Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Three Common Questions about Invisalign

Three Common Questions about Invisalign

If there is an investment that can provide lifelong rewards, it is taking care of your oral health. One way to do this is to correct misalignment. When teeth are crowded or overlapping, they are difficult to clean well. Invisalign helps our patients not only get their confidence back, but it also helps them secure better oral health for many years, if not indefinitely. We are pleased to be a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia. Here, we discuss a few of the questions patients frequently ask.

Can I Get Invisalign on the Top Teeth Only?

Teeth-straightening is often observed as a way to make the smile look better. This is one of the benefits of treatment like Invisalign, but there’s more. It is understandable that some people would be interested in straightening only one arch. If the other is “straight enough,” why treat it? There is a good reason. The upper and lower arches need to fit together for the bite to be aligned. The bite must be aligned to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on teeth and the temporomandibular joints. If we only correct the position of one arch, we may worsen the way that the two fit together. For this reason, most dentists recommend that Invisalign aligners be made for both the upper and lower arches.

Will Invisalign Work If I’ve Already Had Braces?

Many people who underwent orthodontic treatment made a critical error sometime after the completion of their teeth-straightening process: they did not wear their retainers as advised by their orthodontist. If you have had braces before and your teeth shifted somewhat afterward, you may be an excellent candidate for Invisalign. Custom made aligners can reposition teeth and also correct various bite problems.

Is It Difficult to Maintain Aligners?

We know how to take care of our teeth by brushing and flossing. Adding aligners into the mix, even though it’s easier than brushing around metal brackets and wires, can feel like a challenge. Maintaining clean aligners is necessary even though each set is only worn for two weeks. If aligners are not cleaned regularly, they may begin to look cloudy or they may develop a foul odor. That’s no fun! In most situations, all aligners need is a good rinse under cool water. If they need a little more cleaning, a very small amount of nonabrasive toothpaste may be used on a finger to clean the plastic trays.

Now is a great time to take the leap into Invisalign. To schedule your consultation in our Burke, VA office, call (703)-935-2879.

Can Invisalign Do Things that Regular Braces Can’t?

Regardless of how appealing it sounds to have straighter teeth, many people worry about how they will get from point A to point B. Will they have to wear braces like their parents or siblings did? If so, their approach to braces is No, Thank you. There are several concerns raised by patients who want to straighten their teeth, including comfort, appearance, and oral health. These concerns are addressed in the Invisalign system, which is one of the reasons why this treatment quickly became the leading request among patients who want straighter teeth. Here, we point out the leading advantages to Invisalign over traditional braces.

Invisalign Doesn’t Have Brackets or Wires

Braces are individual brackets that are glued on each tooth. Brackets are connected through an arch wire on the top row of teeth and one on the bottom row. Every so often, the orthodontist tightens the wires to pull teeth into their new position. Invisalign doesn’t have brackets or wires; it is a set of clear plastic aligners that look like something an athlete would wear, or like the trays that are used to whiten teeth. The material from which aligners are made is virtually undetectable due to clarity, eliminating the concern that the smile will be cosmetically diminished by braces.

A More Comfortable Experience

One of the primary reasons braces can be uncomfortable is that brackets project from the teeth. Brackets are square, which gives them edges that can be relatively sharp. Unless wax is applied over each bracket, there is a good chance that tissue inside the mouth could get caught on an edge now and then. This not only hurts in the moment but can lead to persistent swelling and irritation as the injury is repeated. Aligners form around teeth so there is nothing to poke at the cheeks or catch on the lips.

Does this mean that Invisalign is completely comfortable? No. Patients should remain aware that Invisalign treatment is moving their teeth. This will incur a bit of discomfort as roots move in the periodontal ligament. Most patients can manage comfort with an over-the-counter medication as needed.

Oral Health

Another advantage of Invisalign is that it is easier to care for teeth throughout treatment. With brackets and wires, there is plenty of opportunity for food to get trapped in hard-to-reach places. This increases the number of bacteria on teeth and the gums, which means a greater likelihood of cavities and gingivitis or gum disease. Invisalign patients need only remove their aligners every morning and night to brush and floss as they normally would.

We are proud to be a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia. To schedule your consultation for a straighter smile, call (703)-935-2879.

