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Clear Aligner Therapy: 7 Frequently Asked Questions

Are you dissatisfied with your smile? Have you been experiencing problems with your teeth as a result of crooked teeth or an improper bite? At Smile Center, more and more patients are asking Dr. Joel Butterworth about clear aligner therapy. Dr. Joel is a Platinum Invisalign Provider who has helped hundreds of patients in the Fredericksburg region achieve the smile they deserve.

The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions we have answered for our patients during their consultation appointment:

What is clear aligner therapy?

Clear aligner therapy is an orthodontic treatment option that gradually corrects the positioning of the teeth as patients wear a series of clear aligners. Each aligner is custom designed for slight shifts over a period of time until optimal results are achieved.

Are clear aligners right for me?

Invisalign can be used to successfully correct every type of malocclusion: overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, and more. It is also a successful treatment plan for crowded teeth, gap teeth, or generally straighter teeth.

What can I expect during my consultation?

At your consultation appointment, you will have the opportunity to see the science behind your new smile and actually preview what Invisalign treatment can do for you with customized before and after images. Our iTero Element Scanner eliminates the need for messy molds. Taking 6,000 images per second, the scanner will instantly generate a 3D rendering of your mouth. Then, the scanned images will be loaded into the ClinCheck Software in which Dr. Joel will work with Invisalign technology to expertly design every shift of each tooth. This individualized plan can be previewed on the spot so that you can see exactly what clear aligner therapy can do for you.

How does clear aligner therapy work?

The individualized treatment plan will map each movement of every tooth. A series of clear aligners are customly designed to apply gentle force with precision. Progress is monitored at every step so that you can be assured that your treatment is going according to plan and the aligners are fitted and trimmed correctly.

What is Invisalign made of and what does it look like?

Invisalign SmartTrack is a patented, flexible thermoplastic material that is both BPA-free and BPS-free, and does not contain latex or gluten. The thin aligners are clear and custom fit for maximum comfort and virtual invisibility. The trimmed and contoured gum line ensures an ideal, snug fit.

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

The length of treatment varies depending on each patients’ needs. By using the aligners for 22 hours each day, you will be closer and closer to your new smile. The timeline for Invisalign treatment can be faster than or similar to braces, depending on each individual’s case. The full course of treatment could typically be anywhere from 3 months to 2 years. Most patients complete their treatment by using an Invisalign retainer to keep their new smile in place.

How much does Invisalign cost?

You might be surprised by how affordable your new smile can be. Our patients typically find that the cost of Invisalign treatment is actually similar to the cost of traditional braces. Depending on your plan, insurance may cover costs up to $3,500. Since patients also may use pre-tax dollars through a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), there are actually three ways to pay. As an Invisalign provider, Smile Center can walk you through a monthly payment plan process that works best for you. Ultimately, an investment in your smile could save you thousands of dollars by helping you avoid the negative side effects of having misaligned teeth.

At Smile Center, we are happy to answer your questions so that you can decide if clear aligner therapy is for you. Call the office today at 540-899-7791 to book an appointment. We look forward to discussing the many reasons why Invisalign could impact your smile and your life.

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A Patient’s Guide to Malocclusion

One in five people has some form of malocclusion or irregular contact between their upper and lower teeth. Occlusion, or the proper alignment of teeth, is not always naturally achieved. Ideally, the jaws align so that the upper teeth fit slightly over the lower teeth and the positioning of every tooth fits into the grooves of its partner. Teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, consequently putting patients at greater risk for tooth decay and gum disease, among other issues associated with malocclusion.

Before deciding on a treatment plan, it is helpful for patients to be informed of the different categories and types of malocclusion.

The 3 Categories of Malocclusion

  1. Class 1 is the most common category of malocclusion. There is a normal bite with slight overlap or slightly abnormal spacing, rotation, or crowding.
  2. Class 2 or retrognathism is an overbite with severe overlap of the upper and lower jaw and poor molar correlation.
  3. Class 3 or prognathism is an underbite in which the lower jaw protrudes, causing an overlap of the lower and upper jaw.

