What is Invisalign system?

The Invisalign system is a virtually invisible and hygienic orthodontic treatment that uses an innovative approach to effectively straighten teeth. With our proprietary SmartForce Technology, the Invisalign system uses a series of custom-made removable aligners created for you and only you. These aligners are made of a virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth to gradually move them to the ideal position. Most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them, allowing you to keep your lifestyle during treatment. The Invisalign system is available through Invisalign-trained doctors who determine the treatment plan.

How does the Invisalign treatment work?

Once you and your Invisalign-trained doctor agree that Invisalign treatment is right for you, your doctor will take photos, X-rays, and either impressions or a scan of your teeth. These records will be used to make a 3D treatment plan, referred to as the ClinCheck treatment plan, which will be used to design the custom-made Invisalign aligners. This 3D treatment plan will also show your likely final tooth position at the end of the treatment. Your custom-made Invisalign aligners will be produced and then shipped to your doctor, who will then give you a series of aligners, typically 3 to 4 sets at a time. You will replace each one approximately every 2 weeks until the final position of your teeth is reached. Get the full details of the treatment plan.

What do Invisalign aligners look like?

Invisalign aligners look similar to clear retainers, teeth-whitening trays, or gum shields. A series of Invisalign aligners are custom-made for you and each aligner will contain the patient identification number (PID number) and the Invisalign logo.

How many patients have undergone Invisalign treatment?

More than 5.5 million patients worldwide have now started Invisalign treatment and the number of Invisalign smiles continue to grow.

How often should I see my dentist?

We recommend that you see your dentist twice a year for a regular check up and cleaning if your gums and teeth are healthy.

Why are regular dental appointments so important?

Regular dental visits are extremely important to maintain the health of your gums and teeth. Having your teeth, mouth and gums regularly checked also allows us the opportunity to detect and sooner treat any problems, if necessary, or prevent them from developing altogether. Dental issues tend not to go away on their own accord, so early detection, treatment and prevention will save you more serious visits with us down the line. Issues like gum disease and oral cancer, for instance, have serious consequences to your health if left unattended after developing in your mouth. With regular maintenance, you can also build a relationship with your dental practitioner who can help guide you maintain and/or design your optimum smile to last.

Why should I floss if I already brush my teeth?

Like brushing, flossing decreases the bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria comes in many different sizes found in food particles on your teeth which require different methods to clear. While brushing is pivotal for cleaning your teeth, it only clears some of the particles – mainly those found on the surface area of your teeth. Flossing then comes in handy to clean the smaller and harder to reach particles. These are often found hiding between the spaces of your teeth or below on your gumline. If flossing is not a part of your daily routine then you will be permitting plaque to remain between your teeth. Plaque that isn’t clear then becomes tartar which can only be removed by a dentist.

If you are unsure of the best way to floss, ask your hygienist or dentist on your next appointment.

What are the best ways to encourage my children to brush their teeth?

The best way to encourage children to adopt any activity is by making it fun and educational. Children are sponges, so if they see you enjoying the routine of brushing your teeth they will follow suit. If you make teeth brushing a fun part of each day, they will look forward to sharing this time with you.

To help you communicate this to your children, we’ve created a dental youtube channel just for kids! You will find plenty of videos in this playlist to spark their interest! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy3iTxv6bNeI9CK8dYYq1NA

Getting your children to practice good dental hygiene early begins with their first visit to the dentist. Your child should see a dentist by the eruption of their first tooth or by their first birthday. Taking your children to the dentist at an early age also helps familiarise them with dental hygiene young so that dental anxiety can be mitigated.

How can I prevent cavities?

Practicing good dental hygiene daily on top of seeing a hygienist regularly is the best way to prevent cavities.

In terms of preventing cavities at home:

Make sure you spend 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth a minimum of twice a day (morning and night). We also recommend midday brushing after lunch as well for optimum care. It takes 2-3 minutes to get rid of bacteria that deteriorates the enamel of your teeth. Don’t brush too hard as that will erode your gums. It does not take much pressure to clear the bacteria and plaque from the surface of your teeth. Also floss once a day after brushing as it is the only way to get the bacteria from between your teeth.

Watch what you eat. Sugary and acidic foods are the most erosive to the enamel of your teeth. They’re also the foods that the bacteria in your mouth likes the best and, thus, feeds on. Snacks such as candy, food, cookies, chocolate and crackers are high in sugar. Also be careful of sticky foods that stick to your teeth such as dried fruit, pressed fruit, licorice, jellies and nut spreads. If you have a sweet tooth, try to keep the times that you have these in your daily diet to a minimum and brush after eating. Chewing sugarless gum after meals can also help.

