How does Invisalign treatment work?
What to expect during Invisalign treatment at Fulham Road Dental
You’ve decided you would like to go ahead with Invisalign treatment to help improve your smile. What does the Invisalign treatment involve? What can you expect during the process? How long will it all take? These are common questions we hear from our patients when discussing Invisalign, so we have put this blog post together to help you understand the whole process at Fulham Road Dental, and what lies ahead in your smile journey.
Step 1: Are you suitable for treatment? – The virtual consultation
The first step is for us to understand what you would like to change about your smile. Is it the position of the teeth? Are they crooked or crowded, are there gaps present, would you like a wider smile? These are cosmetic aspects that can often be improved by moving the teeth into a more desirable position using treatments such as Invisalign or fixed braces.
However, the best treatment for you is the one that considers the health and position of the teeth as they are now, what you would like to achieve with your smile, and lifestyle factors. These are things that we discuss with you in detail during your virtual consultation. We ask you to submit some photographs of your smile ahead of the appointment for us to review beforehand.
Then during your virtual consultation, we discuss these photographs together on screen, along with your cosmetic goals and your lifestyle. During this appointment we can give you general advice about the Invisalign system, and we discuss any observations we can see regarding your teeth and gums from the photographs.
Step 2: Your oral health check & smile simulation – Visit us at the practice
The next step is to visit us in practice for a full oral health review followed by a consultation with us in person. We always ensure your teeth, gums, jaws and soft tissues of the mouth are healthy prior to starting Invisalign treatment, or any other treatments to improve the appearance of your smile.
During your oral health check and Invisalign consultation we examine the mouth, then take photographs of your smile, any necessary x-rays and a digital scan of your teeth. We use the iTero digital scanner to carry out a smile simulation to show you what your teeth could look like at the end of Invisalign treatment. This is a great way to get a glimpse of your future smile in a visual way. We also use this appointment and the smile simulation to discuss the shape and colour of your teeth. These may be aspects you would like to change and therefore we plan this all at the start.
Generally, most patients we see are suitable for Invisalign. Occasionally we find something during the oral health check or on the x-rays that means this is not a suitable treatment option. If that is the case, we will discuss other treatment options with you and give you the information you need to decide on your next steps.
Step 3 – Let’s plan your new smile
If you decide you would like to go ahead with Invisalign treatment, we then send your scan and photographs to Invisalign and they send back a digital model of your teeth. We will use this to plan your final smile taking into account all of the cosmetic factors we have discussed, and the findings from your oral health check, including your gum health and jaw measurements.
This digital plan is then discussed with you in detail to ensure you are happy with the planned outcome and are happy to start treatment. At this stage we can also give you an estimate of the overall treatment length based on the digital plan.
Step 4 – Starting your Invisalign treatment
Once we have received your Invisalign aligners, we arrange an appointment with you to have them fitted. During this appointment we show you how to place and remove the aligners and give you instructions on how to look after them.
We will place some tooth-coloured grips on your teeth called attachments which help the Invisalign aligner grip the tooth correctly to move it until it is straight. We may also polish between the teeth to create a little bit of space for them to move.
Step 5 – Monitoring your Invisalign progress
After the Invisalign aligners have been fitted we arrange for you to see us at the practice approximately every 6-8 weeks. At these appointments we will assess the progress of your treatment and give you the next set of aligners to continue with your treatment.
Step 6 – Finishing Invisalign treatment
Once we are happy with the position of your teeth, we have come to the end of the Invisalign treatment. We will remove the tooth-coloured grips from your teeth and then we procced to the next stage of your treatment plan.
Step 7 – Your final smile
If you are having any further cosmetic treatment such as composite bonding, veneers or tooth whitening, we will carry this out now. Not every patient needs or opts for further treatment after Invisalign and if this is not necessary for you, you will proceed to step 8 as below.
Step 8 – Maintaining your new smile
Once this is all complete, we will have some bespoke retainers made for you to prevent your teeth from moving back to where they started! This is a really important step as we want the results of your treatment to be as long lasting as possible, and this is dependent on you wearing your retainers as prescribed and discussed with us.
We invite you to back to the practice 3 months, and then 6 months, after your retainers have been fitted to ensure your final tooth positions have been maintained. After this point we invite you back annually for us to check your retainer is fitting well, and we can provide new ones for you as they are needed.
We hope that this article about Invisalign has helped you to gain some insight into our Invisalign treatment process here at Fulham Road Dental. We strive to make sure your experience is enjoyable and that you have long lasting results.