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Invisalign®: Are You Too Old for Braces?

You’ve made it well into adulthood with imperfect teeth, and you may be thinking that you’re too old to do anything about them now. However, perfecting your smile with braces isn’t just about appearances. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean, which means that your risk of developing cavities and gum disease decreases dramatically after orthodontic treatment. You are never too old to reap the benefits of straight teeth, but if you’re embarrassed to go the traditional route with metal brackets and wires, you should consider Invisalign® from our Shiloh and O’Fallon Invisalign® dentist, Dr. Kevin Shelton.

What Can Invisalign® Do for You?

Invisalign® is a system of clear acrylic aligners that fit tightly over the top and bottom teeth. These aligners, which are suitable for adults and teens, can do the following:

• Align your teeth: Invisalign® can correct most mild or moderate cases of tooth misalignment. More severe cases involving rotated teeth or extreme bite issues will respond better to conventional braces.

• Treat your orthodontic issues discreetly: Because the aligners are clear, most people won’t even know that you are wearing them. This allows you to go about your normal routine with confidence and not attract unwanted attention.

• Allow you to eat and drink what you want: With traditional braces, your food choices are restricted. Anything hard, chewy, or sticky can damage or break your brackets and wires. However, you'll remove your Invisalign® aligners to eat, so you can freely enjoy popcorn, nuts and any other foods that are forbidden with braces.

• Help you maintain good tooth and gum health: Navigating floss and a toothbrush around metal braces makes your oral hygiene routine a challenge, but keeping your mouth impeccably clean is a snap with Invisalign®. After removing your aligners, you can easily reach all tooth surfaces with your toothbrush and floss.

How Is Invisalign® Treatment Administered?

The first thing our O’Fallon and Shiloh Invisalign® dentist will do is take digital X-rays, photos and measurements of your teeth, jaws and face and send them to the Invisalign® laboratories. They will use this information to create a series of aligners for both your top and bottom teeth.

The number of aligners you receive depends upon the severity of your tooth misalignment. Average cases require 20 to 30 sets and take about a year to complete. Each aligner is worn a minimum of 20 hours a day for around two weeks, and then you'll switch to the next one. Every new aligner moves your teeth a little bit closer to their ideal positions. Every four to six weeks, you’ll come to our office, so we can check your progress.

You should only remove your aligners to eat meals and clean your teeth. Wearing them the required 20 to 22 hours per day ensures that treatment progresses as it should.

Who Is Not a Good Candidate?

Young children are not good candidates for Invisalign® because they do not yet have all of their permanent teeth in place. Regular Invisalign® is designed for adults, and Invisalign® Teen is a special system for children and adolescents whose adult teeth have all erupted. The average age for receiving all permanent teeth is 12, but it can happen earlier in some children.

Invisalign® is not a good treatment method for extremely large tooth gaps, severely crooked teeth or skeletal issues that affect the bite. Compliance with wearing and caring for your aligners is the key to successful treatment. Therefore, patients who are lax in their oral care habits, and those who aren’t likely to wear the aligners for the required time each day, should consider another orthodontic treatment method.

To find out if you are a good candidate for Invisalign® or Invisalign® Teen in O’Fallon or Shiloh, do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to answer your questions and present all of your options for attaining a healthier and more beautiful smile at any age.

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