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Tips for Invisalign (Invisible) Braces

What you Need to Know

Are you one of the many individuals choosing the option of wearing invisible braces for straightening your teeth?

Known by their brand name, Invisalign®, these popular clear braces are the new modern way for your dentist to rearrange crooked, misaligned teeth.

Although, this modern choice for braces seems like a miracle solution for those who would rather have their teeth straightened discreetly, it nonetheless comes with its own set of complications that we will address today.

Like anything that is accomplished over a period of time, there is a process involved which takes time to become accustomed to. Understanding and dedicating yourself to this process will help you achieve the end results you are looking for.

 

How does Invisalign work?

Patients wear a series of clear, plastic, custom-made trays over their teeth 20 to 22 hours a day. This leaves you with 2 – 4 hours for eating and oral hygiene. Each set of trays are designed to gently exert pressure on the teeth to rearrange their positions. As teeth move, the trays are replaced with new ones every two to three weeks until treatment is complete.

 

Wearing Time

wearing-timeInvisalign are worn almost all day long – 20 to 22 hours – everyday. The trays are changed every 2-3 weeks to accommodate tooth movement depending on the complexity of treatment and wearing time may be evaluated as treatment progresses.  You will be shortchanging yourself in terms of time and money if you neglect to understand the importance of the mandatory wearing time.

Pros: By wearing them for the recommended time, your teeth will move as expected and your aligning trays  will not feel uncomfortable doing movement.

Cons: If you leave your aligners off for extended periods of time, they will feel tighter and more uncomfortable when you put them on your teeth again. If you do not commit to wearing them for the recommended hours per day, treatment time will take longer than initially planned and you may not get the results you were hoping for.

Cleaning

For the health of your teeth, gums and other parts of your mouth, cleaning your aligners throughout the day, especially after eating, is an essential part of treatment.

Pros: The upside to keeping your aligners clean is a healthy mouth.

Cons: Bacteria, plaque, food debris and  staining can easily accumulate unnoticeably if you forget to keep your trays clean. Dirty trays can lead to sore and bleeding gums, tooth decay, bad breath, tooth stains and sore throats. Your dentist will advise you on how to keep your trays clean. One patient told us that they use Listerine to rinse their trays after cleaning as it stains any residue or buildup that was not cleaned off.

 

A higher risk of Tooth Decay is one of the major
drawbacks of Invisalign

Cavities

When you decide that you want great looking teeth, you are making an considerable investment in time, money, and most importantly, in your personal appearance and the health of your teeth. Your journey with orthodontic braces requires you to make a commitment, not only to the process of wearing and caring for your trays, but to being diligent about your oral hygiene.

Pros: Caring for your trays and your teeth during the process will ensure that your new smile is a healthy one!

Cons: If you have found that avoiding cavities in the past has been a challenge for you, wearing clear braces will only complicate your efforts. Saliva cannot get to the tooth surfaces to naturally cleanse your teeth when they are covered with the trays all day long. Tooth decay is one major drawback to these braces and there have been many, many, disastrous cases where patients have not only achieved the straight teeth they were dreaming of, but a mouth full of cavities also! You MUST understand that there is a high incidence of tooth decay that can occur with covering your teeth for upwards of 22 hours a day if you do not have a strict oral hygiene routine.

 

Eating

You have to remove your trays to eat then clean your teeth and trays before placing them back on again.

Pros: Confining your eating to 3 square meals a day will certainly help with the habit of snacking and the consequence of cavities that result from frequent eating. If the idea of losing weight and eating more healthy appeals to you, this will be a good opportunity to arrange how you will implement your plan during the Invisalign process.

Cons: There will be little or no time for snacking when wearing clear braces. The time you take to snack will take away from the mandatory wearing time and you must make time to clean your teeth and the braces properly after eating. This will be a huge adjustment for many people which can result in some weight loss. You may need to adjust your caloric intake accordingly when you are eating a full meal and preplanning is beneficial. People who have medical issues where meals are a significant factor, like diabetes, should discuss the use of Invisalign with their physician before committing to the process. You should also be aware that during tooth movement your bite will likely not line up properly which can make your chewing feel “off.” You may have to get in the habit of chewing slowly and carefully.

Note: Drinking – Some people may tell you that it’s okay to drink any liquids during wearing time without having to remove your braces, but only regular water is safe. Other beverages usually contain the sugars and acids that can break down enamel and over the time of treatment can result in tooth decay. The clear braces also stain and pick up odours easily.

