Dr. Kristin Bae, of the Dulles Dental Group, is a certified Invisalign® provider for this unique system of dental braces; now available to the residents of Centerville, Virginia.
Invisalign Q & A
Do I Need Braces?
Whether patients are teenagers or adults, there is no question that braces can improve the look of their smile. What’s more important, however, is that braces improve the function of their mouth and their oral health. Teeth that are jammed closely together are harder to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Crooked teeth are also more likely to wear unevenly or to affect the bite, and may cause jaw pain.
Braces or Invisalign?
Both conventional braces and Invisalign will result in nice, straight teeth. They are very different systems, however. Conventional braces are primarily metal, although they may also have some plastic parts. The metal brackets are attached to the teeth and connected with wires and/or rubber bands. Invisalign is a custom-made plastic device (called an aligner) that fits over teeth. The plastic is clear and not very noticeable, and many people may not even be aware patients are wearing braces.
What Are the Advantages of Invisalign?
One of the nicest things about the Invisalign system is the ability to remove the aligner to clean the teeth or to eat. Conventional braces, on the other hand, go on and stay on. Invisalign is made from smooth plastic, with no wires to break and poke patients and no sore spots on gums. Since patients can take the aligner out, they don’t need to avoid certain foods such as popcorn (which can break a wire on conventional braces). Invisalign braces don’t usually need adjusting as often as conventional braces, and appointments are every six weeks instead of three.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign is made from a computer-generated system based on models the dentist makes of the teeth. Pictures of the patient’s teeth are fed into the software, which creates 3-D models of their teeth and the different aligners. Each of the series of aligners is slightly different to gradually move the teeth into the right position. Patients will spend about 20 hours a day in their aligners (taking it out for meals and for oral hygiene). They will switch to a new aligner every few weeks.