number of days you wear that aligner before advancing to the next on in the series. For example, let’s say that you have an important speech or meeting with your client and you would have to take out the aligners, if you wear them for less than 22 hours that day, you would want to add one more day to this set before advancing to the next. With that in mind, never wear them for less than 12 hours a day, if you do ever have to do that, there is that risk that your teeth may not move as the aligner intended.
Are there any changes to speech after having the aligners fitted?
I would just like to make a point about taking out your aligners when you just start the number 1 of your series of aligners; there may be some slight speech alterations, particularly with the “s” and the “th” sounds for the first couple of days. However, the feedback that we get from our patients is that speech almost always returns to normal within a couple of days. So taking out the invisalign aligners on the basis of speech really shouldn’t be a problem other than in the very early stages of your orthodontic treatment.
Using aligner chewies
Now in regards to the second must have tip to completing your aligner treatment on time: Aligner chewies. For those that are considering aligner treatment, aligner chewies are basically like chewing gum but they don’t degrade, they are ”chewing gum” in the shape of a cotton roll. They don’t absorb saliva so they are easy to wash after you use. You really want to use these aligner chewies for 10-20 minutes every evening, particularly in that first week when you change your new set of aligners. After you use each chewy, just rinse it out with some water and put it back inside the bag. Because they are essential to the progress of your clear aligner treatment, we provide them as part of your orthodontic treatment.
Using elastic bands as requested by Dr Chang
The last tip is wearing any elastic bands as instructed. These elastic bands go from the top to the bottom, they usually are attached to the plate or some buttons attached to your back teeth. They are not worn by all patients; this would be discussed with you at the Clincheck appointment. They are usually intended to assist with moving your teeth. Generally, with these elastic bands, in most instances with aligner treatment you would wear them full-time initially. If they are worn properly and well, we may reduce the wear to part-time wear or you may not need to wear them anymore.
To sum it up, the three tips to completing aligner treatment on time:
Wearing the aligners full-time (22 hours a day)
Using the aligner chewies to help the aligners fit very snugly around the teeth
For patients that are required to wear elastics, wearing them as instructed, which is usually full-time.
Retainers: Life after Invisalign or Clear Aligners
We generally provide Fixed and Removable Orthodontic Retainers as part of your orthodontic treatment. After we issue your retainers, we follow you up for another 12 months to make sure that the retainers are fitting well, all intact and that your teeth have not moved.
Fixed Retainers Fixed Retainers are permanent wires bonded or “glued” on the inside surface of the front teeth and therefore not visible. This is one of the best ways to prevent your teeth shifting as they are permanently attached. They are comfortable and if are kept clean with normal brushing and flossing as well as visiting your Dentist for regular cleans, they are not likely to cause tooth or gum disease. During your follow-up retainer checks, we make sure that your fixed retainers are intact.
Removable Retainers On top of the fixed retainer, we also provide clear removable retainers that fits over the entire arch of the teeth. They are easy to wear and are nearly invisible! It is important that these retainers are worn as instructed. They must be worn frequently enough and for long enough to keep the retainers fit comfortably. If they are left out of the mouth for too long, teeth will sometimes start to move and if this occurs, some discomfort or tightness may be experienced the next time the retainer is worn. In this case, retainers must be we worn more often and should be checked for fit in our office.
We Want You to have that Smile for Life!
Who wouldn’t like to keep that straight teeth and smile for life? After all you have worked hard during your orthodontic treatment. It is therefore important that you wear your retainers as instructed and attend your follow-up retainer checks to make sure that everything is going well.
If taken good care of, your removable retainers can last you a few years. However overtime, retainers can wear down or break and will need to be replaced. We have also seen patients who have unfortunately lost their retainers for eg. while on holidays or whose retainers have been chewed/eaten by their pets. It’s a good idea then to have a spare set of retainers to help ensure that your teeth are kept in position.
Wisdom teeth: “Can I Keep ‘Em??”
First and foremost, it is important to know if you have wisdom teeth or not. Not everyone has all four of their wisdom teeth and other people may have one, two or only three.
If you do have wisdom teeth, it’s not all doom and gloom; they might not need to be removed and every single patient is different. The deciding factor on keeping your wisdom teeth is if you have enough room in your jaw for them to fully erupt and for them to become ‘functional’ – that is, use them to eat with.
If you do NOT have room for your wisdom teeth, they may be termed ‘impacted’. If your wisdom teeth are impacted and sore, it is generally advisable to have them removed; please note this will be discussed on a case-by-case scenario.
Please speak to Dr. Chang for the treatment that is best for you.
I Grind my Teeth… What are my options?
*This is the audio version of the transcript if listening is a preference over reading.
After braces are removed, removable clear plastic retainers are issued as part of your treatment to help keep the teeth straight. In some instances, a Retainer Splint may be recommended by Dr. Chang. This is ideal particularly for patients who grind or clench their teeth. Some signs and symptoms of grinding or clenching include making teeth noises at night, waking up with tender jaw muscles or headache in the morning and worn down teeth. Teeth that continue to wear down from the force of grinding and clenching are at risk of becoming sensitive overtime, and may be prone to fracture. Jaw joint problems may also develop from grinding and clenching.
The Retainer Splint is made of a durable acrylic material and is ideal for long term use to protect teeth from wearing down from grinding and clenching. It also helps to keep the teeth straight. Dr. Chang will advise you if this is suitable for you or your child.
If you are concerned about grinding or clenching or experience any jaw pain or discomfort, please do not hesitate to approach our staff or contact us on 8814 9941 or [email protected]. We can provide you with tips and guide you to get the treatment you need.