Category Archives: Invisalign

Can Invisalign Widen My Smile?

When I was younger, I needed orthodontic work. The dentist said I’d need a palette expander, but my parents thought that was too expensive so it never happened. Now, as an adult, I am stuck with all these problems with my teeth to deal with. I have a narrow bite and some crowding. I have heard some people say that Invisalign can actually help with this. Is that true or am I giving myself false hope?


Dear Carolyn,

Invisalign aligners
Invisalign Aligner

Generally speaking, clear braces, such as Invisalign, can widen a smile, but you must remember that each case is unique and there are limitations. Much of this will depend on what shifting is necessary and how much space is available. Invisalign is planned by an advanced software program, so your dentist could run a simulation to show you what results you can expect before you make any decisions.

As I mentioned, there are limits. Your narrow palette could prove to be the biggest obstacle. Palettes are easily expandable when you are young because everything is still developing. Now that you are an adult and things are pretty much set, there is only so much movement possible. When dealing with overcrowding, especially in adults, dentists usually end up removing some teeth to make room for the proper placement.

I can’t give you specifics for your case and what is possible. My best advice to you would be to see two or three Invisalign certified dentists to get their recommendations for you specifically. Look at the computer simulations and decided which dentist you are most comfortable with.

I know it is frustrating when it would have been easier if your parents had handled this, but don’t be too hard on them. Money is finite and when there isn’t enough of it, you can’t just pull it out of thin air. They were probably doing the best they could.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Will Invisalign Correct Misalignment?

I have some misaligned teeth but feel too old for traditional braces. I asked my dentist about Invisalign and he said it does not correct misaligned teeth. I sort of have my doubts and felt like he just wanted to refer me to an orthodontist friend of his. So, I thought I would double-check with you guys whether it would be possible for me to use Invisalign.


Dear Karen,

Invisalign aligners
Invisalign Aligner

It sounds to me like either your theory is correct or possibly your dentist is just not open to new treatment options. As such, he may be completely unaware of what Invisalign is capable of.

My suggestion is that you get a second opinion from a dentist who has experience with Invisalign and let them look at your case. When Invisalign first came out, many years ago, it was only able to do the more ideal cases. These days, however, they can fix all but the most complicated cases.

If your dentist isn’t willing to keep up with the latest technologies in his field, he may not be the best dentist for you. You want the top treatment possible. Let’s say you lose a tooth and need to replace it. Will your dentist only offer removable partial dentures or does he know about dental implants, which give you a permanent, secure tooth?

I’m not telling you to switch dentists. However, I would advise you to take a good look at what your dentist offers and see if he is keeping up in his field.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Advice on Fixing One Crooked Tooth

I have one crooked tooth in the front that is well behind the other front tooth. So far behind you can barely see it. Dentists keep suggesting different things and I don’t know who to trust. One dentist said to get braces. Another suggested I just pull that tooth. Then there are all the pieces of advice in between. Would Invisalign even be a possibility for me?


Dear Marie,

Invisalign aligners
Invisalign Aligner

It used to be that Invisalign would only work on the more ideal cases. These days are different. Invisalign can work on all but the most complicated cases. Because of that, there is a great possibility that Invisalign will be a good solution for you.

They also have the added benefit of the aligners being able to double as teeth whitening trays, which means you can straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time, if that is something you are interested in.

Don’t let the dentist pull your tooth. First, if you left it as is, you would never look normal with a smile that is asymmetrical. If you wanted to replace the tooth with something like a dental implant, you would still need to open up the space with some type of orthodontics. In that case, why not keep your natural tooth structure?

If you decide not to go with Invisalign, another possibility is to use porcelain veneers. These will not actually straighten your teeth, but it will make them look straight,

Veneers are typically used by someone who wants a full smile makeover. That is because they can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth. If you decide to go that way, you will need an expert cosmetic dentist, like an AACD accredited dentist because your case is more complicated.

My suggestion, if the only thing that bothers you about your smile is that one crooked tooth, is to see a dentist who offers Invisalign. Let them examine you and they’ll be honest about whether or not you are a good candidate.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Could A Dental Flipper Make My Teeth Look Straight

I feel at 42 years old I am too old for braces, but my teeth are crooked and I’m tired of it. I wondered if a dental flipper could make my teeth look straight?


Dear Kelsey,

Invisalign aligner

I think you may be confusing a dental flipper with Snap on Smile. A dental flipper is a temporary means of replacing a missing tooth. It fills in the open gap with a fake tooth.

Snap-on Smile, on the other hand, is a fake smile that will snap over your existing one. However, they are made of acrylic, so will not look as natural looking as porcelain. Plus, because they snap over your teeth they can make your smile look a bit bulky. It’s mostly used for something like a job interview or photoshoot when you need straight teeth fast, but only temporary.

