Initial Consultation

Before we start your Invisalign treatment, we want to talk in detail about the current state of your smile and your cosmetic goals. Most people get Invisalign to straighten their teeth, but sometimes we use Invisalign in support of restorative dentistry procedures, such as making space for a dental implant or dental crown. 

If you are a current patient at Rice Dentistry, we will evaluate your dental records. If you are a patient at a different practice, we will want to see your current dental records, but Dr. Rice might perform an additional exam to help him understand your oral health. 

Once Dr. Rice understands your health and cosmetic goals, he will discuss your options. In particular, he will help you understand whether porcelain veneers or Invisalign is better for your smile. If you decide to go forward with Invisalign, we’ll schedule your next appointment. 

Digital Impressions

At your second appointment, we’ll take digital impressions and design your custom treatment plan. 

Invisalign utilizes its own digital scanner to register the current positions of your teeth. It’s a simple process. We essentially wave a wand over your teeth, and the computer constructs a 3D model of your mouth. It’s very fast and takes only a fraction of the time required for traditional impressions. Plus, you won’t have to bite into a tray of goo and worry about holding your bite in place while the material sets. 

If we didn’t take “before” images of your smile at the initial consultation, we will do it now. 

Custom Treatment Plan

Next, we will design your custom treatment plan. This is where the computer analyzes the movements necessary to achieve your beautiful, straight smile. Once the computer has analyzed the movements, it designs an ideal sequence of aligners to achieve these movements. 

The process is largely automatic. The artificial intelligence at Align Technologies draws from the experience of millions of straightened smiles to create the optimum sequence for you. However, Dr. Rice also has the ability to tweak the treatment plan based on his experience. 

At this point, you’ll be able to see a simulation of your new smile. 

hand holding a set of alignersAligner Fabrication

When they receive your treatment plan, Invisalign will fabricate the aligners according to your personal treatment plan. This typically takes 1-2 weeks. Invisalign aligners utilize advanced materials and special design features. The advanced material helps ensure that the aligners deliver consistent force to your teeth rather than declining force, as some aligners do. In addition, the aligners have texturing that helps them apply force to your teeth. This helps your teeth move faster and more accurately. 

Wearing the Aligners

The next step in treatment is up to you: properly wearing your aligners to help your treatment proceed accurately and on schedule. You can remove your aligners as necessary for eating, hygiene, and some special circumstances. However, you should try to wear them for a minimum of 20 hours a day–and 22 is best for keeping your treatment on schedule. If you are wearing your aligners properly, you’ll see results after a few weeks of wear.

Always remove your aligners for eating–never consume anything but water with your aligners in. Clean your aligners as recommended. 

Now Invisalign aligners can operate as teeth whitening trays, too. Make sure to follow the instructions for whitening to help ensure your smile remains healthy as it brightens. 

Progress Check-ups

To ensure your Invisalign treatment stays on track, you’ll visit Dr. Rice every six to eight weeks. These check-ups let us ensure your progress but also check on the health of your teeth. 

If necessary, we might recommend changes to your treatment plan. For example, we might recommend changing aligners more or less frequently, encourage you to change your oral hygiene, or recommend different care for your aligners. 

Advancing to the Next Set of Aligners

You will wear each aligner for one or two weeks, depending on the complexity of your treatment and how well you keep to the treatment plan. 

Obviously, this can make a huge difference in the speed of your treatment. Invisalign’s aligners allow faster tooth movements, but sometimes we want to take the extra time to allow your teeth to move. This is for your benefit: healthy tooth movements can improve the quality and stability of your results. Don’t try to rush treatment: only move on to the next aligner as recommended by Dr. Rice. 

Completion of Treatment

When you finish wearing your final aligner, you should have a beautiful, straight smile simulated at the beginning of treatment. 

In rare cases, your final results might not match the treatment plan. In that case, we might recommend refinements. These are much rarer than in the early days of Invisalign treatment. 

Retainer Usage

The same forces that initially led to your crooked smile are still at work in your mouth. If you want to avoid your teeth returning to their former positions, you need to wear a retainer. At first, your teeth are very likely to move, so you’ll wear your retainer just as much as you wear your aligners. Over time, you will wear your retainer less often: just at night, then some nights. 

Dr. Rice will recommend how often you wear your retainer and let you know when you can wear it less frequently. 

Get Invisalign in Irvine

If you’re looking for a way to straighten your smile without traditional metal brackets and wires, then Invisalign might be perfect for you. To learn whether you’re a candidate for Invisalign, please contact Rice Dentistry in Irvine today for an appointment.