By: Dr. Christopher Lim
Posted on: August 29, 2019
Throughout the Las Vegas area and across the country, teens and adults want to have straighter teeth for more attractive smiles. Yet many are looking for a process of treatment that is more efficient than traditional orthodontics. In this situation, Dr. Christopher Lim may suggest the Invisalign straightening system.
Each tooth in your mouth has roots that extend into bone for support of the crown. Tooth positioning is a bit more complex than that, however. Small, stretchy ligaments attach teeth to bone. These ligaments allow a tiny bit of flex, acting as shock absorbers to help avoid breakage when you bite and chew. There is a minute gap between tooth and bone, called the periodontal ligament space.
Conventional braces use a network of bands, brackets, springs, and wires to create force on a tooth, in one direction. This causes ligaments on one side to stretch, while compressing those on the other side of the tooth. When you chew, the body senses multi-directional pressure on teeth indicating normal stabilization. When the prolonged pressure of braces is applied, the body recognizes a need to reposition teeth. This triggers a process called bone remodeling. Your body sends cells called osteoblasts to the tension side, to begin filling in the space with extra bone tissue. Meanwhile osteoclasts are removing bone from the compression side.
Like braces, Invisalign creates mechanical force to stimulate bone remodeling and move teeth. However, rather than from hardware, teeth react to light, continuous pressure from plastic aligners.
It may seem that extra wire tightening or doubling up on rubber band tension – would move teeth faster. However, in addition to causing discomfort and possible long-term root damage, aggressive orthodontic treatment can actually slow down tooth movement. It may result in multiple re-adjustments. In Dr. Lim’s experienced hands, effective tooth movement can be achieved with Invisalign . . . usually in less time than with braces.
While each case is unique, an average Invisalign treatment plan takes about a year, and treatment time can be considerably less if only cosmetic adjustments are desired.
However, the patient plays a big role in the time span of treatment. You must wear aligners 20 to 22 hours each day to achieve good results, efficiently. Since aligners are removable, this requires some commitment. However, several aspects of the Invisalign system make compliance easier:
The first thing to do, if you are interested in Invisalign, is schedule a consultation with Dr. Lim at Hillside Dental. He performs a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, mouth, and bite to determine if Invisalign is the right course of treatment for you. He explains the process in detail and answers your questions.
Existing dental problems such as gum disease or tooth decay must ethically be treated before straightening begins. Then, the doctor takes 3-D scans of your mouth. Invisalign computer software transforms these digital impressions into a virtual treatment plan. Before you commit, you see on a computer monitor how your teeth will move and how your smile will change.
You receive a series of aligners and wear each set for about two weeks before advancing to the next pair. Dr. Lim monitors your progress, making adjustments to the wearing schedule (if needed) at six-week re-check appointments. At the conclusion of treatment, you may choose between a bonded or removable retainer to keep your newly-straightened smile looking terrific for many years.
Dr. Lim and the Hillside Dental team welcome new patients of all ages for a full range of general dentistry services. Call 702-666-8584 to book an appointment.