Orthodontic services are a specialized branch of dentistry dedicated to diagnosing, preventing, and correcting dental and facial irregularities. The primary focus of orthodontics is to ensure the proper alignment of teeth and jaws, improving the aesthetics of a person's smile, oral health, and overall well-being.

At Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles, we offer various orthodontic services, including traditional braces, clear aligners, and specialized orthodontic appliances, all customized to meet your needs. So whether you're dealing with issues like crooked teeth, misaligned jaws, or bite irregularities, our team in Santa Clarita is here to guide you through the process.

Types of Orthodontic Conditions

Orthodontic conditions entail a wide range of dental and facial irregularities that affect the alignment of teeth and jaws. These conditions can vary in severity and often require specialized treatment from orthodontic professionals. They include:

Malocclusion

Malocclusion refers to a misalignment of the teeth when the upper and lower jaws do not fit together correctly. There are various types of malocclusion, including:

  • Overbite — Also known as a deep bite, this occurs when the upper front teeth overlap excessively over the lower front teeth.
  • Underbite — In contrast to an overbite, an underbite is characterized by the lower front teeth protruding past the upper front teeth.
  • Crossbite — This occurs when one or more of the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth when the jaw is closed.
  • Open Bite — An open bite is when there is a space between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth are closed together.

Crowding

Crowding is a condition where there is insufficient space in the dental arch for all the teeth to align properly. This can result in teeth overlapping or becoming twisted.

Spacing

The opposite of crowding, spacing refers to gaps or spaces between teeth. Excessive spacing can lead to aesthetic concerns and may indicate orthodontic issues.

Protrusion

Dental protrusion, often referred to as "buck teeth," occurs when the upper front teeth significantly stick out in front of the lower teeth.

Midline Misalignment

This condition arises when the centerline of the upper and lower teeth does not align correctly with the centerline of the face.

Impacted Teeth

Some teeth may fail to erupt properly, remaining partially or completely trapped in the gum or bone. Impacted teeth can disrupt the alignment of neighboring teeth and may require surgical intervention.

Ectopic Eruption

This condition occurs when a tooth erupts in an abnormal position, often due to limited space or other factors. Ectopic eruption can lead to misalignment and discomfort.

Dental Asymmetry

Dental asymmetry refers to an uneven distribution of teeth on one side of the mouth compared to the other. This can affect both aesthetics and functionality.

Overjet

Overjet is a condition where the upper front teeth protrude forward beyond the lower front teeth. It is often associated with a horizontal gap between the upper and lower teeth.

Open Posterior Bite

This condition occurs when the back teeth do not make contact when the jaw is closed, potentially affecting chewing and oral function.

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatments are a diverse range of techniques and interventions aimed at correcting dental and facial irregularities, enhancing the alignment of teeth and jaws, and improving overall oral health. These treatments are provided by orthodontists, who are specialized dental professionals with expertise in diagnosing and managing orthodontic conditions. At Valencia Advanced Dentistry, we offer Invisalign for our patients.

Clear Aligners (e.g., Invisalign)

Clear aligners, exemplified by brands like Invisalign, have revolutionized the field of orthodontics by offering a nearly invisible and highly effective alternative to traditional braces. These transparent, removable trays have gained immense popularity among both teenagers and adults seeking orthodontic treatment.

How Clear Aligners Work

The process of using clear aligners involves several key steps:

Initial Consultation

The orthodontic journey begins with an initial consultation with a qualified orthodontist. During this consultation, the orthodontist assesses the patient's oral health, discusses treatment goals, and determines whether clear aligners are a suitable option.

Digital Impressions

Unlike traditional molds, clear aligners use digital impressions to create a 3D model of the patient's teeth. These digital scans are more comfortable and precise, ensuring a perfect fit for each aligner tray.

Treatment Plan

Using digital impressions, the orthodontist designs a customized treatment plan. This plan outlines the gradual movement of teeth from their current positions to their ideal alignment.

Aligner Trays

Based on the treatment plan, a series of clear aligner trays are manufactured. Patients receive multiple sets of trays, typically changing them every one to two weeks, as directed by their orthodontist.

