Orthodontics involves the straightening and realigning of the teeth. Realignment is not only for aesthetic value, but crowding in the teeth can cause excessive dental plaque build-up and dental caries, and over or under bites can cause problems with TMJ.
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.
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 Week
After each week of wearing one set of aligners, you will move onto the next step and then wear that set for another week. 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 three to six months 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 if left untreated.
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.
Following any orthodontic treatment, Invisalign included, patients will require some form of retention. At Mina Levi, DDS, we recommend that patients continue wearing Vivera retainers to maintain the results from your Invisalign treatment. These retainers are only worn at night and they will prevent teeth from shifting back to their original position.
Why Vivera Retainers?
Because this is retention that you can rely on! The material in Vivera Retainers is 30% stronger than other leading clear retainer materials. The initial testing of Vivera Retainers along with 5 other materials showed the first sign of wear at 3 months (with 24/7 wear). Therefore, 3 months of full time wear is guaranteed or 9 months of nighttime-only wear (for each retainer). However, depending on age, length of wear, clenching and grinding patterns, etc., patients have had retention success well beyond the 9 months. Vivera Retainers come with four sets of retainers, so they will last up to a full year with 24/7 wear.
In addition to discussing retainer options, we would also be happy to discuss cosmetic teeth whitening with you to help you obtain your optimal smile. Many of our patients prefer the Zoom in-office whitening system offered to achieve immediate results. Ask Dr. Levi or any of her staff about teeth whitening options.