The 10 Different Types of Malocclusion

  1. Crowding is the most common malocclusion. A lack of space can lead to crooked teeth and overlap. Crowding can affect a few teeth or every tooth.
  2. Overjet is a horizontal extension of the top teeth over the bottom teeth. It differs from overbite. Exposed, protruding teeth are susceptible to damage and may cause problems with speech and/or eating.
  3. Overbite is the overlapping of the upper teeth with the lower teeth. Slight overlap is actually ideal, but an extended overlap necessitates treatment.
  4. Crossbite occurs when the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth on one or both sides of the jaw, affecting the front or back teeth.
  5. Anterior Crossbite refers to underbite or the overlapping of the bottom teeth with the upper teeth.
  6. Spacing between two or more teeth may occur as a result of smaller teeth, missing teeth, a tongue thrust, or thumb sucking.
  7. Diastema is spacing between only two teeth, typically the top front teeth.
  8. Impaction occurs when a tooth is unable to descend and erupt past the gum line due to an obstruction. Crowding can lead to a tooth being impacted.
  9. Hypodontia is simply a missing tooth, resulting from improper development or blunt trauma.
  10. Open Bite occurs when there is no overlap between the upper and lower teeth. Tongue thrust or thumb sucking are the most common causes of open bite.

 

With advancements in orthodontics, treatment options for malocclusions are more convenient than ever before. Clear aligner therapy can address every type of malocclusion, and Dr. Joel Butterworth specializes in customizing a treatment plan that works efficiently and effectively. We look forward to scheduling an appointment to discuss your specific needs: 540-899-7791.

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6 Benefits of Invisalign Treatment

What are the benefits of choosing Invisalign rather than traditional metal braces? For treatable cases, clear aligners are a more convenient option in general; but here are some specific reasons why over five million patients have decided that Invisalign is the right treatment for them:

1. No food restrictions.

Patients with braces are advised to avoid popcorn, nuts, sticky or hard candy, gum, ice, chips, or pretzels. When it is time for a meal or snack, aligners are simply removed. Brushing is advised before putting the aligners back.

2. No physical activity restrictions.

Some musicians and athletes find wire braces to be uncomfortable while playing their instrument, singing, or using their mouth guard. Other patients report an effect on their relationships. With removable aligners, the impact on day-to-day life is as minimal as possible. The length of treatment is often substantially less, as well.

3. Unobstructed brushing and flossing.

Invisalign patients enjoy better hygiene due to the fact that they can brush and floss as they normally would, without any obstructions in the way. There is no need to purchase a Waterpik or any other device that supplants flossing. There are also no discolorations to worry about, as is often the case with the gluing of metal brackets.

4. No broken wires or emergency visits.

Patients with braces often pop or break wires, causing damage to the gums and/or mouth and resulting in the need for repeated interim and emergency orthodontic visits. This can be especially inconvenient for patients with busy or demanding schedules.

5. Invisalign is nearly invisible.

Patients often feel much less self-conscious about wearing clear aligners vs. wire braces. With its contoured low profile, Invisalign is much less conspicuous and obstructive than any other clear aligner.

6. Custom fit.

The Invisalign clear aligners are trimmed to gum line for the maximum comfort and wearability. Other clear aligners cover more surface area and are more cumbersome overall.

In addition to the benefits of Invisalign, the cost is typically the same as traditional braces and the length of treatment is often comparably less. Many dental plans cover a portion of the cost and many providers offer payment plan options. Depending on the particular case of each patient, Invisalign treatment can be up to 2x faster than metal braces.

Your ideal smile may be achieved more conveniently than you thought. Call Smile Center today to schedule your free smile assessment: 540-899-7791. 

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Beyond Aesthetics: The Underlying Problems with Misaligned Teeth

The most common misconception is that straightening your teeth is more about cosmetics than oral health. In reality, when teeth are in proper alignment, they are less prone to problems like decay, cavities, and other more serious, long-term dental health issues. According to the American Dental Association, malocclusion, or the imperfect positioning of the teeth, may lead to tooth decay and other negative effects.

