Invisalign® in Los Altos, CA
Dr. Ken Schweifler is a Los Altos Invisalign® provider. He can straighten your smile using clear aligners to improve your confidence and build better long-term dental health.
Clear aligners allow teen and adult patients to achieve straighter, more comfortable smiles with discreet treatment. They are removable for enjoying your favorite foods and thoroughly cleaning your teeth and gums throughout treatment. Invisalign is a cosmetic dental procedure that we use to treat a range of concerns, such as:
- Crooked teeth
- Crowding of teeth
- Orthodontic relapse in adults
Invisalign uses gentle forces to realign teeth into the desired position. We use digital impressions of your mouth and CAD/CAM software for evaluation and treatment planning. The entire process is painless and minimally invasive compared to traditional metal braces. Dr. Schweifler will provide detailed instructions for changing out your custom set of aligners and daily oral hygiene.
The timetable for Invisalign® is comparable to that of regular braces. Since each patient requires a slightly different alignment, an initial consultation will be necessary to determine how long treatment will take. Please refer to the timeline below to further understand the specific steps involved.
Step 1: Talk to us
There is no better way to see how Invisalign can help you than to speak with Dr. Schweifler personally. A preliminary discussion and exam will allow him to lay out your own personal timetable and illustrate what you can expect to gain from treatment. More importantly, you can learn if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. For instance, teenagers and adults will likely benefit from treatment, whereas children with baby teeth are not yet suitable candidates.
Step 2: Get an exam
Our examination is quick and painless. If you are ready to begin treatment, we will measure your teeth’ dimensions through pictures, X-rays, documents, and physical impressions. With these, we will create a 3-D image of your teeth, allowing Invisalign to create a series of custom aligners for your treatment plan. You will even see a simulation image of how your teeth align at each process phase.
Step 3: Wear the aligner
You will wear a new one every two weeks to continue the treatment and help your teeth progress in alignment. You will not need a new checkup each time, as we create these from the original examination. You can remove them for eating, brushing, and flossing, but they will go unnoticed as they discreetly move your teeth into place.
Step 4: Enjoy straight, beautiful teeth
By the end of your Invisalign treatment timeline, your friends may not know that you were wearing anything – only that your smile seems even nicer. The physical process and results are equivalent to braces but without drawing visible attention.
Why Straighten Crooked Teeth?
Many people believe that crooked teeth are only a cosmetic concern. Why treat crooked teeth if you don’t mind the way they look? The answer: crooked teeth can greatly impact your oral health. Crooked teeth are often cramped and have irregular gaps between them. They provide more places for bacteria to accumulate, and you may not be able to reach them with your brushing and flossing routine. The longer this builds up, the more likely you will have gum disease and tooth decay problems.
When you bite down, the pressure is evenly distributed throughout your teeth. When your teeth are crooked, it’s not even distribution. Some teeth take on more of it than others. These teeth wear down much quicker and are more likely to suffer from chips or breaks because they take on more pressure. Restorative dentistry techniques may be needed to treat the problems caused by crooked teeth.
Lastly, crooked teeth often lead to TMJ problems. When your bite isn’t even, it impacts how your jaw joint moves. The disc that helps the jaw track smoothly wears down, and bone issues develop. TMJ causes pain and pressure throughout the jaw, face, and head. You may experience your jaw popping and clicking or struggle to open and close your jaw properly. It may get stuck open or closed.
Invisalign Vs. Traditional Metal Braces
Invisalign and traditional braces are the most popular options to straighten teeth and correct your bite. While both focus on correcting your bite, they have some distinct differences. For starters, Invisalign is a set of clear plastic aligners that you change out to slowly shift your teeth. Metal braces use brackets bonded to the teeth and wires that connect them all. The dentist tightens these wires to move the teeth.
Invisalign treats mild to moderate oral health concerns. There’s less pressure on the teeth with Invisalign compared to metal braces. You may need metal braces for successful treatment if you have more severe issues. Because there’s less pressure, patients report that treatment with Invisalign is more comfortable than traditional braces.
