Invisalign Refinements May be Necessary to Fine-Tune your New Smile
If you’ve been following our latest articles, you’ll understand Invisalign and how it works. But, we haven’t yet gone into great detail about Invisalign refinements and the treatment process.
For most people who undergo Invisalign treatment, their teeth move exactly as planned. When they’ve completed their first series of aligners, their teeth will be where they envisaged, and everything is done in just one set of aligners. For those people, refinements won’t be necessary.
But, this isn’t the case for every person who has the treatment. For some, Invisalign refinements may be necessary to fine-tune the movement of your teeth. Teeth are unpredictable at the best of times. They don’t always move the way we want them to. Sometimes, some teeth will move slower than expected. This is one of the things that your orthodontist will review with you during your visits every 6 or so weeks – or via your monitoring app. If your teeth aren’t moving the way we want them to, there are solutions. And this is where refinements come into play.
What Are Invisalign Refinements?
If your teeth don’t move as expected during your first round of aligners, you may need a refinement. For this process, your orthodontist will take a new scan of your teeth and create a brand-new 3D treatment plan. We then create another series of aligners. The aim is to tidy up those final movements. Essentially, it’s a repeat of the process, designed to “refine” your treatment and your smile.
Invisalign refinement is the same as Invisalign. At or near the end of your treatment, your orthodontist will review the position of your teeth and compare it to your initial treatment goals. If we meet those goals, refinement won’t be necessary for fine-tuning. If you do need refinements, the records are the same as those taken at the beginning of your treatment. We take a new set of scan, along with new photos of your teeth. These are then sent off to Invisalign so that a new clin-check video can be set up. The video helps to determine how many aligners you will need for your refinement.
Refinement treatment times tend to vary but are an average of three months. You will have to wear the Invisalign refinements in the same way as you did during your initial treatment.
Discuss Refinements Early and Regularly with Your Orthodontist
It’s important to discuss Invisalign refinements early on in your treatment process. It’s also important to keep in mind that “a” refinement may not necessarily mean “one” stage of aligners. So, make sure your dentist does discuss the possibility of a series of refinements, and the costs thereof.
It’s worth noting that you will receive your aligners in batches. So, you’ll need multiple batches of aligners during the treatment process.
Invisalign Treatment Times vs. Braces Treatment Times
The length of your Invisalign treatment depends on the oral issues you wish to address and how fast your teeth do or don’t move with the aligners. On average, adults undergo 12 months of treatment but treatment time for teens may vary.
Compared to metal braces and wires, you won’t have to pay as many visits to the orthodontist’s office. You’ll actually spend a lot less time in the chair when you do need to pop in for a consultation.
More About the Invisalign Aligners
The number of trays you will need for your treatment process will depend on your oral issues. Each case is unique, which means the number can vary greatly from one patient to the next.
While one person may have a minor malocclusion that only necessitates 11 trays, for example, another patient may have a more severe case and need 30 trays. With Invisalign treatment, there’s no set number of trays. Yet, there is always the likelihood of needing Invisalign refinements during your treatment. Your compliance in wearing the trays as directed by your orthodontist and how well your teeth respond to the movement are all factors that are considered.
Common Reasons for Invisalign Refinements
There are a couple of reasons you may need refinements as part of your Invisalign treatment, including:
- Wearing your aligners intermittently or not wearing them as advised by your orthodontist
- Any situation that could cause you to prevent or stop you wearing your aligners as instructed for the required period of time, such as an accident, illness, losing the trays or even new dental work that may alter the shape of your teeth
- Complex movements – sometimes several ‘stages’ are planned from the outset – re-scan and refinement is planned from the beginning.
- Lengthy treatments involving many aligners – a slightly off-track or imperfect movement is more likely to occur in an aligner that is a long way from the original scan. Re-scan and refinement will ensure movements return on course.
As we’ve mentioned, refinement is an option mostly used at the end of treatment for minor correctional movements or for tweaking your process.
What Happens After the Final Invisalign Trays?
When you have completed treatment with the final trays, it is time for retainers. Retainers usually look almost exactly the same as Invisalign trays. You will likely wear the retainers full time for about 6 weeks. After that, you will only need to wear them when sleeping and (after consultation with your orthodontist) just for one or two nights each week. Never wear your retainers less than instructed without being advised to do so from your orthodontist.
You may be wondering why retainers are necessary once the Invisalign refinement process has fine-tuned your smile. The fact is, nothing about our bodies remains constant and everything changes as we age, including the teeth. Chewing and biting place a great deal of pressure on the teeth and, over time, the forces move the teeth around ever so slightly. Wearing your retainer will help to avoid any movement in teeth post treatment.
Are You an Invisalign Candidate?
Book your free Invisalign assessment with Fine Orthodontics and begin the process towards a more confident and stunning smile.
Whether you are considering Invisalign treatment or you would like to find out more about Invisalign refinements and tweaking the process, the experts at Fine Orthodontics can help.