I started Invisalign to deal with moderately crooked teeth and an overbite about a year ago. My teeth weren’t really bad or twisted or anything and my plan should have had everything straightened out now or close to it. At this point, I feel like everything has been wasted time. On my upper arch, my right side is mostly lined up, but for whatever reason, the left side doesn’t really line up. It sticks out over the top of the lower teeth, if that makes sense. My dentist wants me to switch to metal braces to finish the treatment but I really don’t know what to do. If there’s some way I can finish with the clear aligners, I’d like to… maybe give it a couple months. But, of course, I’d like some insights as to why treatment isn’t working now and if there’s any hope at all that working with the aligners longer might produce different results.
Great questions! Let’s break this down.
Not wearing the aligners for the full 22 hours per day. Granted, the official rule is 20-22 hours per day, but you really want to be on the higher end of that. A lot of people think they’re hitting the mark, yet acknowledge that they forget to put the aligners back in after a meal or take them out for specific activities. Without monitoring the time, it’s really easy to think you’ve met the requirement when you haven’t.
Missing days, skipping days, and losing aligners. People often won’t admit it, but sometimes they try to cheat the system. They’ll stop wearing the aligners for a bit or won’t take them on vacation. They might lose a set or let things slide for a bit.
Personal differences. Sometimes people have unique cases or their teeth don’t respond as expected. Dentists can sometimes make corrections during treatment that can help, but it depends on why the teeth aren’t responding.
Aligners weren’t the best choice to start. Although clear aligners work well for lots of different cases, they aren’t right every time. It’s possible your bite issues weren’t really something the aligners could help with. That said, even if you fall into this category, it doesn’t mean you didn’t benefit from the aligners at all. Chances are, they did a considerable amount of good for you, but you may need to switch over for the final leg of the journey to get the results you want.
Your dentist knows your case better than anyone. There may be something he can do or he may be willing to give you a couple more months. At the very least, he should be able to give you more specific answers about your case. You can always get a second opinion if it would make you feel better too.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Steve Sirin, an Invisalign provider in Elgin, Illinois.