You do have an option for straightening your teeth that does not include braces. These days you can get your teeth straightened using clear aligners. The top brand that provides that is Invisalign. These truly are invisible even at a conversational distance, allowing you to straighten your teeth without anyone even knowing.

If you are looking for an instant straight smile. You can look into porcelain veneers. These are used for complete smile makeovers and can give you a brand new smile in just two appointments. They won’t straighten your teeth per se but can make them look straight.

The only “catch” is that while any dentist who chooses to can provide you with Invisalign, you will need a dentist with expertise in cosmetic dentistry to provide a beautiful smile for you with porcelain veneers. This does take post-doctoral training.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Closing a Tooth Gap

I asked my dentist about how I can close my tooth gap on my front teeth. It has always bothered me. He said we could do it with porcelain veneers. The price was a bit higher than I was expecting. Is that the typical way to solve this problem or do I have other options?


Dear Melanie,

Invisalign aligners

You have a few options here. If the only thing you were wanting to change about your teeth is the gap, then I would consider porcelain veneers a major overtreatment. Veneers are designed for people who want a complete smile makeover. They can change anything and everything about your teeth, including the shape, size, and color. It is the procedure people use to get that Hollywood Smile.

That did not sound to me like what you needed. In that case, you have two much more affordable options. Your first is to simply use dental bonding. This uses a composite resin that the dentist will place and sculpt between the two teeth to fill in and close the gap. It does take an expert cosmetic dentist to do this well because it has to be done freehand, so I would not just let any dentist do that.

Another option is Invisalign (pictured above). This is the modern way of straightening teeth. Instead of metal wires and brackets that traditional braces use, this uses clear aligners, allowing you to straighten your teeth without anyone even knowing. It also has a hidden benefit where the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This means you can straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay with the procedure your dentist suggested.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Invisalign Versus Smile Care Club

I’ve been wanting to straighten my teeth for some time. I’ve been looking at Invisalign and was pretty excited about it. I almost have enough money. Today, I received an advertisement for Smile Care Club. This is less money and I could get it right away. Are there big differences between the two? Is it worth it to wait for the Invisalign?


Dear Callista,

Smile Care Club is a do-it-yourself copy of Invisalign that was founded in 2013. They operate under the same concept as Invisalign, though they switch aligners every three weeks, where Invisalign switches every two.

For some people, this works fine, but when it doesn’t there can be rather serious consequences. Even starting out there is a danger. Before you get Invisalign, your dentist will give you a complete examination to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy enough to make it safely through the treatment. The biggest concern is gum disease. If your teeth are being shifted with orthodontics while you have gum disease, you risk them coming loose.

The only examination you get with Smile Care Club is done through photographs you send in. That is not adequate enough for the dentist to get a true sense of your oral health. Plus, there will be no x-rays which will be important as well.

There are other things to consider. The human body is unpredictable and that includes our teeth. Sometimes teeth need some aditional room to get into their proper position. If there is a lot of crowding then the dentist may remove a couple of back teeth. If there is minor crowding, then there would only need to be some mild shaving of the sides of your teeth. While they will send you to one of their dentists if that is necessary, I would not want someone doing that who is not really invested in my case. They could mess up the look of your smile quite a bit.

Bottom line: While for many this will work out fine and they can save some money, when things do not go well, there can be pretty serious consequences.

One thing I might recommend is you talk to your dentist about your desire. He may let you pay out your Invisalign and allow you to get started right away.

There is a hidden benefit too. Your dentist can provide you with some teeth whitening gel. Your aligners can double as whitening trays. This will allow you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time, giving you a mini smile makeover at a fraction of the cost.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Invisalign or Porcelain Veneers

I had been saving up to give myself a smile makeover. I’d planned on porcelain veneers. There is not anything major wrong with my smile, but I heard porcelain veneers were the procedure to do for a smile makeover. When I met with my dentist he suggested I do Invisalign first and then get the porcelain veneers. I was under the impression you do one or the other. I don’t have a major orthodontic case, just one crooked tooth. My dentist suggested Lumineers, which I was fine with, but that confused me more because their advertisement said they can make crooked teeth look straight. What am I not understanding?


Dear Olivia,

Invisalign aligners
Invisalign Aligners

I can understand your confusion. In general, unless as you said there is a major orthodontic case, the porcelain veneers can make your teeth look straight if the dentist is skilled enough to do it right. I am concerned that your dentist is not and that is why he is suggesting Invisalign first. The fact that he wants to place Lumineers reinforces my fears. That particular brand of porcelain veneers is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists.

