Category Archives: Invisalign

Clear Braces versus Invisalign

This may sound strange, but I didn’t know “clear braces” and “Invisalign” were different things. I talked to my dentist about doing Invisalign and he sent me for a consultation with the orthodontist, who then began talking about clear braces. We went through the whole process of treatment plans, impressions, x-rays, insurance, and they even took my down payment. I don’t know if I ever should have caught on, but I know they never explained it to me.

So, the big day comes where I think I’m getting my aligners and they start messing around with my teeth, so I finally ask if all that is necessary since I’m just there to get my aligners. That’s when they tell me they’re putting real braces on my teeth.

I’m 34. I work in a professional setting. I didn’t want regular braces. So, then the orthodontist comes back over and explains how I really have to use regular braces to correct my smile and how he’s certain he explained that to me. He didn’t. I know he didn’t. But, he makes his case and I go along with it. Disappointed, but I figure, at least they’re clear.

We’re a month in and they’re a hideous shade of yellow. I look ridiculous. My teeth look gross, like I don’t brush them. And no amount of brushing them is helping.

Would this have happened if I did Invisalign? Should I have insisted on it? And, if I should have done that, is it too late to switch?

Thanks,

Eric

Dear Eric,

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign: The adult solutions to braces

I’m sorry you are having such a frustrating experience. Theoretically, any kind of plastic can yellow like that, but you don’t see it as much with aligners because people aren’t supposed to be eating or drinking with them in and you replace them every couple weeks.

You May Still Be a Candidate for Invisalign

The good news is, you still may be a candidate for Invisalign. While it used to be only the most ideal cases were candidates for Invisalign, these days they can take on all but the most challenging cases.

It sounds like this orthodontist’s communication skills are lacking. You can ask him about switching over, but it doesn’t address the underlying issue—they didn’t give you all the information you needed. It’s worthwhile to have a consultation with another dentist or two to see if you’re a candidate for the aligners.

You Might Also Be Able to Fix Your Yellow Braces

Usually, the bands get changed out once per month, so you’re either due for a change or coming due for one. That will give you a chance to start fresh. Unfortunately, if you have habits like smoking, it’ll be an uphill battle to keep them clear.

Ultimately, the choice is yours—only you know whether it’s worth the trouble of trying to switch at this point. However, if you’re a candidate, you can switch at any point. If you decide to switch dentists, which I would not blame you for, he is ethically obligated to send all the diagnostic x-rays, etc. to your new dentist.

This blog is sponsored by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Invisalign with Missing Teeth

I have two missing second bicuspids and want to get my teeth straightened. I feel like I’m too old for braces. I was thinking of getting Invisalign. I went to see an orthodontist and he doesn’t think Invisalign is all it is cracked up to be. He wants me to get traditional braces. Is that my only option?

Katherine

Dear Katherine,

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign: The adult solutions to braces

My guess is your orthodontist is more comfortable with traditional metal wire and bracket braces. However, Invisalign should work fine in your case, though you may have better success with a dentist who treats with Invisalign than with a traditional orthodontist.

It will do fine with the missing teeth. It could close the spaces so that you wouldn’t even need to replace them with dental implants. However, let your dentist evaluate that.

If he thinks replacing the teeth is necessary, just make sure he has post-doctoral training in restorative dentistry.

A Fun Benefit to Invisalign

There is another perk to Invisalign aside from straightening your teeth. Because the aligners are custom-fit to move your bite, they are very snug. This makes them ideal for doubling as teeth whitening trays.

Your dentist can provide you with whitening gel that you can place in your Invisalign aligners at a time convenient to you. This allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. It’s like getting a mini smile makeover at a discount.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Solution for huge tooth gap

I have a large tooth gap. It was last measured at 9mm. I thought about doing Snap-on Smile, but after all the tests and things, it turned out I wasn’t a candidate for that procedure. I’m too old for braces, so I’m thinking about Lumineers. I have scheduled an appointment with a Lumineers certified dentist in a couple of weeks but thought I’d check and see if you thought that was a waste of my time and money.

Kevin

Dear Kevin,

I am very glad you wrote before going through with this plan of Lumineers. While I am sure you could find a dentist willing to do it for you, it would end up a disaster!

