A bright smile with straight teeth can be as energizing as a sunny day — and it’s not hard to understand why. It's incredible how confident and attractive you can feel with straight teeth in comparison to when you had crooked teeth.
If you're considering orthodontic treatment to improve your smile, that's great news, you deserve the smile you always wanted! But before you book your first appointment, it's important that you do your research and ask the right questions. Here are six things to ask your dentist before straightening your teeth.
1. What are my options for straightening my teeth?
There are so many options out there for teeth straightening! Before you begin any treatment, let's have a look at what options are out there:
- Metal Braces: Traditional metal braces that are clearly visible.
- Ceramic Braces: Like traditional metal braces but slightly less noticeable.
- Lingual Braces: Metal braces that are fixed to the back of your teeth.
- Invisalign Clear Aligners: A series of virtually invisible, comfortable, removable aligners that gently straighten your teeth.
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces, but they're not your only option.
If you're looking for a more subtle way to straighten your teeth, Invisalign aligners might be the right choice for you. The Invisalign treatment uses a series of clear aligners that are virtually invisible when worn. They're also removable, so you can eat whatever you want and brush and floss your teeth as usual.
If you want information on Invisalign treatment or options for straightening your teeth, just ask your dentist - after all, they will be happy to share more!
2. How long will it take to straighten my teeth?
Everyone wants to have their new smile as soon as possible, but it's important to know that treatment time varies depending on the severity of your case, and the method you use.
Multiple studies have found that Invisalign treatment completed 5 months faster on average than treatment with braces1.
With Invisalign treatment, you can expect an average treatment time of 12-18 months2 and it can be as little as six months3 for mild cases. You should start seeing results within the first few weeks!
Be sure to ask your dentist how long they estimate it will take to straighten your teeth before beginning any treatment — that way you'll have clear expectations on the road to your new smile. If you don’t like guesswork, Invisalign clear aligners’ cutting-edge technology means more predictability4 in treatment time and outcome.
3. Can I see examples of teeth straightening results of cases similar to mine?
Once you've decided on the method you want to use to straighten your teeth, be sure to ask your dentist if they can show you the results of cases similar to yours. This will give you an idea of what your smile could look like at the end of the teeth straightening treatment and help you better understand the process.
If you choose Invisalign treatment as your method of teeth straightening, your dentist will be able to show you a digital 3D simulation of what your new smile may look like after treatment. This is made possible by Invisalign's Outcome Simulator, which uses the iTero intraoral scanner’s cutting edge technology to create the simulation of your new smile. The iTero scanner can also show you a glimpse of your oral health*!
4. Will I need to make changes to my lifestyle while straightening my teeth?
Many people want to know if they will need to make changes in their eating, hygiene, or exercise habits while getting their teeth straightened. The answer really depends on what method you choose to straighten your teeth.If you choose metal braces, you will need to be careful about what you eat and drink, as sugary and sticky foods can damage the brackets and wires of your braces and if not cleaned properly, you can risk damaging your teeth and gums too5. You will also need to take extra care when brushing your teeth so as not to damage your braces.
If you opt for Invisalign clear aligners on the other hand, there are generally no such restrictions — you can eat whatever you want and brush and floss your teeth normally. That's because Invisalign aligners are removable, so you can take them out whenever you need to eat or brush your teeth, meaning less plaque, and better overall oral health.6
The Invisalign process is also a great choice for people who play sports, as there is no risk of braces wires getting damaged or causing injury, so there will be fewer emergency doctor visits.
Be sure to ask your dentist about what lifestyle changes you will need to make before beginning any treatment.
5. How often will I have to visit the dentist while getting my teeth straightened?
How often you visit your dentist while getting your teeth straightened will also depend on the method you choose to straighten your teeth.
If you have metal braces, you will need to visit your dentist every three to four weeks for adjustments. During each visit, your dentist will likely tighten your braces to help your teeth move into their correct position. The process of tightening your braces usually involves tightening or changing the springs, wires, or elastic bands to increase the tautness needed to straighten your teeth.
If you have Invisalign aligners, on the other hand, you will need to visit your dentist six to eight weeks. Most appointments can also be done virtually with Invisalign Virtual Care and Virtual Appointment tools, which allows doctors to virtually monitor your Invisalign treatment between in-office visits by reviewing photos that you submit through the My Invisalign app.
It's also worth noting that if you choose Invisalign treatment, your dentist will be with you at every stage of your smile journey. This is opposed to some other clear aligner brands, where you might deal with the brand's customer support team before your dentist.
6. Am I too old to get my teeth straightened?
People of all ages are getting their teeth straightened — it's never too late to get the smile you've always wanted! Generally speaking, the process of getting your teeth straightened as an adult is very similar to that of a teenager or child, so you won’t need to do anything special if you’re an adult seeking Invisalign treatment.
As an adult, you will also probably want to consider the appearance of your teeth straightening method. While many people may not want to be seen with very obvious metal braces, Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible, so no one will even know you're wearing them unless you tell them! Fun fact: The Invisalign system also offers Invisalign First for kids aged 6 to 10, to get a head start towards a brighter smile even if they have a mix of baby and permanent teeth.
Straightening your teeth can have a number of wonderful benefits, from improving your oral health to boosting your confidence every day — it really can change your life. If you're thinking about getting your teeth straightened, be sure to ask your dentist these six important questions first.
If you’d like to find an Invisalign doctor near you, please check out our Find a Doctor page.
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