Tips to Survive Your First Week of Invisalign

We love it when we get to introduce patients to their first set of Invisalign aligners. This means that they are on their way to the healthy, attractive smile they have been wanting for a long time. By the time patients receive their first set of aligners, they are pretty well-versed in the details of Invisalign. They realize they will need to wear their aligners nearly all the time and that they will have to take them out when they eat and drink. Knowing what to expect, though, is not anything like actually living with aligners. To prevent surprise, we offer some tips here.

1.      Protect Your Tongue

Aligner trays are made of clear plastic that molds over the teeth. The edges of the aligners sit at the gum line, where the tongue can run along them. Because aligners are different than the norm, the tongue will do this subconsciously. This can lead to irritation or sores. To prevent this, patients can apply a small pinch of dental wax to bothersome areas. Dental wax is very hard at first. It needs to be softened by rolling it between clean fingers. After a few days, when the tongue gets used to the feeling of aligners in the mouth, this will no longer be necessary.

2.      Be Ready to Manage Discomfort

We talk a lot about how Invisalign is much more comfortable and convenient than braces, not realizing that it can create the perception that this treatment is completely comfortable. It may not be. The teeth still have to move, which means there will be pressure. Patients should expect this and prepare for it by planning to eat softer foods for a few days while they get used to new aligners. Over-the-counter medication can also help. It may also help to do gentle chewing exercises, as this can massage the gums and increase circulation to the mouth, which can relieve pain.

3.      Keep Track of Your Trays

One of the most common mishaps with Invisalign aligners is that they get thrown out accidentally. This can be a stressful mistake to make, but it can be avoided. Various retailers, including Amazon, sell Invisalign cases that can be kept in purses, backpacks, and the glove box of the car. Always having extra cases can help you create the habit of storing aligners immediately when you eat or have a snack.

Successful Invisalign treatment is all about consistency and routine. Once you establish one that works for you, your treatment should be relatively stress-free. We know you must be excited about starting your Invisalign journey. We are excited for you and are here to answer any questions you have.

Contact us at (703)-935-2879.

When is it Time to Straighten Teeth?

Invisalign Burke, VA

There are so many ways to straighten teeth today and just as many reasons to attend to tooth alignment. The question isn’t whether or not to straighten teeth, but whether or not this process may be better at any specific stage. Generally, dentists begin to observe alignment and bite when children are 7 to 10 years old. Early orthodontic intervention may be ideal in certain situations, but today’s dental technologies make it possible to straighten teeth at any age. While teeth can be straightened any time a person so desires, there are some situations when timing is just right.

Aesthetic Teeth Straightening

Whenever crooked, crowded teeth degrade the confidence a person feels about their appearance, it is a good time to find the right straightening method. If you don’t feel your best in social or professional situations, if you cover your mouth when you laugh, then it’s time to view teeth-straightening as a worthwhile investment.

An upcoming event is often the catalyst that leads people to straighten their teeth. This could be a wedding, a new job, or starting a business. Any transition in life can make us feel both excited and vulnerable.  Harnessing the power of a great smile can help.

Functional Teeth Straightening

There are both cosmetic and functional benefits achieved with teeth-straightening treatment.  It may be time to undergo treatment when you want to:

  • Have a smile makeover of any kind. Dentists often look at the alignment of teeth and how this will affect restorations like crowns or veneers.
  • Resolve chronic headaches. Studies suggest that, when teeth do not fit well together, the joints and muscles of the jaw have to work harder. The stress on these structures then expands to stress on the muscles of the face, neck, and head. Straightening teeth to fit well reduces this stress.
  • Improve oral health. Teeth that are crooked, overlapping, or spaced far apart are all difficult to clean well. Oral health can suffer when small nooks and crannies harbor plaque and bacteria. With straighter teeth, brushing and flossing become much more effective and oral health can improve significantly.

Is Now Your Time?

Now is typically the best time to take care of ourselves. If your smile and oral health could use some care, come talk to us about the benefits of Invisalign. Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule an appointment in our Burke, VA office.

Are all Invisible Aligners the Same?

