Your Expert Guide to Invisalign

Invisalign clear aligners offer a remarkable and subtle alternative to braces which can enable you to achieve a healthier and straighter smile. As one of the top reviewed Invisalign dentists in Berkeley, we are proud to offer Invisalign specialist services. Here is our expert guide to the Invisalign process.


Key Points:

  • The Invisalign process involves using a system of clear, plastic, removable aligners that you wear for up to 22 hours a day to straighten your teeth unless you are eating and drinking.

  • The aligners are changed as your teeth gradually move. Typically, the aligners are replaced around every two weeks with a brand-new set to move your progress forward.

  • Patients frequently find clear aligners deliver a faster result than braces – depending on your treatment plan you may be finished anywhere from one month to 12 months.

When considering Invisalign vs. braces, the difference between using Invisalign and metal braces to straighten your teeth is that braces use wires, brackets, and elastic bands to move your teeth into the desired position. When you have braces, your orthodontist periodically tightens the wires and sometimes uses elastic bands in various positions to change the angle of the movement. Your braces are in a constant state of movement throughout the treatment.

Unlike braces, Invisalign trays can be removed for eating and drinking, but must be worn on your teeth for 22 hours a day. Traditional braces remain fixed in place for 24 hours a day.

Why You May Need Invisalign

At Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry we carefully assess each individual patient on a case-by-case basis. You are a good candidate for Invisalign if your teeth are overcrowded, or you may have periodontal or gum issues, which can be rectified by having your teeth straightened.

Other patients who are good candidates for Invisalign can typically feel they have unwanted space between their teeth when they smile.

Alternatively, you may be having issues with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is an excessive strain on the jaw joints and the muscle group that controls chewing, swallowing, and speech.

Other reasons you may feel you need a tooth straightening system can include having a discrepancy between your upper and lower arch. We also see patients who feel they want to or need to correct the alignment of their bite. As an Invisalign specialist in Berkeley, these are all issues we can assist you with by providing the benefit of Invisalign treatment.

As a top-reviewed dentist in Berkeley, Dr. Nisha Kalra has achieved very positive results with patients who may have worn braces when they were children or in their teens, and they stopped wearing their retainers or lost them.

The impact of not wearing a retainer after having your braces removed can result in your teeth gradually moving out of place. The Invisalign system is specifically designed to help move your teeth back to where they were when your braces were first removed.

What Does Invisalign Treatment Involve?

Dr. Kalra has trained with The American Academy of Clear Aligners (AACA) and is part of a study club with its President, Dr. David Galler.

When a patient comes to see Dr. Kalra about the possibility of wearing Invisalign, she initially conducts an in-depth evaluation to see if they are a suitable candidate.

At Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry we use an iTero intraoral scanner to look at your bite and how it comes together. The scanner creates 3D images to illustrate where you are putting pressure on your teeth.

Dr. Kalra will use the images of the patient’s teeth to look for conditions such as malocclusion, cavities, and any injuries to the gums or teeth.

Using the iTero scanner also means Dr. Kalra can make detailed adjustments to your treatment. She routinely compares scans, typically conducting a second scan at around six months to monitor your progress.

Once Dr. Kalra has created a treatment plan with clear aligners, she sends the scans to Invisalign to have the aligners made.

These customized clear orthodontic aligners are designed specifically for each patient’s needs. The first set of aligners is similar to a patient’s current alignment, with a series of small changes created in each new tray to move a patient forward towards their goal of straighter teeth. Each aligner slowly forces your teeth into the optimal position.

Typically, the first several sets of aligners are available to patients at our practice in a couple of weeks. Dr. Kalra then sees you for a follow-up appointment, where she will walk you through how to fit your aligners, as well as provide you with detailed videos to watch at home to support your treatment.

After the initial fitting for Invisalign treatment, Dr. Kalra typically gives patients four sets of aligners. She will then see patients at around three months so they can come in for a hygiene and cleaning appointment, where she can rescan or overlay the scans to compare them. Dr. Kalra can then confirm that your teeth are moving into the ideal position and there is no occlusion.

At Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry, we are incredibly proud of the personal level of care we offer to patients. Dr. Kalra gives patients her cell phone number so they can text or call her directly with any concerns.

In some cases, a patient may have difficulty in getting their next set of aligners to fit comfortably. Dr. Kalra provides a video that demonstrates how to use ‘Munchies’ which are a type of bite appliance. Munchies can assist with enabling aligners to fit more closely and comfortably on the teeth.

Once a patient has completed Invisalign treatment, patients are strongly advised to consider using a retainer to keep newly straightened teeth in place. The retainer will be created specifically for each individual patient.

What Are the Positive Outcomes of Using Invisalign?

Invisalign is considered one of the leading clear aligner treatments and is virtually invisible; therefore patients rarely feel self-conscious when they wear their clear aligners.

Invisalign can also be removed when you eat, meaning you do not necessarily have to forgo your favorite foods. With braces, you may have to stop eating foods such as nuts and chewy candy. These foods should be avoided because they can damage the brackets and wires, and debris can get caught between your teeth and the brackets, resulting in plaque build-up.

Invisalign typically results in healthier and cleaner teeth and can reduce the potential issues of broken teeth or a misaligned bite. When you have straighter teeth, you can also reduce the possibility of developing gum disease or other associated periodontal issues, as well as reduce plaque build-up and remove it more easily.

Having a straighter smile ultimately results in giving you a more positive and confident attitude when you are in social situations. You can feel proud of your smile.

5 Common Questions about Invisalign

1. Does Invisalign hurt?

When you have had your Invisalign trays fitted, there may be a little discomfort for the first few days of your treatment. However, this is a very short-term feeling, and is usually a result of the process of your teeth beginning to move into the desired position. At Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry, we are proud to have a minimal waste policy and employ environmentally friendly dental techniques where possible. Invisalign is made from BPA-free plastic, which means you will not have anything harmful in your mouth.

2. How do you clean Invisalign trays?

You should clean your Invisalign trays once a day. We suggest you incorporate cleaning your trays into your teeth cleaning regimen in the morning. Clean your Invisalign trays with a retainer cleansing solution to get the best results. When you eat highly acidic or staining food it is important to clean or rinse the trays before placing them back on your teeth. To see optimal results in teeth movement you should wear each tray for 1-2 weeks at a time, according to the schedule provided by your dentist.

3. How do you sanitize Invisalign trays?

There may be an occasion when you drop your Invisalign aligners on the floor. Of course, accidents happen! By using a retainer cleansing solution, you can clean your aligners. Remember not to use heat or hot water which can distort and damage your Invisalign trays.

4. How much does Invisalign cost?

There are a variety of price points for Invisalign. The cost of treatment can vary due to the complexity of the orthodontic problem and how long treatment will take. Schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Kalra today to discuss your individual needs.

5. Does health insurance cover Invisalign?

At Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry we work with patients to determine if your health insurance benefits include Invisalign treatment. If your plan covers orthodontic treatment, it is likely that Invisalign is covered.

Schedule an Appointment with Berkeley Lifestyle Dentistry, the Top Reviewed Dentist in Berkeley, CA

If you are considering Invisalign clear aligners, our team is dedicated to answering all your questions. Dr. Kalra wants to ensure the best treatment plan to provide you with a beautiful, healthy smile.

for your consultation and learn more about Invisalign clear aligner treatment.


Your Expert Guide to Invisalign

Invisalign clear aligners offer a remarkable and subtle alternative to braces wh...

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