If you have recently started speaking with your local orthodontist about tooth straightening and the use of Invisalign aligners to move the teeth, then you may be ready to start your dental beautification process as soon as possible. It will take about 12 months on average to straighten the teeth with the clear aligners. However, more complicated cases can take longer. If the straightening period is closer to two years than one, then you may want to work with your dental professional so that some complementary treatments can be provided to move the process along a bit more quickly.
If you have a small mouth, then your teeth may be quite crowded in the narrow space. Dental extractions may be required at the beginning of the Invisalign process to help create more space, and bicuspids are often removed. However, the Invisalign process can take longer to move teeth into large gaps where teeth have been removed. If you want to avoid the longer straightening period, then speak with your dental professional about interproximal reduction instead.
Interproximal reduction is the process of narrowing the teeth by removing a small amount of dental enamel from the right and left sides of the teeth. This helps to create enough space in the mouth so that crowded teeth can be moved around. Several teeth will be narrowed during the process to make sure that enamel is not damaged irreparably along one or two teeth. Only a fraction of a millimeter of the tooth surface will be ground away. Since the teeth have a 2.5 millimeter thickness around the cusp, a great deal of enamel will be left behind to protect the teeth.
Your dental professional will first x-ray your mouth and determine how much space is needed for the teeth to sit straight along your gumline. Teeth are then identified that contain the thickest amount of enamel. Typically, teeth that are rounder and more bell-shaped will be identified and chosen for the enamel grinding process. Once the teeth are identified, your dentist will use a drill or a diamond encrusted disc or strip to remove the enamel from the sides of the teeth.
After the enamel removal process is completed, Invisalign treatments will be arranged to make the most of the extra space in the mouth. Since interproximal reduction opens up spaces around crowded teeth, some of your teeth may no longer overlap, and only fine movements will be required to straighten some of the teeth.
Tooth straightening is a relatively slow process that relies on jaw bone remodeling to keep the teeth secured in the jaw. Good bone remodeling ensures the present and future health of the teeth. Remodeling is the process your jaw will go through as bone cells are broken down and new ones are formed. The bone material is broken down as a tooth places pressure on the jaw. For example, if a tooth needs to be shifted to the right, then the Invisalign aligners push the tooth against the jaw on its right side. The pressure forces the cells of the jaw to break down and become absorbed by the body. The tooth can then move to the right. A gap or opening will form on the left side of the tooth, and this opening is filled in with new bone cells. The tooth will be secured in its new spot, and the tooth can then be shifted again. These small movements help to keep the teeth from loosening to the point where they can dislodge from the jaw.
Bone remodeling starts with jaw pressure, and the bone only breaks down after pressure is forced against it. It can take some time for the body to react to the stress. If you want to quicken the straightening period, then your dental professional can stimulate the bone breakdown and remodeling process as soon as a new set of aligners are placed in the mouth. The dentist will do this by placing an extremely small hole, or a series of perforations, in the jaw where dental movements will occur. A special tool will be used to create the holes. Anesthetics are not needed and procedures are quick. This means that you can go through the bone perforation whenever you pick up a new set of aligners from your dental professional.
For more information on this and other orthodontic procedures, talk to a dentist at a location like Arrowhead Family Dentistry S. M. Bhatt DDS Inc.