The size of your gap is enough to fit another tooth. Unless the dentist is a top of the line, expert cosmetic dentist you are going to end up with something that looks ridiculous. And I will tell you right off the bat, dentists who advertise as placing Lumineers tend to be at the bottom of the barrel of cosmetic dentists.

The Lumineers company markets themselves to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place because they don’t require any tooth preparation, the way other brands of porcelain veneers do. There are two problems with that.

One, that rarely turns out looking anything but bulky. Some people have described it as horse teeth. And, two, there is a whole lot more to creating a beautiful smile than just the tooth preparation.

An Invisible Alternative to Braces

side by side compairison of braces
Braces versus Invisalign

You mentioned you were too old for braces. Has your dentist discussed Invisalign with you yet? These are sometimes called invisible braces.

Both people in the image above are wearing orthodontics. The one on the left is wearing traditional braces. The one on the right is wearing Invisalign. No one will be able to tell you are wearing them even at a conversational distance.

With the size of the gap you are talking about Invisalign would be my number one recommendation for repair. It has an added benefit as well. Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners to straighten your teeth. Those aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This will allow you to straighten and whiten your teeth all at once.

If you don’t like the idea of any orthodontics, then you will need to go with porcelain veneers. However, as I mentioned above, you will need an expert cosmetic dentist in your case. I would only see an AACD accredited dentist to do your porcelain veneers case, if that is what you decide on.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Fixing a single front tooth

The tooth just to the right of my front tooth is crooked. It goes a little behind the other teeth. I’ve had one dentist say braces were my only option. Another suggested I just pull that tooth. I don’t like either suggestion, but given the choice between the two, I’d pick pulling the tooth. I have a last ditch effort to keep my tooth. Is there any chance Invisalign would work in my case?

Penny

Dear Penny,

Whatever you do, don’t let anyone pull the tooth. Your smile would never look right. Even if people didn’t know exactly why, an uneven number of front teeth will always look off.

You have two great options for straightening your tooth.

Option One: Invisalign

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign: The adult solutions to braces

Yes, Invisalign is an option for you. It used to be that it could only handle the ideal cases, but that is no longer true. Advancements in Invisalign have enabled it to take on more challenging cases these days.

It has an additional benefit as well. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This will enable you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. It’s like getting a mini smile makeover.

Option Two: Porcelain Veneers

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

These are more useful if you want to change more about your smile. Porcelain veneers are the go-to procedure for total smile makeovers. It can simultaneously, change the shape, size, and color of your teeth.

While it won’t straight the crooked tooth the way Invisalign will, it will make your smile look completely straight.

One thing to be aware of is while any dentist who offers Invisalign can use it with equal skill, it takes an expert cosmetic dentist to do a beautiful smile makeover. The best cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited. They can create a stunning smile for you.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetid Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

will a dental flipper make my teeth look straight?

I’m too old for braces, but the way my teeth stick out is really holding me back professionally. Is there a way if I put a dental flipper over my teeth it could make my teeth look straight?

Kimberly

Dear Kimberly,

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign: The adult solutions to braces

I think you are confusing a dental flipper with Snap-on Smile. A dental flipper is a temporary tooth replacement that clasps onto the adjacent teeth. It’s designed to be used while you are waiting on the completion of your permanent tooth replacement.

Snap-on Smile is a false tooth arch made of crystallized acetyl resin. It can snap over your teeth. Because this will add bulk to your teeth and you mentioned your teeth are already sticking out, I don’t think this would be a good solution for you. Your teeth would stick out even farther.

Invisalign: The Adult Orthodontic Solution

I know you said you’re too old for braces. As an adult, I wouldn’t want metal wires and brackets on my teeth either. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Now we have what is the equivalent of invisible braces, called Invisalign. These use clear aligners instead of wires and brackets. These will straighten your teeth without anyone even knowing. They are invisible, even at a conversational distance.

