Before we talk about Invisalign, let's talk about how teeth move. When you think of teeth moving, you used to only think of braces or what we call fixed orthodontics. In order for teeth to move, a constant steady force has to be applied to them. With fixed orthodontics, a small metal or ceramic bracket is bonded to the front surface of each tooth. The purpose of this bracket is to act as a handle of sorts to apply force to the tooth. The bracket is acted upon by either a wire that is run through it or small elastic bands that are wrapped around it. So when someone has a bracket on each tooth, the wire or elastics that connect all the brackets create forces in different directions that will move the teeth slowly over time. As the wire and elastics complete their job, the patient comes into the office every month or so to have the wires and elastics either adjusted or replaced with something different so that new forces can be placed to continue treatment. For years, fixed ortho was the only way to complete comprehensive treatment.
Then around 2000, Align Technology, Inc. created a tech they called Invisalign. It was a series of plastic aligners, custom fit plastic trays that acted much like frames in a movie or cartoon, each one causing just a tiny bit of movement and then the next in the series placed to create a little more and on and on until the result was achieved. The challenges in the beginning with Invisalign were that because the force was being applied with plastic, it was limited and some movements were not predictably happening to require the doctor to use braces anyway to achieve the desired result. This is not the case today. Invisalign has advanced to the point that almost any case that can be done with braces can also be done with Invisalign in the roughly the same treatment time and at the same cost. So while fixed ortho is still the preferred method of treatment for many doctors who are just comfortable with the system and also enjoy the lower cost to them of using fixed ortho, for those doctors that don't mind the extra expense of Invisalign to them, they are able to offer their patients the same result in the same time at the same cost to the patient.
The first step with Invisalign is the consultation. At this time, the doctor will determine the approximate treatment duration. This is important because Invisalign has several pricing tiers, 5 aligners, 10 aligners, 14 aligners and anything over 14 aligners. Once the doctor estimates the treatment time, the fee can be quoted. If the patient agrees, then records must be taken. Records consist of taking 8 photos of the patient and then taking intraoral scans of their upper and lower teeth. We do not take impressions as we have an intraoral scanner. Once those are sent to Invisalign, it takes around 3-4 weeks to design, fabricate and ship the aligners. We are then ready to schedule the "start" appointment which takes around 20 minutes.
At the start appointment, we will place a few small "buttons" or attachments to several of the teeth. These are very small teardrop-shaped bumps that are placed on a few of the teeth and are made of white filling material. They go on the teeth not in the teeth like a filling so no drilling is required. The purpose of buttons is to act as points of anchorage and leverage for the aligners. We then deliver the first 4 aligners. Each aligner is worn for 20+ hours a day for two weeks. The only time they would be out of the mouth is during eating or brushing. The patient then switches to 2, 3, and 4 every two weeks until they are ready 8 weeks later for the next 4. This process continues until the desired result is achieved and at that time, we determine what type of retention we are going to use. Retention is very important. Teeth that are moved will always try to move back. Retention is usually achieved by the use of removable retainers that are worn at night but there are other options depending on the patient's other habits and lifestyle.
During your initial visit, Dr. Stanton will meet with you to discuss your concerns and unique needs. He will perform a thorough assessment of your dental health, including options to improve the appearance of your smile. As a top Fort Lauderdale veneers dentist, Dr. Stanton uses only the most state-of-the-art materials and methods to place veneers. He has spent decades perfecting his approach, ensuring that he meets patients' needs and provides them with a transformative experience.
A Customized Approach Sets Dr. Stanton Apart
We have been performing Invisalign since 2002 and have completed many cases of all types from simple to very complex, two months to three years. We also take advantage of Invisalign's four pricing tiers by managing the patients' treatment into the shortest most efficient term to get them the result they want with the lowest possible fee. We also offer every retention choice, not just our favorite.
We match the retention method with the patient's lifestyle so they will comfortable and predictable comply with the retention and avoid a relapse. It is attention to the small details that create an efficient ortho procedure with good results that are held in place for a lifetime.