Regular Checkups

Patients have periodic checkups with their orthodontist to monitor progress and receive new sets of trays. These appointments are typically less frequent than those required with traditional braces.

Advantages of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners offer numerous advantages:

  • Aesthetics — Their transparency makes clear aligners nearly invisible when worn, allowing patients to undergo treatment with minimal impact on their appearance.
  • Comfort — The absence of brackets and wires means there are no sharp or protruding components to cause discomfort or irritation.
  • Removability — Clear aligners are easily removable, enabling patients to eat, drink, and practice regular oral hygiene with ease.
  • Customization — Each set of aligners is precisely tailored to the patient's unique needs, resulting in efficient and effective treatment.
  • No Dietary Restrictions — Unlike traditional braces, there are no dietary restrictions since aligners are removed during meals.

Caring for Clear Aligners

Proper care and maintenance are essential for clear aligners.

  • Oral Hygiene — It's crucial to maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and cleaning the aligners according to your orthodontist's recommendations.
  • Wear Compliance — To ensure optimal results, aligners should be worn as directed by the orthodontist, typically 20-22 hours a day.

Cons of Invisalign

Some of the disadvantages of clear aligners that you should take note of include the following:

  • You should be disciplined — Removing your clear aligners is both an advantage and a disadvantage. If you are not disciplined about wearing them back after brushing or eating, you will not wear them for the recommended 22 hours daily. Your orthodontic treatment might not yield your desired results if you fail to put on the aligners for long periods.
  • Removing your Invisalign can be inconvenient —You should remove your aligners before drinking or eating anything and brush them before replacing them, even in public settings. Otherwise, you risk staining the aligners and putting yourself at a greater risk of bad breath and tooth cavities.
  • They are more costly than other orthodontic devices like braces.

Is Invisalign Painful?

Invisalign can cause discomfort and pain within the initial week of using your aligners because the orthodontic device is tailored to gradually straighten your teeth’s alignment.

Regarding pain, the clear aligners cause temporary and mild pain overall, but not all patients experience pain. Nevertheless, you are at a greater risk of feeling pain if you have:

  • Sensitive teeth
  • A lower pain tolerance
  • Sensitive gingivitis and gums

Moreover, you can feel pain in one tooth. It is a sign that your clear aligners are gradually adjusting the teeth. You might not experience pain in the same tooth with every aligner tray change, and the discomfort should disappear within a couple of days.

When Does Pain Become a Concern?

Your pain should be so severe that it interferes with your everyday activities. You ought to consult your healthcare provider immediately if you experience:

  • Cold or hot sensitivity
  • Bleeding gums or teeth
  • Pain that comes alongside facial swelling
  • Pain when swallowing food, eating, or drinking

Treating Your Pain

While pain from Invisalign can be temporary and mild, some patients might find it uncomfortable. Nevertheless, there are solutions you can try using:

  • Use dental wax — You can use dental wax to alleviate gum pain from your aligners. To do this, apply wax to your aligners’ top edges, where they are rough. Lubricating your edges reduces friction.
  • Take over-the-counter medication — You can consider taking OTC drugs for pain alleviation during the initial days when your pain is severe. You can also consider aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. Nevertheless, consult your dentist to confirm whether it is safe to take painkillers, mainly if you have an existing health condition or are taking other drugs.
  • Change your eating pattern — When you experience pain in one tooth, you can avoid exerting pressure in that area by avoiding using that side.
  • You should only remove your aligners for long periods if your orthodontist recommends so. You should wear your Invisalign for more than twenty-two hours daily.

What is the Cost of Invisalign?

Typically, the treatment costs of Invisalign range between three thousand dollars and seven thousand dollars. Various factors could contribute to the overall cost you pay for your orthodontic work, including:

  • Your dental health needs
  • The amount of work your dentist must do
  • How long you will use the aligners
  • Your healthcare provider’s time for labor
  • The amount your health coverage will insure
  • Your dental office's geographical location

While orthodontics might seem like an aesthetic treatment, that is not true. Misaligned teeth are challenging to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay, jaw pain, and gum disease. Additionally, people who are unconfident with their smile might not fit in professional and social settings.