Just remember that you can’t clear everything from your teeth on your own. So regular checkups with your dentist or hygienist is pivotal for maintaining your teeth and preventing cavities.

How long will the results of teeth whitening last?

This depends on which teeth whitening method you use, but more importantly on how you look after your teeth after the procedure. If you want you maintain your whitened teeth so that they last, you will need to be mindful of how you care for them and what you introduce to them. Things such as red wine, dark spirits, cigarettes, coffee, tea, acid rich foods will cause your teeth to yellow – regardless of if they’ve been professionally whitened. Avoiding or limiting the consumption of these things will help you maintain your new found brightness.

In general, a teeth whitening procedure can last up to a few years. And just remember, even if the results fade, you can always touch up your results to bring them back to your preferred level of brightness.

What causes my teeth to darken?

There are many factors that can change your naturally white smile. Certain things that you consume will stain your teeth darker. These include: tobacco, dark foods, dark meats, dark drinks and acidic substances. Hot drinks are particularly problematic to your smile as they fluctuate the temperature of your teeth which produces physical reactions that will darken the teeth. The hot and cold cycling of temperature changes to your teeth when consuming hot drinks cause the teeth to expand and contract which allows stains to sink in deep to the tooth. Cutting down on hot drinks such as tea and coffee will really help preserve the whiteness of your smile. Acidic foods and drinks additionally open up the pores in your tooth enamel which also allows stains to penetrate into the tooth.

Watching your diet as well as maintaining healthy cleaning habits for your teeth is the best way to preserve their natural whiteness. You can discuss further causes and prevention tips with us at The Melbourne Smile Centre.

How do I know if my teeth are healthy?

Some problems won’t be noticeable to you at home, which is why it’s important to get regular check-ups (this is doubly true if you have a history of decay). For instance, gum disease often develops without people noticing and they may only act on it when they experience bleeding gums or severe discomfort.

There are some warning signs that you can spot yourself.

Look out for:

  • gums that are swollen, tender, bleed when you brush or floss, or appear red (gums should be a pale pink colour)
  • oral pain, especially while chewing
  • persistent bad breath
  • loose teeth
  • consistent bad taste in mouth
  • teeth that are unusually sensitive to temperature.

If you notice any of these signs, contact us to schedule an appointment.

How can I improve my oral hygiene?

Be sure to brush at least twice per day, using a gentle, circular motion. If you’ve just eaten, wait 30 minutes to brush, since highly acidic or starchy food can soften your enamel. Don’t forget to brush your tongue – bacteria love to accumulate here.

Remove plaque by flossing at least once a day. Gently move the floss up and down the sides of each tooth, as well as around the gum line.

After brushing and flossing, rinse with water. You can also use antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash (avoid giving fluoride rinses to children younger than six). Since different people can benefit from different rinses, speak with your dentist about which product is best for you.

Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when you see the brush head is worn and bristly.

Avoid snacking on sugary or acidic foods.

Swap sugary beverages like juice or fizzy drinks for tap water.

Chew sugar-free gums, which can stimulate saliva production. Saliva is one of your mouth’s best natural defences against bacteria and plaque!

Why is my tooth sore?

Oral pain can happen for a lot of different reasons. Take note of some details of pain you’re feeling, like whether it’s dull, sharp, or throbbing. Also take notice of when the pain occurs, such as when you bite down. Your dentist will have a number of ways to identify any problems, but extra information can help solve the issue more quickly.

Common causes for toothaches include:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • inflammation of tooth pulp (the tissue in the centre of your tooth)
  • impacted teeth (often caused by wisdom teeth)
  • dental abscess (a serious infection)

If you’re experiencing pain in your teeth or mouth, contact your local Bupa Dental practice to schedule an appointment.

What should I do about bleeding gums?

Your gums bleeding often indicates either periodontal disease or gingivitis. People often mistake bleeding gums as a sign to stop brushing or flossing, but this is not the case. Brushing becomes more imperative at this time and will instead help reduce the inflammation by clearing build ups of plaque and other bacteria that may have caused disease in your mouth. It is very important to book an appointment to see your dentist for a periodontal screening and recording in order to determine the level of disease in your mouth and the best treatment options to pursue. This should be booked as soon as bleeding becomes apparent in your mouth.