More and more patients are turning to clear aligner therapy for the solution to their malocclusion. And among the options for clear aligners, Invisalign is the most popular brand for its leading-edge technology and reputable results. Not only can Invisalign help you achieve your best smile, the treatment can also lead to optimal dental health.

When discussing the proper positioning of your teeth, dentists will recommend addressing malocclusion before any underlying problems occur or worsen. Even the most diligent patients with ideal dental regimens can experience the unintended consequences of improper alignment. Take a look at the following side effects that are worth considering:

Five Negative Side Effects of Malocclusion

  1. Total body impact. Oral health directly affects a patient’s overall health as bacteria can lead to infections—not only in the mouth but in other parts of the body as well.
  2. Gum disease. Periodontal or gum disease is more prevalent in patients with crooked teeth. The reason for this is crevasses can often harbor bacteria which then leads to plaque build-up and the erosion and infection of the gumline.
  3. Improper maintenance. Flossing and brushing teeth will be less efficient in crowded areas. The less accessible parts of the teeth and gum line will be more susceptible to bacterial growth.
  4. Bad breath. Bacteria in the mouth is the number one cause of bad breath. No matter how diligent you are with brushing and flossing, bacteria can build up in inaccessible areas.
  5. Susceptibility to injury. Teeth that are exposed or protruding can chip or crack more easily than teeth that are in proper alignment. When teeth are misaligned, uneven wear and uneven pressure can occur, leading to more serious problems.

 

At Smile Center, we look forward to designing the treatment that works best for you and guiding you every step along the way. Call the office today at 540-899-7791 if you would like to discuss the many reasons why clear aligner therapy could impact your smile and your life.

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Gentle Dental Care: Does it Really Exist?

You’ve heard of claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) and arachnophobia (fear of spiders), but did you know that many people have another type of phobia that involves fear of the dentist, or more specifically of dentistry? It’s true, this is called dentophobia, and it’s common among people of all ages. But, you don’t have to have dentophobia to be reluctant about going to the dentist. Feeling anxious is something many people experience when heading to their dental appointments. That’s where the concept of “gentle dental care” can make a difference!

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Finding A Good Restorative Dentist

Diet, regular flossing and brushing, and regular dental exams and cleaning are all important to oral health, but sometimes you may need a restorative dentist to get the job done. For many eventually with age, the need for dental treatment reaches beyond the scope of the checkup and into the need for restorative dentistry.

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Baby Teeth: A Typical Timeline

It’s one of the big milestones in the first year of your baby’s life — that exciting day when their first baby teeth begin to break through! Sometime between the ages of four and seven months (on average), your baby’s first teeth should begin to appear. You’ve probably been expecting them for a while since your baby has likely been especially “drooly” and fussy as his/her teeth push through his gums. The first to come through are typically the lower central incisors, familiarly known as a baby’s bottom front teeth.  And boy, you didn’t think it was possible, but he/she looks cuter than ever!

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Crooked Teeth: Causes and Treatments

Why do some people end up with a mouth full of straight, even teeth, and some end up with crooked teeth or teeth that protrude and cross over each other? Does it have to do with genetics? Childhood nutrition?

The truth is, there are several reasons that some people end up with teeth that are crooked, overlapping or protruding (overbites/underbites). Sometimes, genetics are to blame, but there are many other causes as well.

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How to Prevent Yellow Teeth

Wondering how to prevent yellow teeth? Teeth can turn yellow for a variety of reasons but luckily, there are several ways to maintain that sparkling white smile. Here are some tips on how to prevent yellow teeth.

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Waterflossing vs. Traditional Flossing: What’s the Difference?

Water Flossing vs. Traditional Flossing

Benefits of Water Flossing

Studies show that water flossing does remove almost all, 99%, of plaque from the surface of teeth with a three-second application from a classic jet tip. Three other major benefits discovered about water flossing over regular string flossing are: reduction of bleeding of the gums, reduction of gingivitis, and deeper penetration of the gum pockets by the water flossers.

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