Invisalign has an added benefit. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. Now, not only can you have straight teeth, but you can whiten them simultaneously. This is a two for one mini smile makeover. You’ll have a brand new smile you’ll be proud to share.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Invisalign or porcelain veneers

I wanted to get Lumineers. I have a tooth which is a little crooked. Not enough for full orthodontic treatment. That’s why I was hoping to do Lumineers because I was told they could just go on top of my teeth. My dentist said I could do them, but would need Invisalign first for the crooked tooth. Are both really necessary? That’s more money than I was planning.

Katie

Dear Katie,

Invisalign aligner

Please bear in mind that I haven’t seen your case, but in general you would either do Invisalign or Lumineers, not both. There would be some exceptions in severe orthodontic cases. Based on what you’d mentioned, I don’t think that is your situation.

Let’s go over what you can do with each treatment and you will have an idea of which will most help you meet your smile goals.

Invisalign

These use clear aligners to straighten your teeth. No one will know you are wearing them, even at a conversational distance. That is why some people call them invisible braces.

They are more comfortable than traditional metal wire and bracket braces and usually work in half the time.

The aligners have the additional benefit of being able to double as teeth whitening trays. This allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth simultaneously.

If all you feel your teeth need are a straighter look and whiter color, this method will save you thousands of dollars.

Lumineers

The first thing you should know is that Lumineers are simply one brand of porcelain veneers. Most expert cosmetic dentists prefer other brands. This is mostly because this brand is owned by the DenMat company, which requires dentists to use their labs. This lab is not known for skilled results.

Porcelain veneers, when done by a skilled cosmetic dentist can completely remake your smile. They can change the shape of your teeth, the size of your teeth, and the color of your teeth all at the same time. It is the go-to for celebrities trying to get that perfect Hollywood smile.

While it won’t straighten your teeth, it can make your teeth look straight.

Even without the need to make your crooked tooth look straight, doing a smile makeover is an advanced procedure. Your particular case requires a little more expertise.

If you want to go that route. I’d go to aacd.com and search for an accredited cosmetic dentist in your area. Dentists who’ve reached accreditation are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Fixing long teeth

My two front teeth are insanely long. They also stick out a bit from the rest of my teeth. I feel like a beaver and hate all of my pictures. I’m trying to find a cosmetic solution but can’t find one. Do you think the only solution is for me to have my front teeth removed and have dental implants placed? I’m desperate.

Lucy

Dear Lucy,

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign can straighten teeth without anyone knowing.

Please don’t remove your front teeth!! There are always solutions. I am going to make a suggestion, but want to preface it with the precaution that I haven’t examined you. This is a solution based on my understanding of your description.

Your front teeth can be trimmed by an expert cosmetic dentist using diamond burrs and diamond strips. They can be filed down on the sides to narrow them and on the biting surfaces to make them smaller.

Once they’re a size you’re pleased with, Invisalign can be used to align them properly. An added benefit of Invisalign is the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This lets you get a mini smile makeover.

Depending on how much structure has to be removed, you may need porcelain veneers to cover any exposed dentin.

You Need an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

None of my suggestions matter, though. You need to see an expert cosmetic dentist and let them tell you what is the best solution. They’ll give you a smile you’ll be proud to share.

The best cosmetic dentists in the country are accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

This blog is brought to you Lafayette, LA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

porcelain veneers & invisalign?

I’m hoping you can help me make a decision. I want to whiten my teeth and I have two crooked front teeth. I was thinking I could fix both getting porcelain veneers. I spoke to my dentist about it and he said that would be fine, but he’d like me to straighten the front teeth first. I was hoping not to have to do orthodontics because they’re so unattractive and take forever. Is it really necessary?

Kathryn

Dear Kathryn,

Invisalign aligner
You can now straighten your teeth invisibly

First, please understand that I haven’t seen your teeth and can only go by your description. Unless there is something your dentist hasn’t explained to you, I’m puzzled why you would need both as well.

Generally, a patient will either do porcelain veneers or orthodontics, not both. There could be an exception if you have either a serious bite problem or overly crowded teeth. In those unusual cases, it would be helpful to have orthodontics first. Other than that, you can just have porcelain veneers placed and it will make your front teeth appear to be straight.