Not very long ago, the only path to a straight smile was through orthodontia. Even with changes to profile and materials, braces were pretty bulky. The brackets and wires patients were required to wear at all times overpowered the mouth both physically and cosmetically. No one really loved this but the outcome was worth the cost. It still is, actually, but we now have choices in how we straighten our teeth. The choice that many people make is to do so with invisible aligners.

Invisalign, the first of this kind of treatment, was developed in 1997. That’s a long time to be around! Dentists around the world still use this system with great success. The outcome of treatment is achieved by wearing custom-made aligners 22 hours a day. Though aligners can be removed, they shouldn’t be left out for too long. Patients are advised to take them out for meals and for brushing and flossing. Occasionally, they may be taken out for pictures or other special circumstances.

In light of the strong demand for convenient, discreet treatment, several other invisible aligner startups have recently emerged. SmileClubDirect is one of the most well-known. This type of system seems even more convenient and cost-effective because it cuts out the “middle-man” and puts orthodontic care in the hands of the patient through mail-order services. Seeing that the middle man in this scenario is the dentist, elimination may not be the best thing for the patient.

Invisalign Details

Invisalign’s RealSelf “Worth It” rating is over 90% with thousands of patients having undergone this treatment. The duration of care may range from as little as 6 months to a year and a half. What sets Invisalign apart from other systems is the degree of expert involvement in both the planning and active phases of treatment. This involvement of a trained dentist allows patients to address mild to complex issues including crowding, overlapping, gaps, and bite issues.

One of the important details about Invisalign that is directly related to results is the fact that this system goes beyond plastic aligners. In many cases, attachments are also worn. These transparent handles are affixed to teeth in a specific way that gets gripped by the aligners to achieve more complex movements. Dentists report that Invisalign attachments achieve much more than aligners could on their own.

Direct-to-Consumer Aligners

Aligners like those that are offered by SmileDirectClub have a RealSelf rating of about 57%. The average course of treatment lasts 6 months. Millions of dollars have been made by direct-to-consumer companies, even though patients have no meaningful contact with a dental professional. According to some people (we could hardly call them patients) self-treated with SmileDirectClub aligners, the lack of interaction made them wonder if anyone was overseeing their treatment at all. Some clients reported having a difficult time managing their care without a clear point-person to speak with about questions or concerns.

These concerns are more like complaints. What is concerning to dental professionals about direct-to-consumer aligners is that no x-rays are taken before treatment begins. Clients are asked only to submit photos to receive their prescribed aligners. Without x-rays, there is no way to know if the client has gum disease, impacted teeth, or root issues that could affect the outcome of treatment. Some dentists report seeing patients who self-treated with this type of aligner system only to find that, while their smile looks better, the teeth at the back of their mouth no longer meet.

The bottom line about aligners is that they are a big deal. Moving teeth is a big deal. When done correctly, teeth-straightening can improve function, hygiene, and appearance. When done incorrectly, teeth-straightening can create bite and joint problems that then require corrective treatment.

Choose Invisalign for your healthiest smile. Choose Dr. Stephen Price because he is Burke’s Premier Invisalign Provider.

Taking Care of Invisalign Aligners is a Breeze

Invisalign  Burke, VA

Braces may have an important role in a person’s long-term dental health, not to mention their appearance and confidence, but that doesn’t mean any patient is particularly excited about sporting a mouthful of metal. We meet a lot of people who express an interest in straightening teeth without braces. As a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia, Dr. Price has had the pleasure of helping many of them do just that.

Invisalign is an excellent treatment option for anyone who wants to improve their smile. However, no treatment is without some degree of commitment. With Invisalign, this commitment revolves partly around the care of aligner trays. Keeping aligners looking good, feeling good, and smelling good doesn’t have to be a chore. Some simple strategies include:

  • Brush them. Aligners are removed when you eat and when you brush and floss your teeth. After brushing your teeth, use your toothbrush to very gently brush the inside and outside of your aligners. This removes bacteria that could become plaque on the devices. Because aligners can be scratched, a very light touch must be used when cleaning them.
  • Rinse them. You may not always be in a place where you can brush your aligners before inserting them. Maybe you’ve just finished a nice meal out with family or friends and you don’t carry a toothbrush with you at all times. Maybe the idea of brushing your teeth in public is unappealing. That’s ok. Before inserting your aligners, rinse them with lukewarm water. While you’re at it, also swish some water around in your mouth, trying to get in between teeth. This process takes about one minute and goes a long way to prevent the accumulation of bacteria.
  • Remember to floss. Brushing is great and flossing is, too. To skip flossing is like brushing only half of your mouth. You wouldn’t do that, now, would you? Flossing after as many meals as possible (or rinsing your mouth) dislodges debris that could attract bacteria where they don’t belong.

