This post was sponsored by the Invisalign® brand and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
A couple of months ago, we were presented with the opportunity to partner with the Invisalign® brand for complimentary Invisalign Teen treatment for our daughters. Zoë is 11 and Kaylee is 9, so they’re right at the age where we’re exploring different options for orthodontic treatment.
We knew Zoë definitely needed to have her overbite corrected and Kaylee has expressed interest in having her teeth straightened so she can “have a straight smile,” so they were both pretty excited to go see the orthodontist.
We were worried about metal braces with metal brackets since we live a very active lifestyle and snowboarding is such a huge part of the girls’ lives. I can’t imagine how painful it would be to smack your face with braces. In addition, the pain and discomfort of getting braces cranked down compared to putting in a new set of aligners is supposed to be a lot less. So the idea of Invisalign treatment over traditional braces was definitely appealing to all of us.
To find out if they qualified for treatment, we scheduled an initial consultation for both girls! Brian even created a really great video of our entire visit so you can actually experience the initial consultation firsthand.
After watching the video, you can read more details about our experience under the video.
What is Invisalign Treatment?
If you’re not familiar with Invisalign treatment, it’s an alternative to traditional braces. It’s actually considered the most advanced aligner system in the world! Unlike braces, Invisalign treatment is a convenient system for straightening teeth that allows you to remove the nearly clear aligners to enjoy the foods you love and maintain good oral hygiene.
How it works is that you get a series of clear aligners made that will slowly straighten your teeth by shifting them just a little bit at a time and often it takes less time than traditional braces.
Invisalign aligners may or may not have attachments that help move the jawbone, upper & lower teeth and can fix everything from overbites to cross-bites to underbites.
The Orthodontist or Dentist will set up a schedule of follow-up appointments after you’re given the first set of aligners to make sure your teeth are tracking correctly.
The material the aligners are made from has been shown to straighten teeth more predictably than any other clear aligners*, so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re considering your options.
I was surprised to learn that Invisalign clear aligners are able to move teeth horizontally, vertically, and can even rotate them if necessary. I always assumed, incorrectly, that they were only for minor corrections.
* Compared to off-the-shelf, single layer .030in material
Since they’ve been on the market for over 20 years now, they’ve had a lot of experience helping people with everything from simple to complex orthodontic cases. So far, more than 6 million people have gone through Invisalign treatment**.
** Data on file at Align Technology as of October 29, 2018
Since our daughters snowboard and are very active, we were much more interested in Invisalign clear aligners than traditional braces.
In case you’re curious, the cost of Invisalign treatment is often comparable to braces and many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign aligners just as they would any other orthodontic treatment, so check with your provider.
Our First Invisalign Appointment
Invisalign aligner trays are fitted either by a dentist or an orthodontist through a series of digital x-rays and digital scans.
Our initial consultation was with Hoff Orthodontics in Redlands, CA, which is a local Invisalign-trained orthodontic practice. Dr. Hoff is an Invisalign Blue Diamond Provider and is the top Invisalign provider in the area.
When we first walked in, we were greeted and checked in. Then we were given a tour of the office.
When we first walked in, we were greeted and checked in. Then we were given a tour of the office. After the tour, it was straight over to imaging for both girls. They took photographs of their face, all of their teeth and their bite.
Then did a 3D scan of their heads so we could see everything that is going on.
We then headed back over to Dr. Hoff’s office where he could examine the girls’ mouths and talk about the imaging with us. We discussed Kaylee first since she’s younger.
Kaylee Still Has a Lot of Baby Teeth
Right now, Kaylee isn’t quite ready for Invisalign clear aligners because she still has too many baby teeth, as you can see in the 3D image of her head. We did learn, however, that she needed to have a special retainer made to hold space in her mouth for her adult teeth to come in properly.
We’ll reevaluate whether she’s a good candidate for Invisalign treatment again when she has lost her baby teeth. Dr. Hoff said she’ll be ready in 12-24 months.
Zoë is Ready for Invisalign Treatment
After we finished up talking about Kaylee, it was time to talk about Zoë. She just turned 11, but she only has one baby tooth left. We knew she had an overbite, but we didn’t realize she had other things in her mouth that needed to be corrected like a cross-bite.
Dr. Hoff explained, in detail, the issues with Zoë’s teeth, then concluded that she would be a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. He expects her treatment to take up to two years to complete and is hoping she’ll be done in about 18 months.
He explained the advantages of custom aligners over traditional braces to us (you can watch his full talk in the video above). Some of the points he made were that there are no food restrictions like there are with braces because you just take the aligners out and brush normally.
So, that makes keeping your teeth clean a lot easier since braces aren’t in the way and maintaining good oral hygiene is easier since you’re not trying to brush around brackets. You simply remove your aligners in order to eat, brush and floss as you normally would.
We live in the mountains and have to drive over an hour each way to the orthodontist. That’s no big deal, we’re used to it, and with traditional braces, there are emergencies that need to be addressed. A bracket comes loose, a wire breaks or the wire is poking into your child’s gums and it’s straight to the orthodontist to get it fixed.
You don’t have those same urgent issues with Invisalign clear aligners. There are no wires to worry about and no last-minute appointments to fix them if they break. That is a huge reassurance for us since we do live so far from the orthodontist.
No More Pink Goo: On to Digital Impressions
After we decided that Zoë was ready for treatment, it was straight to get the scans to have her Invisalign clear aligners made. It was such a fascinating process! You have to watch the video further up in this post to see how it works.
When I had braces, I had to bite into that messy pink putty to get my impressions done. It tasted awful and it made me gag. If you had braces, then you probably have vivid memories of that experience too. While you can still use the putty for impressions if your practice doesn’t have a digital scanner, you can now also receive impressions digitally with Invisalign treatment, on their iTero® digital scanner. My sweet daughter didn’t have to experience my childhood memory of the pink goo.
The iTero® scanner takes thousands (6,000 to be exact***) of images every second to recreate a 3D digital image of the inside of your child’s mouth on the computer. This allows the orthodontist to create a treatment plan and the Invisalign brand to create your child’s clear aligners.
*** Data on file at Align Technology as of November 7, 2018
When they’re done scanning, you even get to see a rendering of what your child’s new smile could look like. It’s really neat!
Follow Zoë’s Invisalign Treatment Journey
We’ll be talking about Zoë’s Invisalign treatment journey on the blog and social media over the next year or 2. In the next post, you’ll get to see Zoë in her Invisalign clear aligners, so stay tuned!
Find an Invisalign Treatment Provider
If you’re curious whether Invisalign treatment is right for your child, you can use the Doctor Locator feature on the Invisalign® brand website to find an Invisalign-trained orthodontist in your area.