Getting Adult Braces: What You Need to Know

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Getting Adult Braces: What You Need to Know

It used to be that braces were mostly a teenage thing, a way to correct bite issues in kids who were still growing. Now, as more adults have come to recognize that a well-aligned bite is a healthy and beautiful bite, they’ve created a new population for orthodontic work. However, they want a more discrete approach than the traditional mouth full of metal brackets and wires.

That more discrete approach came in 1998, when the Food and Drug Administration approved Invisalign®, a system that uses clear plastic aligners instead of metal to do the job. 

Clear aligners are practically invisible unless someone looks really hard, and they can handle most mild-to-moderate issues that regular braces do — but over a much shorter period. To date, over eight million people have used Invisalign to make their smiles the best they can be.

At Manteca Dental Care in Manteca, California, Dr. Rick Van Tran and our staff understand that it’s never too late to get your teeth in order, which is why we offer Invisalign treatment for our patients who are looking for a clear, more discreet option. Here’s what our team would like you to know about the process.

Invisalign shines clearly

Invisalign aligners (aka trays) are made from a clear, flexible, patented thermoplastic called SmartTrack® and manufactured in the company’s own laboratory to ensure the highest quality. The trays are so strong that they can shift your teeth where they need to go, but they’re so comfortable, you can barely feel you’re wearing them.

You wear each pair of trays for about 14 days, after which Dr. Tran provides you with a new set. Each new set is slightly tighter than the previous one to maintain the pressure on your teeth, moving them according to your treatment plan.

Metal braces have a 100% compliance rate since they can’t be removed by the patient. With Invisalign, though, you have to be more responsible about wearing your trays to ensure maximum benefit. 

You need to wear your aligners 20–22 hours a day, only removing them (they slide out easily) when you eat and drink, brush and floss your teeth, and when you clean the trays themselves. The trick is to remember to reinsert them after you’re finished.

What conditions can Invisalign treat?

Invisalign can treat most mild-to-moderate alignment problems, including:

  • Crowded teeth: hard to brush and floss, leading to tooth decay and gum disease
  • Overbite: top teeth overlap bottom teeth too much, leading to tooth wear, gum biting, and jaw pain
  • Underbite: top teeth rest behind bottom teeth, making it hard to chew and speak clearly
  • Crossbite: top teeth and bottom teeth don’t come together or bite in the correct position, leading to excessive wear, chipping, and gums receding
  • Gapped teeth: create pockets where food, bacteria, and plaque become trapped, leading to gum disease

For more complex cases, you may need to go with conventional orthodontia.

Invisalign benefits

Invisalign comes with important benefits for your adult mouth compared with traditional braces:

  • No brackets or wires to cut your gums
  • Smooth-edged trays don’t irritate your gums
  • Easy to remove for eating and cleaning
  • Easy to clean
  • No food restrictions

And best of all, Invisalign generally takes only 9-15 months instead of 1-3 years.

Your Invisalign experience

Your Invisalign journey starts with a consultation with Dr. Tran. He takes a detailed oral and medical history, performs an oral exam, and discusses your goals for your teeth. 

Invisalign is advanced technology, meaning your dentist doesn’t need to take messy molds of your mouth. Instead, Invisalign uses the iTero Element® scanner. It’s small and easily maneuverable, and it creates a 3D, digitally accurate model of your teeth and gums. Dr. Tran uploads the images to a computer, where proprietary software uses the images to develop a detailed treatment plan.

All the information is sent to the Invisalign lab, which constructs your actual aligners. They ship them back to your dentist in about 2-3 weeks. At your next appointment, Dr. Tran ensures that your first set of aligners fits perfectly before you leave our office, and then you’re ready to go! 

We schedule you for follow-up appointments about every six weeks to ensure that everything’s going to plan, or you can come in sooner if you’re having a problem.

If you’re an adult with mild-to-moderate alignment issues, Invisalign might be just the thing to upgrade your smile and oral health. To learn more or to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Tran, give us a call at 209-823-9218 or book online with us today.