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Category Archives: Invisalign

Clear Aligner Therapy: An Inside Look at Invisalign

Many of our patients have been asking us: “What is clear aligner therapy?” or “What is Invisalign treatment?”. We are always happy to take the time to listen and to answer our patients’ questions. We are also happy to share about Invisalign treatment because we know that the impact it’s had on our patients’ lives has been positive and significant.

What is Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment in which teeth are gently corrected by using a series of custom clear aligners. Unlike other clear aligners, Invisalign is made of a patented, flexible thermoplastic called SmartTrack®, engineered specifically for comfort and effectiveness. This material is FDA-approved and does not contain BPA, BPS, latex, or gluten. Since they are thin and custom designed to fit over your teeth, they are virtually invisible.

In order to get that snug, custom fit, Dr. Joel Butterworth designs a digital treatment plan that is unique to you. Each movement of your teeth will be mapped with precision. Based on your treatment plan, your aligners will be crafted to apply the exact amount of force to each tooth at the right time. Dr. Joel will monitor the progress closely and ensure the best possible fit.

What are the primary benefits of Invisalign treatment?

Smile Center has chosen to offer Invisalign treatment for the advantages it provides in:

  • lifestyle
  • appearance
  • hygiene
  • material
  • comfort
  • tracking
  • cost

Most patients have treatable cases and find that they can easily address with Invisalign what they had planned to correct with braces. Typically, the cost is similar and the treatment times may be up to 2x faster, as well.

In a traditional metal braces system, metal brackets are glued to each individual tooth and connected with wires and rubber bands. Wax is used as a preventative for abrasions inside the mouth caused by exposed metal. When a wire pops or bracket brakes, you need to make time for repairs with an emergency orthodontic appointment. The smooth BPA-free plastic aligners are a durable, convenient, comfortable solution you can incorporate into your lifestyle.

6 Benefits of Invisalign Treatment

  1. No food restrictions.
  2. No physical activity restrictions.
  3. Unobstructed brushing and flossing.
  4. No broken wires or emergency visits.
  5. Invisalign is nearly invisible.
  6. Custom fit.

Am I guaranteed to have straight teeth with Invisalign treatment?

We begin your treatment with an extensive, free consultation in order to achieve the best results possible. While we cannot guarantee a treatment outcome, we know from the hundreds of patients we have treated at Smile Center over the past 18 years as an Invisalign provider that every smile is unique. We take the time to listen to your treatment goals and encourage you to communicate your goals to us at your consultation.

Schedule your free smile assessment with us today!

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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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Having Straight Teeth is About More Than Just Your Smile

Having straight teeth is often viewed as a luxury or something you desire but can’t have. This is especially the case if you are an adult who didn’t benefit from braces as a kid. While many people think having straight teeth only affects their smile, the alignment of your teeth is a big factor in your dental health as well.

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Different Types of Braces: What are They?

Choosing Between Different Types of Braces

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between traditional braces and Invisalign? When it comes to appearance, the thought of nearly invisible braces can certainly be appealing. Although both traditional metal braces and Invisalign straighten your teeth, Invisalign offers an invisible appearance, while other braces do not. You may want the option to remove the braces at times for social events or to eat your favorite foods. Different types of braces have to be kept on for different lengths of time. These are all things to consider when it comes to your personal comfort. There are pros and cons to both, so here is a comparison of traditional braces vs. Invisalign.

The Traditional Route: Metal Braces

Many people still prefer to have metal braces. There are both advantages and disadvantages of choosing to go the traditional route.

  • The material used is metal, usually silver in color. You can pay extra to have the metal match the color of your teeth.
  • You have to wear them 24/7 for about 2 years.
  • Certain foods should be avoided.
  • You must visit an orthodontist for treatment.
  • Some pain or discomfort from the metal brackets may occur.
  • You don’t have to worry about taking them on or off.
  • You are unable to brush and floss as you normally do.
  • They are better for more complex dental problems.
  • You have to visit your orthodontist about every 4 to 6 weeks to have the braces tightened.

A New Approach: Invisalign

More and more people are selecting Invisalign over traditional metal braces because the benefits seem to outweigh any disadvantages.

