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Greenwich Family Dental

Getting straight A’s in smiles. Invisalign corrects crooked teeth without metal or wires

Canfield Middle School counselor Leigh Sales understands what many of her students are going through each day. That awkward transformation from gawky middle schooler to sophisticated teen can be painful.

While Sales, 45, may no longer be in the throes of puberty, she knows all too well the transitions today’s teens endure. She’s going through one of those transitions herself – the quest for perfect teeth.Thankfully, that process is much easier than it was when Sales was in her teens. Instead of cumbersome metal braces and uncomfortable headgear this time around, Sales chose Invisalign.

“I absolutely love them,” said Sales. “They feel great. I’ve been wearing Invisalign trays for 14 weeks.”

Sales wore traditional braces when she was growing up in Alabama, but over the years her teeth shifted. Thankfully, technology has shifted, too. No more unsightly metal mouth – instead, Invisalign straightens teeth gradually with clear trays that fit over your teeth rather than metal or wires.

“I love them because you don’t see them,” said Sales. “You don’t have wires popping out and you don’t have food stuck in the braces. They really fit my lifestyle.”

Her students have noticed the changes in her smile and Invisalign has been a great conversation starter with her students.  In fact, one of them has taken particular interest.

“This student wants braces so bad and she is constantly checking on my teeth,” Sales said. “She said, ‘I can’t wait because then we get to talk about teeth.’”

Invisalign uses composite attachments that are bonded to your teeth. These attachments hold the plastic Invisalign trays in place. These attachments do much more — they actually help provide force to move the individual teeth into their desired location.

Sales expects to wear hers another 40 weeks to fully straighten her teeth. She wears them at all times except when eating, drinking, brushing and flossing her teeth.

The quest for straighter teeth isn’t solely about appearance. Dental health and hygiene are the most important factors. Stephanie Spindler, a registered dental hygienist at Kootenai Family Dental, said teeth are intended to be straight. She also said that good dental health can help prevent more serious health issues such as heart disease and stroke.

“When teeth are properly aligned, it’s easier to brush and floss and that reduces gum inflammation,” said Spindler. “Also, Patients are more eager to clean their teeth properly when things look nice.”

Dr. Alexis LaRose, owner of Kootenai Family Dental, said straighter teeth result in more smiles.

“When you’re confident in your teeth, you’re more likely to smile,” said LaRose. “And who doesn’t want a great smile? Even when you’re wearing the trays, you can barely see them.”

All while maintaining that near invisible appearance and having little to no effect on lifestyle, said LaRose. She also noted that Invisalign has improved its plastics, making them more effective than when the product was launched more than a decade ago. These new plastics and “shapes” are used to provide a better, more refined and efficient result.

“They don’t get stretched out as easily and keep their shape better than they used to,” she said.  “Their engineers have designed over 10 different shapes of attachments that we bond to the teeth in tooth colored material that allows us to move teeth more effectively and efficiently.”

LaRose said Invisalign are a great alternative for older patients who don’t want traditional metal braces.

“You have to be responsible with them and wear the trays,” she said. “Kids aren’t always as compliant when it comes to using them properly.”

Sales said it didn’t take long to get used to wearing them and they don’t interfere with her daily routines.

“Having attachments on your teeth was a little quirky at first,” Sales said. “But I quickly got used to it and the best thing is I can tell my teeth are straighter already!”

How Invisalign works

During the initial visit or consultation with the dentist, scans or impressions are taken as well as photos of your mouth. Once the trays are manufactured and delivered, the patient comes in and has them placed. Over the course of weeks, the dentist evaluates each set of trays and makes adjustments. Then the dentist makes routine checks every six weeks.  Once the entire treatment is completed, the attachments are removed, and teeth are beautiful.

Do they hurt?

No! They feel tight for the first 20-30 minutes when you put a new set of trays in, but not painful.  If attachments are needed on the teeth they can feel funny to your lips without the trays in, but you get used to them very quickly, usually a couple days.

How long will I have to wear them?

Trays need to be worn for 22 hours a day. That means you only take them out to eat and brush and floss your teeth.

Are there eating and drinking limitations for Invisalign?

You can remove them to eat and drink anything. If you wear them while you are drinking dark liquids, the trays can stain over time.

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