The Scoop on Invisalign
By Mina Levi, DDS, 06/04/2015

When it comes to straightening your teeth, one of the best courses of treatment is Invisalign clear aligners. Many people have heard about the Invisalign product or are at least familiar with the Invisalign brand, but some are not aware of the benefits of this type of orthodontic treatment, what it looks like, how much it costs, or what it even does. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS breaks down Invisalign clear aligner treatment and answers questions you may have about straightening your teeth and getting your dream smile!

What is Invisalign?
Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference in your daily life. The best part about the whole process is that most people won't even know you're straightening your teeth.

What do Invisalign trays look like?
Invisalign aligners are made out of a clear, plastic material that is molded to your teeth, as you can see in the image below:
Invisalign Dentist San Francisco

The Invisalign Process:
Step One: Talk to Dr. Mina Levi, a San Francisco Invisalign Preferred Provider
Invisalign Dentist San Francisco Dr. Mina Levi has been a preferred provider with Invisalign for over six years, and has treated many different types of cases with Invisalign. During your initial Invisalign consultation, she will discuss your case with you and determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. Dr. Levi will talk through the Invisalign treatment and answer any questions you may have about the process, costs, insurance, or any other concerns. You and Dr. Levi will determine the best course of treatment for you together.

Step Two: Create a 3D Image of Your Teeth
Dr. Levi and her team will take digital x-rays, photographs, and impressions of your teeth, which Invisalign will use to create a three-dimensional image of your teeth. Dr. Levi will use this image to map out your treatment plan and will be able to show you what your teeth will look like after every step of your Invisalign treatment.

Step Three: Receive Your Clear Aligners
Based on your individualized treatment plan, a series of clear custom-made aligners will be made just for you. Wear the plastic aligners throughout the day, and take them out to eat, drink, brush your teeth and floss. As you continue to wear each set of aligners, your teeth will gradually move into place. These aligners are clear and almost invisible, so most people will not even know you are wearing them.

Step Four: Wear a New Set of Aligners Every 2 Weeks
After two weeks of wearing one set of aligners, you will move onto the next step and then wear that set for another two weeks. To monitor your progress, you will have appointments set up with Dr. Levi about every six weeks. With each set of aligners that you go through, you are one step closer to your dream smile!

Step Five: Reveal Your New Smile
For most adults, treatment typically takes about a year although each individual case is different. The best way to ensure that treatment goes smoothly and as quickly as possible, make sure to wear the aligners about 22 hours a day. Then, you will be ready to show the world the smile you've always wanted.

Treatable cases:
Many different types of cases are treatable with Invisalign, the following are some of the main conditions that are treated:
1. Gapped teeth: Gaps between teeth can occur with abnormal continued growth of the jawbone. Missing teeth can also cause the surrounding teeth to shift due to the extra space, creating gaps in your teeth. Spacing issues and gaps between teeth can lead to gum problems (due to lack of protection by the teeth), periodontal pockets and increased risk of periodontal disease.
2. Overbite: What people commonly refer to as an "overbite" is known to dental professionals as "overjet." It occurs when the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. It's typically caused by genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth. This can lead to gum problems or irritation, and/or wear on the lower teeth, and can cause painful jaw and joint problems.
3. Underbite: Underbite can occur when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. It's usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. It can also be caused by missing upper teeth. This can prevent the normal function of front teeth or molars, which can lead to tooth wear. It can also cause painful jaw and joint problems.
4. Open Bite: Open bite often occurs when some teeth are unable to make physical contact with the opposing teeth for a proper bite. Most often caused by a genetic abnormal jaw structure or excessive thumb-sucking, an open bite can cause poor or painful chewing, and even speech impairment. It can also lead to greater issues like thermo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
5. Crowding: Teeth crowding occurs when there is simply a lack of room within your jaw for all of your teeth to fit normally. When left untreated, overly crowded teeth can get worse over time, and result in severely crooked teeth. This crowding can lead to plaque accumulation, tooth decay and an increased chance of gum disease.
6. Crossbite: Crossbite can occur when the upper and lower jaws are both misaligned. It causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, and can happen on both the front and the sides of the mouth. This can cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.

Is Invisalign a good fit for you? Find out! Visit Invisalign Preferred Provider Mina Levi, DDS on the web at or give us a call at (415) 513-5066 to schedule a consultation today!