We love talking about Invisalign! To learn more about this system and how it can work for you, schedule a consultation in our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 

How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?

Invisalign Burke, VA

Options for straightening teeth have expanded over time. First, we had braces with brackets that wrapped fully around individual teeth. Then, brackets got downsized and bonded to the front surface only. In time, manufacturers discovered that metal brackets and wires were not the only option for correcting misalignment and bite issues. Clear braces became a common method appreciated by patients who wanted a more discreet treatment. When Invisalign was developed, the entire game changed.

Invisalign was the first teeth-straightening treatment that did not involve bonding brackets onto teeth. Not only are there no brackets, but there are also no wires strung across the smile. Invisalign is still the most well-known and most popular of the handful of aligner methods that have been created. As discreet and efficient as this system is, patients still like to know how long they will have to wear aligners. We’ll discuss that here.

How Invisalign Works

To understand how long Invisalign treatment will take, we have to look at how the method works. Invisalign straightens teeth with aligners that look like an average mouth guard. A series of aligners are made using sophisticated animation software. First, a model of the patient’s mouth is sent to the Invisalign lab. From that model, an animation is created to predict and plan each movement of various teeth in a progressive manner. Then, aligners are created in a way that will apply gentle, consistent force to those teeth. By switching aligners every two weeks, the patient achieves the correction needed to bring out the best in their smile.

Factors that Affect Timing

On average, a course of Invisalign treatment lasts about 12 months. However, some patients take less time and some take more. This depends on factors such as:

  • The extent of misalignment. When teeth are only slightly crooked or crowded, treatment may take no more than a few months, followed by a retainer, of course. More severe alignment issues, such as an overbite, may require the full 12 months or longer.
  • Aligner wear. Braces are a “set-it-and-forget-it” kind of treatment. Invisalign requires more thought and commitment. When aligners are removed for meals, for instance, it is necessary to insert them right away. Leaving aligners out often or for prolonged periods means teeth are not being pushed into their rightful position, which means it will take longer to see results.
  • Follow up. Invisalign patients come into the office about every six weeks. These appointments are necessary to check progress and make adjustments as needed to stay on a timely track. Postponing appointments could mean prolonging treatment.

The best way to know how long Invisalign treatment would take for you is to consult with an experienced provider. To schedule a visit with Dr. Price, call our Burke, VA office at (703)-935-2879.

Here’s How Invisalign Beats Braces

Invisalign Burke VAFor the years that we have been a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia, we have seen this method of teeth-straightening skyrocket. Who doesn’t love the idea of having a better smile; one that not only looks more attractive but is truly healthier because teeth are straight! We understand the reason for Invisalign’s popularity, and we’ll point out a few of the benefits that our patients appreciate here.

#1 – Comfort

There’s no other way to say it than braces can be rough on the mouth. Having metal brackets cemented to individual teeth presents the immediate challenge of small fixtures protruding from the surface of teeth. The brackets can rub on the inner cheek and lips and may even catch on tissue now and then. To resolve this issue, the patient with braces must resort to applying wax over the corners of the annoying bracket to soften its edges. Invisalign has no brackets, only smooth plastic trays that fit over teeth.

#2 – Appearance

It has been decades since having a “metal mouth” was actually in style. If you weren’t around at that time in history, you may be surprised to even hear that people truly wanted to have gold and silver crowns placed over front teeth to achieve a particular look. We’ve come a long way since that trend, and now most people want to preserve their natural smile all the time, even when straightening their teeth. The clear plastic from which Invisalign aligners is made enables our patients to do that.

