istock 1189507372 1 For most teenagers two words strike abject terror into their hearts: acne and braces! It’s not like wearing braces is a rarity — over two thirds of U.S. teens have some sort of orthodontic treatment — but that doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, few things other than extreme acne can be as embarrassing and uncomfortable as having traditional metal braces put on their teeth.

The problem is the metal, and it’s not just the appearance. The bands and the wires rub on the lips and the wires poke the cheeks. Plus, food gets caught in the bands. Braces can be a difficult experience all around for a teenager.

But what if you could straighten the teeth without all the metal? Dr. Fong uses Invisalign for our Orange County patients to do just that.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is all the rage in teeth straightening, utilizing clear plastic aligners in place of the traditional metal brackets and wires. The Invisalign system is based on a series of clear plastic custom-made aligners. Each aligner is designed by computer to move the teeth a certain amount and is worn for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks that aligner’s job is finished. It is discarded, and the next aligner takes its place. This procedure is repeated until the teeth are in the proper position.

What are the advantages of Invisalign?

For a teen, the biggest advantage is visual. When a person is wearing their Invisalign aligner trays most people can’t even tell the person is having his or her teeth straightened because the aligners are clear plastic and virtually invisible. Even when talking to a person one on one, the aligners can’t be detected.

Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign won’t irritate the cheeks and lips. There aren’t any stray wires to unexpectedly poke the cheeks or tongue.

Cleaning your teeth is much easier with Invisalign. The wearer simply removes the aligner to eat, and brush or floss. No need for floss threaders and the like, and there’s no chance of getting food caught in the brackets. Contrast that with the food constantly getting caught in your braces, plus not being able to eat certain foods such as corn-on-the-cob. With Invisalign you don’t have to change your diet at all.

How does Invisalign work?

After digital images are taken, our state-of-the-art 3D computer imaging system creates an incredibly detailed 3D image of the patient’s teeth. This image guides the creation of each successive aligner by the Invisalign system. Each aligner is worn for two weeks and is then replaced by the next aligner in the series. The patient should wear his or her aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day (really only removing them to eat and clean the teeth). When the teeth are into their correct, final position, Invisalign retainers are worn to keep them there.

Interested in Invisalign for your teenager? Call Dr. Fong at (714) 549-1903 and let’s see if Invisalign is right for them.

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