 

Habits

Chewing – Some people have the urge to chew on these clear braces simply because there is something new and constant over the teeth. Chewing can roughen up the surface material, but the trays are replaced every couple of weeks so it usually doesn’t damage or affect effectiveness of the trays. In time, you may become used to wearing them and this adaption may help reduce this chewing habit.

clenchClenching and Grinding  Again, if you suffer from clenching and grinding, it will likely not damage the trays before they have to be replaced again, in fact, some orthodontists say that the constant pressing down on the trays can actually help the teeth move more efficiently. However, some people exert such heavy forces during this habit that it may affect the trays somewhat. While others with existing TMJ issues say that wearing the trays tend to aggravate the condition. Speak to your provider about this before deciding on this type of orthodontia. If you typically wear a night guard for your grinding habit, you will not be able to during your Invisalign treatment.

Note: If your trays begin feeling loose towards the end of each two week period, it is usually not an issue and is actually a sign that your teeth have moved into their new positions. Habits like chewing, grinding and clenching may make them feel looser, but usually not to the extreme that it could affect the effectiveness of the trays.

 

Oral habits – Feeling and probing the retainers with your tongue or heavy muscular action using the insides of your mouth can cause tissue irritation. Resist the habits of developing any oral fixations and before long you will not even notice the trays in your mouth.

Drooling – Some patients report excessive saliva when wearing the trays. This can be difficult especially since the urge to suction the saliva using the mouth muscles then swallowing or spitting out can become annoying. If you find yourself drooling at night, just place a towel over your pillow. It is normal for your mouth to treat the trays as something foreign and produce excess saliva to dispel the object. Overtime this should become less of an issue

Lisping – Speaking can be difficult when you are first becoming accustomed to the new trays. This will subside within time if you try hard to be deliberate and slower with your speech and become conscientious every time you notice yourself slipping into this lisping habit.

 

Movement

r23-jessicaPros – Teeth tend to move more quickly with Invisalign than with traditional braces. This shortens the overall treatment time so that you can enjoy the benefits of straight and aligned teeth sooner.

Cons – There is a balance that must be considered when moving teeth so that the roots of the teeth do not shrink away. The roots of the teeth are important as they anchor and hold your teeth in your jawbone. If they wear away, your teeth will become loose and mobile. Your dentist may suggest that you have x-rays taken periodically so that the health of your roots can be monitored.

 

Other Considerations

headache-14344661Tension – Some people develop sore jaws and tension headaches since the jaws do not match up during tooth movement and their teeth are not settled into the bite they have become accustomed to over the years. You can massage and/or place ice packs wrapped in a towel over the affected areas in a 20 minute on/off cycle to help reduce aches and inflammation. Switching to your new trays before you go to bed along with an ibuprofen is also a good idea. Speak to your dentist if the aches persists so that a pain relief can be suggested and treatment can be re-evaluated.

Locked jaws – Again, because the bite is ever changing, your jaw muscles and joints can become affected – even locking sometimes. Invisalign treatment can also aggravate a pre-existing TMJ issue. Massages and ibuprofens can reduce the tensions and inflammation that can cause this to occur, but you need to bring this situation to the attention of your dentist for evaluation.

Dry Mouth/Chapped lips – While some people develop excessive drool, others find their mouths have become dry and irritated. This can cause mouth sores, chapped lips and increase the likelihood of tooth decay. Using a lip moisturizer, drinking a lot of water and/or chewing sugar-free gum may help.

Mouth sores – The mouth can become irritated and develop sores if your oral hygiene is poor, your mouth is dry, your trays are dirty or from tissue action against the trays. Sometimes the trays need to be trimmed if there is some excess material that is irritating your mouth tissues. You can file these area down at home if you are careful and don’t overdo it. Bring it to the attention of your dentist so the source of your irritation can be addressed or oral hygiene instructions can be reviewed.

Lastly…

The great thing about Invisalign is that you can get great looking teeth without anyone knowing that you’re wearing braces, but you must do your homework and be truthful with yourself about your ability to commit to the treatment recommendations. Nothing worth having comes easy! Weighing the above pros and cons will help you decide if you are a good candidate for these types of braces.

It is also important to choose your healthcare provider carefully. The movement of teeth is very complex in terms of the physical, biochemical, and cellular processes that take place. Treatment requires the care of a competent dentist who has the education and experience to move things along with careful planning and consideration of all the likely variables.

 A lot can go wrong in a short time if you are tempted by a quick fix with a cheap price tag!
Educate Yourself!

.

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Fake Braces: Life Hack or Life Threatening?

Brace Yourself for this…

If you were to search the words, “fake braces” on you tube you would get 39,000 hits!

DIY dentistryHave you ever even heard of fake braces?

No? Well, neither did any of our patients when we asked, but it’s a growing trend!