#3 — Gentler, Kinder Treatment

Force is a necessary aspect of any treatment that aims to straighten teeth. However, the immense pressure placed on certain teeth during standard orthodontic treatment may be too much. It is believed that, in some cases, the pressure on a tooth causes hidden damage that may not manifest until years later. At that time, a root canal may be needed to treat the damaged root. The cementing of brackets and placement of bands around those brackets may also present a risk for tooth decay during orthodontic treatment. Not only are bacteria attracted into the small spaces around brackets, but this space is also difficult to reach when brushing. Invisalign aligners are removable. There is nothing to brush around. Flossing is even easy with Invisalign!

We’re huge fans of Invisalign, and our patients are, too. To schedule a consultation in our Burke office and see what Invisalign can do for you, call (703)-935-2879

Dental Visits During Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign, Burke,VAInvisalign is one of the most popular methods used to straighten teeth to ever be invented. There is nothing else that has come so close to perfection: convenience, comfort, and efficacy all wrapped up into a series of aligners. During Invisalign treatment, patients wear custom-made aligners for two weeks at a time. They need no special instructions for oral care. All in all, there is very little to worry about when going through treatment, aside from misplacing aligners. So why do we schedule periodic dental visits during a teeth-straightening program? We’ll discuss that here.

Invisalign Visits: Frequency

We schedule dental visits ever 6 weeks or every 12 weeks. The frequency of visits depends on each patient’s personal treatment plan. We discuss this detail of care during the initial consultation after we confirm that Invisalign is an appropriate method for alignment correction.

What Happens During Invisalign Dental Visits

The purpose of seeing the dentist periodically throughout a course of care is to follow the progress of teeth movement. Each visit, we observe how much movement has been achieved and confirm that teeth are moving in the way predicted at the onset of the treatment plan. Invisalign check-ups also provide patients with the opportunity to ask questions that may have arisen since their last visit.

The dental appointments that take place for Invisalign follow-up last only about 15 minutes in most situations. If a patient has questions or is facing issues with oral health or their aligners or any other aspect of treatment, visits can last longer, but typically no more than half an hour.

The Final Invisalign Visit

The final Invisalign visit may not be quite the same as a final orthodontic appointment because there are no braces to remove from teeth. Hence, there is no “big reveal” in which a patient gets to see a great new smile. Invisalign patients see their smile transform as they go through treatment so there are no surprises on this final day. During this last visit, fixtures that may have been placed are removed and impressions are taken so a retainer can be fabricated. Photos are also taken so patients can observe a side-by-side before and after of their smile.

Are you ready to begin your journey to a great new smile? Call our Burke office at (703)935-2879 to schedule your Invisalign consultation.

Why Invisalign is So Popular

Invisalign, Burke, VAInvisalign has been around for several years now. It has become so common that many of the patients we meet know at least one person whose smile has been transformed without braces, but only because that person told them. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of Invisalign is the discreet way in which the aligner system repositions teeth to improve the smile. As widely known as this benefit is, there are several other reasons why Invisalign is so popular.

Perfect for Teens and Adults

One of the first aspects of Invisalign that came to light years ago was the fact that aligners are an excellent solution for teens and adults of all ages. The development of clear plastic aligners has made it possible for thousands upon thousands of adults to finally get the straight smile they’ve wanted. Because there are no braces protruding from teeth, there is no effect on an adult’s professional or social image during treatment.

For teens, Invisalign makes it possible to continue engaging in sports and social activities without the discomfort and risks associated with braces. Attachment pieces designed over the years have improved the efficacy and overall capacity of aligners to move specific teeth in specific ways, too, increasing the appeal of Invisalign Teen for the average young person.

Perfect for Oral Health

Correcting misalignment is good for oral health no matter how you do it. However, clinical use of orthodontia has revealed specific obstacles presented by braces. Conventional orthodontic treatment affixes brackets onto individual teeth and then moves them using a wire that spans each entire arch of teeth. These fixtures may be necessary, but they make brushing teeth a real challenge. And flossing? Well, this must be done using a special tool. The problem with the roadblocks created by braces is that many patients do not spend the necessary amount of time cleaning carefully around each and every bracket and beneath archwires, let alone in between teeth. At the end of the average orthodontic treatment, restorative dentistry may be needed to repair teeth damaged by decay. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, the risk of dental problems during or after treatment is minimal.

There is so much to appreciate about Invisalign, and it seems like we just keep seeing more reason to love this treatment. Are you ready to begin your treatment? Call our Burke office at (703)935-2879 to schedule your consultation.



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