  • They are clear, making them nearly invisible.
  • They are removable. You only wear them for about a year and for at least 20 hours a day.
  • You do have to remove them while eating or drinking, but you don’t have to worry about missing out on your favorite foods or getting food stuck in them.
  • There is virtually no discomfort while the trays are in.
  • You must brush your teeth after meals to avoid discoloration of your teeth.
  • Your daily oral hygiene routine does not change. You can brush and floss like you normally do.
  • They are more effective for esthetic purposes and for less complex dental problems.
  • They are custom-made out of smooth plastic.
  • The cost may be higher than traditional metal braces.
  • You must put in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks.
  • You can get them in your local dental office.

And the Verdict Is…

Invisalign and metal braces have many differences, but they both serve the same purpose: to straighten your teeth. Both types of braces involve a change in your daily routine, and keep in mind that the success of Invisalign is completely up to you.

Choosing between different types of braces can be overwhelming and should not be taken lightly. If you are having trouble deciding between traditional metal braces and Invisalign, please contact our office to learn more or receive a free consultation at our Invisalign Open House.

 

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How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign has been the buzz word in tooth alignment for a while now. If you’ve been looking for an innovative alternative to braces, you may have heard of this orthodontic marvel with ‘invisible’ and removable aligners. But just how well does Invisalign work? Well, a clinical study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) revealed a 41% mean accuracy of tooth movement with Invisalign. But what exactly does this product entail, what are its benefits, and how does Invisalign work? Here are the answers to some of the questions you may have.

What is Invisalign?

It’s beneficial to know what this product entails, for a better understanding on how it works. “Invisalign is removable, comfy, and practically invisible. Basically, it’s everything braces are not.” It comprises transparent aligners made of polyurethane plastic that resemble a tooth whitening tray.

Your dentist may recommend them if your teeth are crowded or crooked, and design a tray custom-made for your mouth. It’s also never too late to improve your smile with Invisalign, as it can be worn if you are a teen or an adult.

How does Invisalign work in comparison to braces?

Braces and Invisalign have a few common advantages. They both straighten your teeth. They can also both treat under bite, cross bite, overbite, crowding, and uneven spacing. However, the benefits of using Invisalign far outweighs the disadvantages of wearing braces. Here are some of them:

  • You can remove Invisalign for several hours. This is ideal if you need to attend a social event, or if you feel like allowing your teeth to ‘breathe’. Braces are non-removable.
  • Your oral hygiene routine need not be disrupted, as you’ll be able to floss and brush your teeth like you normally do. This is vital for optimal dental heath. You won’t be able to do this as effectively with braces.
  • Invisalign is virtually invisible. As the name suggests, this product is barely noticeable, in comparison to normal braces. This is a definite confidence booster, as you’re more likely to be self conscious when wearing metal in your mouth.
  • Invisalign is more comfortable than braces, as it’s derived from plastic. The metal in braces is likely to make usage uncomfortable.

How does Invisalign work with regards to application?

You’ve probably been curious about this procedure since considering Invisalign right? The application here is fairly straightforward. Orthodontists do offer this service, however dentists who are specially trained can offer you Invisalign as well. Even better is that you’ll be required to visit your dentist less often than an orthodontist with ordinary braces.

Your dentist will initiate the process with x-rays, bite registrations, and impressions of your gums and teeth. These are painless so don’t worry if you’re concerned about feeling any discomfort. With bite registrations, all you need to do is bite onto a sheet of foil paper, so your dentist can get an impression of your teeth in biting mode.

Your dentist will use state of the art software to decipher what the ideal movement projection for you is. The dentist will modify your transparent aligners before it’s sent away to be designed. The aligners are made via a CAD-CAM software program.

You may wear each aligner for about two weeks. They should be worn for 20 hours per day, and you are allowed to remove them for up to four hours. You’re advised to brush and floss upon removal.

You should remove your Invisalign when eating. However, you won’t be restricted from eating some of your favorite snacks like popcorn, as leftovers won’t get stuck with this removable product. You’ll be required to wear your Invisalign for slightly over a year, and may be advised to wear a retainer at night after treatment.

 

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