There are numerous programs and tricks to lower your treatment costs, including the following:

  • Flexible spending accounts — An FSA permits pretax money to be deducted from your salary to cater for healthcare. You can only use an FSA if your employer offers the option.
  • Using a no-interest credit card — When used correctly, credit cards can serve as a method to finance your orthodontic work. You can be eligible for a credit with a zero percent annual percentage rate introductory rate. If you clear the debt before the introductory rate expires, you will create your payment plan without paying more.
  • Payment plan — Most dental practices offer payment plans, so you do not have to clear the entire amount at once. Please call your dentist to ask how much they estimate your dental work will cost and whether they offer flexible payment plans.
  • Medicaid and children’s health insurance program — Children receiving government coverage support could be eligible for Invisalign’s cost. Work with an insurance representative and dentist to make your claim and cover your juvenile’s needs.

Rubber Elastics with Your Invisalign Treatment

Sometimes, your dentist can use elastic (Invisalign rubber bands for bite alignment). While the rubber bands are not always an essential part of orthodontic treatment, when patients use them, they exert pressure, resulting in impressive bite alignment outcomes.

The bands connect the bottom and top teeth rows and hook onto the teeth. They use buttons that offer additional grips for your aligners and hooks for the bands.

Your dentist should give you a packet of rubber bands. Ensure you change them daily and comply with your dentist’s guidelines. Wear them for at least 22 hours daily, and only remove them when brushing your teeth, eating, or drinking.

Here is how to wear your rubber band:

  1. Put on your Invisalign and attach the band to the bottom or top clear aligner. Your dentist should guide you on the proper tooth to use.
  2. Using two fingers, stretch your rubber band and connect it to the adjacent tooth on your other aligner.

At first, you can use a mirror.

What to Do If Your Bands Hook Breaks

If your band’s hook breaks or falls off, you should stop using it. You should also stop using a hook that is uncomfortable to wear.

Some of the options you can consider are the following:

  • Contacting your dentist to book your dental repair visit
  • Request new Invisalign
  • Wait until your next dental appointment (It is not a dental emergency, and your aligners are still effective)

Alternatives of Invisalign Treatment

While Invisalign could be the household term for clear aligners, there are alternatives.

Braces vs Invisalign

Braces and Invisalign correct challenges with teeth alignment and tooth spacing. Here are notable differences between the orthodontic devices:

     a) Overall Price

While the overall cost depends on factors like location, treatment duration, the complexity of the dental issues, and the dentist of choice, Invisalign is more expensive than braces.

Dental insurance plans cover a specific percentage of the orthodontic treatment, but insurance providers are more likely to insure braces than clear aligners.

Most dental practices offer flexible payment and financing plans, making both treatments pocket-friendly.

     B) Aesthetics Aspect

Braces comprise tiny brackets held by a wire fitted with bands. They can be made of ceramic, plastic, or metal and can be your teeth’s color, clear, or silver. Lingual braces are braces fitted to the teeth’s back, making them less visible.

Most people prefer Invisalign due to its aesthetic appearance. Your trays are almost unnoticeable, even from a short distance.

     C) Comfort Element

Patients using braces experience more discomfort and pain than those with Invaslign, especially during the initial weeks of the orthodontic treatment and whenever a healthcare provider tightens them. Moreover, metal scrapes can also result in discomfort.

You can take time to get accustomed to your Invisalign. You can also experience excessive salivation and talk with a lisp for a couple of days following the treatment.

     d) Speed and Effectiveness of Straightening

The Food and Drug Administration has approved both devices for malocclusion treatment.

Invisalign is ideal for treating mild and moderate dental issues, while braces are more effective in complicated cases like:

  1. Severe overbite
  2. Rotated teeth
  3. Severely crowded teeth
  4. Tooth displacement (dental extrusion or intrusion)
  5. Huge gaps between your teeth

Typically, patients wear clear aligners for up to eighteen months, but some individuals might require them for only six months. On the contrary, braces take two (2) years to deliver results. The duration you use your orthodontic device depends on various factors. Therefore, consult your dentist to learn what to anticipate.

     e) Eating and Drinking

You should remove your clear aligners whenever you drink beverages or eat food. All you have to do is floss and brush your teeth before wearing them back to avoid cavities.

