January 3, 2023
Invisalign is one of the hottest treatment options in all of modern dentistry; these awesome aligners are capable of easily correcting crooked teeth and providing patients with a beautiful and healthy smile. However, every so often patients might need a little extra help at the end of their Invisalign journey to “refine” their treatment to perfection. But what exactly are these refinements and why are they sometimes necessary? Keep reading to learn more!
What Are Invisalign Refinements?
Invisalign works by gradually shifting teeth into a healthier position using special plastic aligners that are fully customized for each patient’s unique smile. While this process typically takes between 12 – 18 months to complete, it depends heavily on the patient’s compliance with treatment.
However, in some instances patients need a little extra help towards the end of their treatment, and this is when refinements are often utilized. These are essentially new aligners that are quite similar to the ones that were previously being worn, and they’ll need to be worn just as frequently. They will finish the job and work to “refine” your treatment so that your results turn out as beautiful as possible!
Why Are Refinements Sometimes Necessary?
In a perfect world, you’d undergo Invisalign treatment and complete the process quickly and without issue; however, things don’t always tend to go as smoothly or perfectly as we’d like! That said, it’s worth noting that needing refinements does not mean that you’ve “failed” your Invisalign treatment; some things are simply out of your control, including how your teeth move throughout the process.
There are quite a few reasons that your orthodontist might deem them necessary, but it usually has to do with stubborn or difficult teeth simply moving slower than anticipated. In some other cases, a patient might end up needing to undergo a dental treatment that alters the shape of their teeth, and as a result the aligners might not fit properly. A few other reasons for possibly needing refinements include:
- Not wearing the aligners for the correct amount of time during treatment (roughly 22 hours each day).
- Going through a long period of time without wearing the aligners (due to injury or illness).
- Having teeth that move differently, not just more slowly, than anticipated.
Tips for Ensuring Invisalign Success
It’s wise to do everything in your power to ensure that your aligners are able to correctly straighten your smile; you might even lower the likelihood of needing refinements! That said, here are some tips to consider:
- Wear your aligners for 22 hours every day, only removing them during meals.
- Take care of your smile; optimal oral hygiene will ensure that there aren’t any unforeseen complications that could deter your treatment.
- Keep your aligners in their storage case when they aren’t being worn; lost or broken aligners will only set you back!
If you’ve been informed that you’re going to need refinements to wrap up your Invisalign journey, you can rest assured that it isn’t an extra or unnecessary step, but rather, a crucial stage that’s certain to set your smile up for lasting healthy and beauty.
About the Author
Dr. Steven Kendrick received his dental degree from the Oklahoma University College of Dentistry and is a proud member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association and the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry. If you have any questions about Invisalign refinements or would like to schedule a visit with Dr. Kendrick, you can contact his practice online or over the phone for assistance: (405) 732-0431.
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