There is an enormous market for knock-off braces and people worldwide have taken a shine to what used to be an embarrassing rite of passage for most kids. While some people are truly looking for a cost-free life hack to eliminate the gaps between their teeth, others are hoping to add a little fashion to their smile.

#hackjob

For years now, orthodontia has been seen as somewhat of a status symbol with many kids believing that they are a sign of wealth or are a way of putting a “geek is the new chic” spin on their looks. This life hack, however, can cause just that … a hack job on your teeth and gums!

No Limit to the Imagination

8-17-2015 10-31-04 AMKids are very imaginative with their DIY ideas and are using all kinds of novel methods to get the results and look they are aiming for ~ rubber bands, coloured elastics, bobby pins, paper clips, earring backs, string, fishing line ~ you name it! Fake braces kits are also available online in a variety of colours and designs with some people resorting to using crazy glue to cement the appliance to their teeth for better adhesion and elastics to force their teeth together and rid their smiles of the gap tooth look.

Dangerous Trend

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that requires additional schooling after receiving a dental degree. It requires a particular set of skills and experience that takes into careful consideration how very attentive one must be when moving teeth through bone. Non-medical orthodontic braces can pose a serious health risk for wearers.

Taking your smile into your own hands…
 31-08-2015 11-09-23 AM

What Damage Can Occur?

Bone and Tooth Resorption – Resorption is a process by which something wears away usually due to forces upon it. The greater the force – the higher the rate of wear. The movement process, if done incorrectly or too quickly, can cause too much bone and even the root of the tooth to wear away.

Dead Teeth – Each tooth has blood, lymph and nerve vessels that enter at the end of each root to keep the tooth nourished and vital. This supply can be damaged and possibly cut off during DIY tooth movement causing the teeth to die. Infection and loose teeth can eventually occur.

Loose Teeth – Placing rubber bands around teeth can bring teeth quickly together, but they can also damage bone and soft tissue in the process. It used to be a dental technique used by dentists to help teeth they plan to extract to loosen up faster.  The bone that surrounds each tooth is not very thick. Too much movement in the wrong direction can actually cause so much bone destruction and in such a quick amount of time that it completely wears away. The tooth loses its greatest support feature and becomes very loose.

123123144-1231

Photo from manubaydental.com

Fenestration/Tooth Extrusion – This photo shows a very dangerous situation that can occur whereby the bone is worn away and the tooth makes its way through the gum tissue and is exposed.

Decay –  With the increased accumulation of food and plaque around the braces, decalcification and decay becomes a very serious issue. As such, the health of teeth is closely monitored during orthodontia. If the patient does not keep the area around their braces clean and the dentist can see serious signs of enamel damage, often times the braces are removed ahead of schedule to prevent further damage.

Discoloured Teeth – Damage to the interior blood, lymph and nerve supply can cause the teeth to discolour and turn grey to black.

Poisoning – The danger of poisoning from cheap metals containing unsafe or toxic material like lead should be a big concern for those considering using these products in the mouth.

Choking – Some of the materials used to make fake braces have tiny parts that can loosen easily and break off. If swallowed, choking or entry into the lungs can occur.

Gum Damage – Using metal wires that are fastened to the tooth with glue or wax can loosen and pierce into or stick under the gums causing bleeding, inflammation or infection. Winding string or elastic bands around teeth can create wear marks into the enamel and/or become lodged under the gums.

Very little to Smile about…

The Your Smile Dental Care team want you to know that braces are an important measure in correcting misaligned teeth and improper jaw relationships, but resorting to desperate DIY measures to move or accessorize your teeth can result in tremendous costs in terms of damage and dental treatments fees for repair. You can lose the teeth you’re craving to beautify and that could leave you with very little to smile about!

31-08-2015 3-08-30 PMThe good news is that some countries are now cracking down on this trend after the death of two teens in Thailand and are now doling out fines and even imprisonment for vendors who sell fake braces. However, warning needs to get out to those that are using their own DIY methods.

If your teeth are in need of some corrective measures, we strongly urge you to consult a professional. Many people do not realize that payments for orthodontic treatment is spaced out monthly over the entire course of treatment. This makes budgeting for braces more affordable and convenient. If you are using fake braces/retainers to just enhance your appearance, please know and understand the risks you are taking.

Referrals

If you have been wearing your own braces and are starting to notice some signs of damage don’t be embarrassed to call us right away! We’ve seen it all and are here to help you. Think you would benefit from braces and are looking for a good orthodontist in the Toronto or Durham region? We would be happy to discuss your “specific to you” issues and make a referral for you.

Your in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www. yoursmiledentalcare.com
info@yoursmiledentalcare.com