Braces will prevent you from eating foods that can damage or stick to your brackets. These foods include apples, carrots, nuts, popcorn, pears, and sticky foods.

     f) Cleaning and Maintenance

Patients with aligners experience fewer cavities, gum issues, and tooth decay. Clean your Invisalign using its cleaning solution after meals to prevent calcium and bacteria buildup. If you have braces, you must brush your teeth after taking snacks and meals. Ensure you use your interdental brush to reach all crevices.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist Before Getting Invisalign

While many orthodontic treatment options exist, you could wonder whether Invisalign is right for you. Here are a few questions you can ask your dentist during your initial consultation to help you make an informed decision:

  • How does Invisalign work?
  • What does the treatment process involve?
  • How will the treatment start?
  • How long do you have to use the clear aligners?
  • How much does treatment cost?
  • What happens if you accidentally lose or break your Invisalign?
  • Will your clear aligners affect your diet?
  • What makes you an ideal candidate for Invisalign?
  • What occurs if your teeth do not shift appropriately with Invisalign during treatment?
  • Can you change to braces if your aligners are not working?
  • Is the orthodontic treatment safe?
  • How long will your treatment last?
  • What issues does Invisalign fix?
  • How do you maintain your aligners?
  • What happens after your treatment?
  • How often should you visit your dentist for check-ups?

Retainers: What Happens after Invisalign Treatment?

Your surrounding jawbone secures your teeth. Following an Invisalign orthodontic treatment, your jawbone could soften, causing the teeth to shift to new locations. After an Invisalign treatment outcome, you should put on retainers as your mouth regenerates your jawbone.

Your retainers keep your teeth securely in their new locations while the jawbone gets a restart or a resorption. The process of resorption takes between 9 to 12 months.

How to Tell When Your Invisalign Treatment is Complete

You should not assume that you should stop wearing aligners once their teeth appear straighter. Nevertheless, as part of your Invisalign treatment, have your aligners in place until your dentist advises you otherwise. Due to the possibility of minor misalignments that the device should correct, removing the aligners before their due time could lead to unevenly fixed teeth.

How Long Should You Wear Teeth Retainers?

Your dentist will instruct you to wear your retainer for 24 hours daily for six (6) months following an Invisalign treatment.

Aligners Removal After An Invisalign Treatment Procedure

After Invisalign treatment, you can have confidence about the removal process since it is easy and pain-free. However, unlike metal braces, it can be time-consuming and takes approximately 20 minutes.

Your orthodontist should also extract tiny pieces of resin from the mouth. Resin holds the clear aligners to the teeth, and your dentist should scrape it off following your Invisalign treatment.

Your teeth will look straighter following the removal of the aligners. Gaps appear smaller, and crowding between your teeth is eliminated. You will see straight teeth whenever you smile if you previously had any twisted or crooked teeth. In addition, biting down food and chewing will be easier.

Taking Care of Retainers

Caring for the retainers is crucial after your Invisalign treatment. Here are tips you can use:

  • Avoid cleaning the retainer using toothpaste. Instead, use retainer cleansing tablets or scrub the retainer using water and soap.
  • Remove the retainer before eating. Then brush your teeth after eating, rinse the retainers, and wear them again.
  • Avoid drinking hot drinks when wearing plastic retainers; heat can melt the plastic.
  • Avoid smoking; smoking can stain the retainer
  • Avoid chewing sticky candy
  • Wear durable wire retainers if you engage in sports.

Find an Orthodontist Near Me

Whether you're a child, a teenager, or an adult considering traditional braces, clear aligners, or specialized appliances in Santa Clarita, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Valencia Advanced Dentistry at Copperhill Smiles today. Our experienced orthodontists can create a customized treatment plan tailored to your unique goals and needs. Call us today at 661-775-7717.