Invisalign makes it easier for oral health, too. The aligners are removable, so you must take them out to eat and perform your oral healthcare routine. You can brush and floss like you normally would. With braces, you must learn different techniques to ensure you’re cleaning properly around the brackets and wires. Plaque and tartar build up easily around the brackets and can cause staining that leaves a white spot when you remove the braces.
Another benefit of removable aligners is that you don’t have any dietary restrictions. You can eat anything without worrying about breaking a wire or bracket. You can keep a healthy, balanced diet without any restrictions.
Invisalign treatment is usually quicker and less expensive than metal braces. On average, it lasts around 12-18 months, while traditional braces take multiple years. Only you and your dentist can choose the correct option for your needs. We aim to provide our patients with the solution that’ll give them the desired results and fit their budget appropriately.
Caring for Your Invisalign Clear Aligners
When you’re doing Invisalign treatment, it’s important that you take care of the aligners properly. Never eat or drink anything but water when the aligners are in your mouth. Drinks like coffee and cola can stain the aligners, so they’ll be yellow-brown instead of clear. Eating with the aligners in can scratch and damage the aligners. If they’re scratched, they’ll no longer be invisible. If you damage the aligners, your treatment will be delayed until we get you new ones.
Every time you take your aligners out, rinse them out. This helps remove built-up debris or plaque. You should also clean them more deeply regularly. Use a soft toothbrush and mild soap to scrub your aligners. You can also use Invisalign cleaner or certain denture cleaners so you can soak the aligners in it to clean them more thoroughly.
When you’re done cleaning them, ensure that they’re left out to dry all the way. Bacteria thrive in warm, wet environments. If you put your aligners away wet with no ventilation, they’re susceptible to harmful bacteria buildup. These bacteria can make you seriously ill or even kill you, so you don’t want to put that in your mouth. Store your aligners in a ventilated case or leave them to air dry after you clean and use them.
Take your aligners out when you’re swimming or playing any contact sports. Getting hit in the mouth by a ball or other player can damage the aligners. If you get chlorinated water around your aligners, it can also damage them. Keep them in a ventilated carrying case when they aren’t in use so you don’t lose them.
Invisalign is one of the most popular options for straightening crooked teeth. Learn more about Invisalign treatment by reading the answers to these frequently asked questions.
How long is treatment with Invisalign?
The total treatment time will vary for each individual patient. It will depend on the severity of your bite problem, your cosmetic goals, and the number of aligners you need. On average, patients complete treatment with Invisalign in about 15 months.
Can I speed up Invisalign treatment?
No, and there can be serious consequences if you attempt to. Switching to a new set of aligners, you experience discomfort for the first few days as your mouth adjusts. However, that doesn’t mean you’re set to change to a new pair once you stop feeling this. The aligner changing is spaced out so that your mouth adjusts properly. If you go too fast, the mouth isn’t ready. Your teeth become loose, and they can even fall out if you continue doing it.
Will dental insurance cover Invisalign treatment?
Sometimes, your dental health benefits may cover part of your Invisalign treatment. However, this is only for benefits that include orthodontics. Our office will work with you to determine your possible benefits and provide information on your cost of treatment. Dr. Schweifler also offers payment plans.
Is Invisalign treatment uncomfortable?
Most patients will forget they wear aligners after the first day or two with a new set. There is often mild discomfort with tooth pressure when you put on a new set of aligners for the first time. Over-the-counter pain medication should relieve this; symptoms typically resolve in a day or two.
Do I need to wear a retainer after the Invisalign treatment?
You should wear a retainer regularly for the rest of your life to maintain tooth position. Dr. Schweifler will monitor your bite when you visit for routine dental care. He will also advise when and how long you must wear a retainer.
Am I a good candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign treats mild to moderate orthodontic concerns. If you have more severe orthodontic concerns, we may have to refer you to a trusted orthodontist. There’s also a degree of responsibility that comes with Invisalign. You have to be diligent about cleaning your aligners and removing and replacing them at the correct times. Otherwise, you can compromise your treatment.
Determine if Invisalign is Right For You
To learn more about Invisalign and to discuss your personal goals, schedule a visit with Dr. Schweifler. We welcome new patients and can help you achieve a beautiful smile with appropriate dentistry. Contact our office at (650) 489-4620 or request an appointment online.