If you had braces as a teen, you know there’s nothing quite like the unbridled joy that comes when your braces are finally removed. You’re no longer a socially-awkward teen with a mouthful of metal! Unfortunately, the next step, wearing a retainer, can be almost as challenging. Metal retainers, like braces, are not particularly attractive. They’re tight, they can make speaking awkward, and they’re easy to misplace. If you stopped wearing your retainer shortly after you got your braces off, you’re not alone. For one reason or another, most young adults stop wearing removable retainers. A decade later, that bad habit can catch up with you. Your formerly straight teeth are crooked again. Can Invisalign save the day? Absolutely.
As we age, our teeth naturally shift back to their original positions. Crooked teeth increase the risk for TMJ problems, headaches, and underbites. Shifting teeth can pull away from the gums and in some cases, patients may even need a gum graft to stop the gum line from receding. Your teeth may also wear down and crack if they don’t line up properly. In addition to these oral health issues, crooked teeth can also hurt your confidence and self-esteem. You may be reluctant to smile or laugh for fear that co-workers, friends or a romantic partner see your teeth.
Invisalign After Braces: What to Expect
If you had braces when you were younger but your teeth have moved a bit and you’d like to re-straighten your teeth, Invisalign can help. Invisalign is a discreet solution that’s ideal for mild to moderate teeth straightening. Here’s what to expect:
- Shorter treatment than braces. Remember when you had braces and it felt like you had to wear those metal brackets for an eternity? Here’s the good news with Invisalign: if you already had braces and just need minor straightening, your treatment duration is generally shorter (12 to 18 months).
- Fewer in-office visits. With braces, most patients need to see their orthodontist every month to assess progress, have their wires tightened, and have their rubber bands changed. With Invisalign, you may only need to see your orthodontist every six to eight weeks. You will be given a set of plastic trays that you change every two weeks. The trays gradually shift your teeth a small amount each two-week period so over the course of treatment they move back to their correct alignment. Fewer in-office visits mean less time lost to appointments and less inconvenience on busy schedules.
- Discreet, effective treatment. The clear trays are virtually invisible so no one will know you’re wearing them. Unlike braces that can interfere with eating and oral hygiene, Invisalign trays can be removed quickly for meals and brushing teeth. With braces, everyone knows you’re wearing them. With Invisalign, treatment is discreet and effective. No one but you needs to know!
- Minor discomfort. Like with braces, you may experience some initial discomfort when you first start your Invisalign treatment and when you switch to a new tray. This discomfort typically fades within 24-hours. Invisalign trays are smooth and comfortable for daily wear. Unlike with braces, you won’t have to worry about metal brackets or wires cutting into your gums or getting food caught in them while eating.
As an adult, it can be frustrating to realize you need to straighten your teeth again, especially after wearing metal braces as a child. Taking steps now to re-align your teeth before more serious issues occur is critical, however. Invisalign is far more pleasant an experience than getting a gum graft because your teeth are pulling away from your gum line! Worse, studies show that crooked teeth can make at-home oral care more difficult, increasing your risk for tooth decay and other health problems. Invisalign is a discreet, affordable solution to give you the confident, healthy smile you deserve.