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Common Questions about Invisalign® in Colorado Springs

Invisalign® is growing in popularity in much of Colorado. After Invisalign®-certified dentists began to spring up in earnest in Denver, it wasn’t long before the treatment moved south along I-25 to Colorado Springs as well.

Although the process is fairly simple and straightforward, some of those who consider Invisalign® have specific concerns that might not be addressed through general descriptions of the treatment found elsewhere. A few of the most common of these questions are listed and briefly answered here.

Will I Need to Wear a Retainer After My Invisalign® Treatment?

For several reasons, most people who pursue the Invisalign® treatment will want to wear a retainer afterwards. In most cases, dentists recommend that their patients wear full retainers throughout the day for three to six months after conclusion of the Invisalign® process. Afterwards, many people can switch to nightly wear of their retainer appliances, particularly if they are vigilant about monitoring their teeth for regression.

There are two major options as to the type of retainer that can be worn. Conventional retainers of the kind normally worn after orthodontic braces are removed can be effective for some patients. Others find that Vivera® retainers produced by the makers of Invisalign® are more comfortable and easier to get used to.

Vivera® retainers are very similar in appearance and construction to the Invisalign® aligners with which those who have gone through the treatment will already be familiar. While Invisalign® aligners, however, are only meant to be used for a relatively short time before another pair is substituted, Vivera® retainers are designed to last much longer. Like Invisalign® aligners, though, they are especially comfortable and nearly unnoticeable to others while being worn.

Dentists may also recommend other retaining options for particular patients. For example, patients who had pronounced gaps between their front teeth before the Invisalign® procedure may find that a permanent, wire-based retainer installed on the backs of those teeth will keep that space from opening back up. In any case, your dentist will help you to understand which option or options will make the most sense in your particular situation.

Can I Eat or Drink with My Invisalign® Aligners in My Mouth?

Generally speaking, it is best to remove the Invisalign® aligners before drinking most beverages or eating and then to brush your teeth before putting them back in. Plain water is an exception, as those wearing Invisalign® aligners can normally drink it without trouble, although overly cold or hot servings may cause brief discomfort to some.

Other beverages may be problematic for a couple of reasons. First, some drinks can temporarily stain the aligners, making them less transparent and therefore more noticeable to others. Second, acidic drinks or those containing sugar can become trapped between the aligners and teeth until the aligners are removed and teeth are brushed. If this happens often enough, it can have a negative impact on overall dental health.

Chewing of any sort should mostly be avoided while wearing Invisalign® aligners. A notable exception is the soft foam “chewies” that are commonly provided to Invisalign® patients, as these are a safe and effective way of seating the aligners firmly.

Chewing gum, then, is something that should be avoided entirely while the aligners are being worn. Invisalign® wearers should similarly remove their aligners before eating any food that will require chewing. Some do find that very soft foods and those that melt in the mouth, such as yogurt or ice cream, can occasionally be enjoyed without causing problems. Once again, however, Invisalign® users should be sure to remove their aligners and brush their teeth as soon as possible after eating such foods.

Can I Take Advantage of Invisalign® if I have TMJ or TMD?

The manufacturer of Invisalign® recommends against the treatment for those with temporomandibular joint disorders of most kinds that have not yet been treated. However, many of those who suffer from these conditions find that, after getting help for the underlying problem, Invisalign® can then be used successfully. Those who have issues of this sort, then, will need to discuss their options with an experienced dentist or other specialist.

Can I Make Use of Invisalign® If I Have Receding Gums or Periodontal Disease?

Generally speaking, the gums of those starting out with Invisalign® should be as healthy as possible. Although Invisalign® is a safe, well-understood treatment, the aligners can exacerbate gum conditions and pre-existing inflammation, to an extent. Those with severely receding gums or inflammation, then, should strive to get the situation under control before beginning Invisalign® treatment.

The best way to approach the problem for most such people is to seek to coordinate the efforts of any periodontist or dentist who is treating gum issues with the dentist who will fit and oversee the use of the Invisalign® aligners. Making your periodontist or dentist aware that you are considering Invisalign® is therefore a good first step if you have such problems. Once periodontal issues are being dealt with, Invisalign® can be a much better option than traditional orthodontic braces, since patients can remove the aligners to allow for more thorough and effective brushing of the gums and teeth.

Will Invisalign® Work for Me If I Have Dental Implants?

Although Invisalign® effectively shifts and realigns natural teeth, it cannot do the same for dental implants that have already integrated and fused to the bone they are set in. Those with existing implants or who are contemplating having them installed, however, can nonetheless often benefit from Invisalign®.

For those who do not yet have dental implants, new implants can be installed with the knowledge that Invisalign® treatment will follow. The locations of the implants can then be planned in such a way that they will accommodate the future movements of natural teeth that Invisalign® will produce. This approach will often involve the use of temporary crowns that will be replaced after the Invisalign® process completes.

For those with existing, permanent implants, Invisalign® can still be helpful, although the extent of the natural tooth movement that is possible will sometimes be limited by the positioning of any implants. Your Invisalign®-trained dentist will consider this factor during the initial consultation and will be able to give a realistic idea as to what kind of results can be expected for any given person.

I Still Have My Wisdom Teeth. Is Invisalign® a Good Option for Me? What If I Need to Have Them Extracted While the Invisalign® Process is Still Ongoing?

Surprisingly to some, the presence of wisdom teeth or even the need to have them extracted does not normally pose a problem for Invisalign® treatment. In some cases, your dentist may need to trim your Invisalign® aligners down, but this is a fairly routine task that will not inhibit progress.

Dentists may also recommend that patients with wisdom teeth that will eventually need to be removed have them taken care of before undergoing Invisalign® treatment, and this can simplify matters. Generally speaking, though, any issues related to wisdom teeth can be worked around in one way or another.

I Have an Impacted Tooth. Can Invisalign® Be Used to Make Space for an Implant after the Tooth is Extracted?

Absolutely. In addition to helping to straighten out and otherwise adjust permanent teeth, Invisalign® can also help to make room for the installation of a dental implant after the course of treatment is completed.

Is It Possible to Undergo a Root Canal or Get a Filling While Undergoing Invisalign® Treatment?

Yes. It can be best to have such procedures performed close to the time when you would otherwise be switching to a new pair of aligners, however. Each pair of aligners puts the most pressure on the teeth at the beginning of the two- or three-week period it will be used for, with the amount of pressure declining over that time span.

Patients who need to have root canals performed or fillings put in, then, often find it more comfortable to keep using a pair of aligners that has reached the end of its normal useful life for a little longer after they have undergone such procedures. This will slow the Invisalign® treatment process slightly, but most dentists, and patients find the option worthwhile. Your own dentist will help you determine whether this strategy will make sense for you.

Is Invisalign® Appropriate If I Grind My Teeth?

Many people who grind their teeth while sleeping or do so unconsciously while awake have successfully undergone Invisalign® treatment. The Invisalign® aligners themselves are durable enough that they will withstand most teeth grinding, particularly as each pair is normally only worn for two to three weeks. Teeth grinding can, however, sometimes cause the aligners to pop off unexpectedly, so those who grind their teeth should be aware of this possibility.

In case of especially severe tooth grinding, a dentist may recommend that a stress guard or other accessory be worn at night along with the Invisalign® aligners. Contrary to what some suppose, wearing of bite guards along with the Invisalign® aligners is normally not recommended. Making sure that your dentist is aware of the existence and severity of any habitual or chronic tooth grinding or jaw clenching, of course, important, so that the issue can be taken into account.

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