If you are in that position, then I have some helpful news for you. You can completely straighten your teeth without anyone knowing. Invisalign uses clear aligners. You can see an image of one of the aligners above. When you are wearing them, they are completely invisible, even at a conversational distance.

The best part is they have the benefit of being able to whiten your teeth simultaneously. The aligners used to straighten your teeth can also double as teeth whitening trays.

Invisalign or Porcelain Veneers

If you have the choice and all you want to do is whiten and straighten your teeth, you would save a lot of money using Invisalign. However, if there are other things about your smile you want to change, such as the shape or length, then porcelain veneers are the way to go.

These are the go-to for a complete smile makeover. One word of caution. They require technical expertise as well as an artistic eye. Not every dentist can do a smile makeover with porcelain veneers. There are countless cosmetic dentistry horror stories to back this up.

If you decide to go that route, you will want a dentist who has been accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

If you go the Invisalign/teeth whitening route, just about any family dentist can do it.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

pain with Invisalign

I know that braces cause pain because all my friends complained about it when I was growing up. I’m old enough to know I don’t want a mouth full of metal while I straighten my teeth. It would just seem unprofessional. However, I want to know what I’m signing up for. Does Invisalign have pain the way traditional braces do?

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

Invisalign aligner

It’s always wise to go into any treatment with a good idea of the pros and cons. The pros of Invisalign are obvious.

  • They work in half the time as traditional braces
  • You can eat and drink whatever you want
  • You can brush and floss much more easily
  • You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing
  • You don’t have to worry about cuts and abrasions from metal wires and brackets.

There is one point in which Invisalign aligners can ache a bit. You switch aligners every two weeks. For the day or two when you first put in your new set of aligners, they will feel snug and ache a bit.

This is because the aligners are sculpted to the next alignment your teeth should be in by the time the two-week time period is up. After those first few days, your teeth will be in that new position and the aligners will feel loose.

Usually, just some over-the-counter pain reliever is enough to keep the pain at bay.

An Unexpected Benefit with Invisalign

One extra treat you can get out of Invisalign is inexpensive teeth whitening. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. So, all you will need to purchase from your dentist is the whitening gel that you can place in your aligners for a period of time each day.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Problems with invisalign

I’ve been considering getting Invisalign, but decided to talk to an acquaintance who’d already used them. She said she’d never had worse breath than when she wore them. I decided to do some online research about that issue and it seems some people have had that same problem, but others absolutely love them. Does that mean that particular issue is preventable?

Marcia

Dear Marcia,

A woman placing in her Invisalign aligners

Absolutely that one is preventable. Invisalign is removable. As such, it allows you to eat whatever you want. Then, you simply pop them back in when you are done. However, your dentist will strongly recommend you brush and floss your teeth after each meal before you put them back on.

There is a good reason for that. Every time you eat, you get some food and bacteria on and between your teeth. If you don’t remove that before you place the aligners back on, they’re going to fester there. That will lead to some seriously bad breath. It would also leave a nasty taste in your mouth. Simply brushing before replacing them completely fixes this problem.

Two Other Common Invisalign Issues

So you are completely prepared for Invisalign treatment, I want to tell you about two other common issues.

The first is some minor aches when you switch aligners. With Invisalign, you wear a pair of aligners which you will switch out every two weeks. Each pair gently moves your teeth into another position.

The first couple of days, the aligners will feel a bit snug. That’s because it is new position. By the third day, they should feel like a perfect fit. The remainder of the two week is to allow the bone time to form around the new root position.

Many patients don’t feel any discomfort. However, if you are one who does, most often some mild over the counter pain relievers is enough to make a difference.

The second common issue is excess saliva. For some patients, when they first start Invisalign, their body thinks of it as a foreign substance in their mouth which needs to be digested. It responds by producing excess saliva. Fortunately, this fades quite quickly.

An Unexpected Invisalign Benefit

While everyone expects to have a straighter smile by the end of their Invisalign treatment, did you know you could also have a whiter smile as well? Invisalign aligners can double as teeth whitening trays.

All you have to do is ask your dentist for some teeth whitening gel, which doesn’t cost much at all. Then, you simply place the gel in your aligners and you’ll have a mini smile makeover at a fraction of the cost.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.