If you decide to go with porcelain veneers, you need to find a different dentist to do it. I would look for a practice that has an AACD Accredited Dentist on staff. That being said, I don’t think you actually need porcelain veneers.

Based on your description, it sounds like you are just wanting to whiten and brighten your teeth and change the appearance of that one crooked tooth. You could do that at a fraction of the cost of any brand of porcelain veneers using Invisalign.

Plus, the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. Now, if there are other things about your smile you want to change, such as their shape or chips, then, yes, spend the extra money on porcelain veneers (though I do not recommend the Lumineers brand). Just make sure you get them done right with an expert cosmetic dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Required Visits with Invisalign

I have been saving up to get Invisalign for a couple of years now. I’m finally ready, but six months ago my family moved out to the middle of nowhere. It takes me three hours to get to town. I don’t think I can get there every two weeks. I have three kids and I’ll either need to take them with me or find someone to come up the mountain every time to watch them. Is there any way to do it in fewer appointments?


Dear Kate,

Invisalign aligners

A lot of it will depend on the dentist, but I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t go once a month instead of twice. Generally, with Invisalign, your dentist will provide you with new aligners every two weeks after an exam to make sure everything with your case is on target.

As long as you don’t have any unusual circumstances which require more careful observation, it would not be an issue to provide you with two sets of your aligners at each visit.

One other thing you should be aware of. Invisalign has a hidden benefit of being able to double as teeth whitening trays. This will allow you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. It is the equivalent of a mini smile makeover for a fraction of the cost. If teeth whitening is something you’ve considered, this will allow you to double up your treatment saving you additional time of going back and forth to a dentist at a later date.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Invisalign and Missing Teeth

If I have a missing tooth and want to replace it, but have a crooked tooth too, how do I fix that? I was thinking of replacing the lost tooth with a dental implant and straightening my teeth with Invisalign. If so, would I do Invisalign before or after? If I have to do it after does Invisalign work with missing teeth or do I replace my teeth with something else?


Dear Theodora,

Invisalign aligner

You have picked two wonderful procedures. Nice work! Dental implants will be a great tooth replacement and Invisalign has one of the highest patient satisfaction rates of any dental procedure.

Between the two, you will want to straighten the teeth before replacing the tooth.

Invisalign does a great job of working around missing teeth. It uses a sophisticated software program to design the ideal treatment plan for you.

Aside from being comfortable, allowing you to straighten your teeth invisibly, and working in a fraction of the time of traditional braces, the aligners can also double as teeth whitening trays. This means you can straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time, giving you a mini smile makeover at a fraction of the cost.

Then, once all your teeth are in place it will be time to get your dental implant. You will want to go to a dentist who has post-doctoral training in placing dental implants. It is not something taught in dental school.

When you are done, you will have a beautiful straight smile.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Invisalign As a Retainer

I am about to get my last two Invisalign retainers and then have to move. My dentist is just giving me the last pair because my treatment has gone well and he doesn’t want me to have to drive three hours for the final exam. Do I need to find an Invisalign dentist or can I just be done after my last pair?


Dear Mason,

Invisalign aligner

Because your treatment has been going to plan, you won’t need to find an Invisalign dentist if you are at the end of your treatment and have the aligners you need. There is a caveat we will get to in a moment. However, for the benefit of those whose treatment has not gone as well, I am going to add what to do in that situation.

Some cases are more complicated because teeth don’t always behave exactly as they are supposed to. When that happens and you need to move, your dentist is legally obligated to provide your new dentist with all the diagnostics, treatment plan, and notes. Especially if you are at the end of your treatment, there should only be a minimal fee.

Now, onto your caveat. After every orthodontic treatment, there is the need for a retainer or our teeth have the habit of going back to misalignment. The good news is you have a couple of great choices for that.

First, you could find a dentist to provide you with a retainer. They’re fairly cheap and won’t take too long. Almost any dentist can do that.

However, an easier option is to just wear your final aligner as a retainer. There is a procedure to follow for that. If you follow these instructions you shouldn’t have any trouble.

First, I’d wear them all the time, except for eating and oral hygiene, for a month. After that, wear them only at night for one to two months, From there, you can go to wearing them every other night. You’ll want to make sure your teeth aren’t shifting when you do that. The way to tell if that is happening is the feeling when you put your aligners back on. If they feel tighter than normal, the teeth have shifted and you should go back to them every night for a few weeks. then try again. Back off a little at a time doing periodic checks for shifting. Once you’re good with every other night, you can try twice a week, then once a week, then not wearing them at all. Again, make sure you are checking periodically for movement.

If you keep your final pair of aligners in good condition, you can also use them as teeth whitening trays. Simply ask your dentist for the gel and you can whiten your teeth at a fraction of the cost.

Best of luck in your move.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.