How Invisalign Works

The days of traditional metal braces are numbered. Now there’s a way for adults and teens to get straighter teeth without worrying about painful metal braces. Invisalign aligners work similarly to traditional braces, but without the restraints of metal brackets and wires. These virtually invisible aligners are custom fit to your mouth and slowly shift your teeth into place. While your progress depends on how well you follow the guidelines to the product and the severity of your case, they’re still faster than traditional braces. With Invisalign, you can eat whatever you want and keep your confidence as your teeth just get better.

The Invisalign Process

Initial Consultation

Many good things start with a simple question. If you’re curious about Invisalign, all you have to do is ask your dentist or orthodontist during your next visit. With thousands of doctors across the US, including Allan S. Thomas in Salt Lake City, it isn’t hard to find an Invisalign dentist or orthodontist near you. The doctors who offer Invisalign have specialized training on the product, the process and basic care for the product. This consultation is designed to help you feel comfortable about the process and evaluate if Invisalign is the right solution for you.

Design a Treatment Plan

Invisalign has improved millions of smiles, all of them unique like yours. This means every case deserves a unique treatment plan. During this meeting, you’ll get a good idea of how long you’ll need to wear Invisalign and how often you’ll need to change your aligners. Depending on your dentist’s in-office resources, your doctor will create 3D images of your teeth or make physical impressions to create your new aligners.

Armed with a realistic model of your teeth, your doctor will know how to shift your teeth to a straighter position. These treatment plans take factors into consideration like treatment plan payments, movements of your teeth and the length of your treatment.

Get Your Aligners

After planning and prepping, you’ll finally get your Invisalign clear aligners. These light, clear aligners are made of SmartTrack material and are removable and virtually invisible. Once you have your aligners, you’ll need to wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day, only removing them to eat, brush and floss. You’ll change out your aligners once a week to continue shifting your teeth into place.

Get Straighter Teeth

When you stick to your doctor’s advice and the Invisalign regimen, you should see results in a short amount of time. Every week or two weeks, you change aligners.. As you continue the Invisalign program, your teeth will gradually shift into place without the need for metal and wires in your mouth. The process usually lasts about a year with checkups with your doctor every six weeks to make sure Invisalign is working as it should.

Cherish your New Smile

Next thing you know, your teeth will be straighter than ever. Once your treatment is done, you can get a Vivera retainer made from the same material as Invisalign. This strong retainer helps your teeth stay in place after the big shift with Invisalign. If you keep visiting the dentist twice a year with regular brushing and flossing habits, your teeth will healthy and aligned for the rest of your life.

Treatable Cases for Invisalign

It’s rare for someone to have naturally straight teeth that never require orthodontic intervention. For the rest of us, there is a range of common dental problems that can be solved with simple treatment from Invisalign.

Gapped Teeth

Gapped teeth can be caused by missing teeth or extra growth in your jawbone. While small gaps aren’t detrimental to your smile or oral health, they can increase the risk of periodontal disease. If your teeth are spaced far enough apart, your gums are left more exposed to bacteria. If you have gaps in your teeth, Invisalign is an effective solution.


An overbite is simply overlapping between your upper and lower jaw. This issue is often genetic, caused by overdevelopment of the upper jaw. Occasionally, bad oral habits can cause overbite as well. When severe or left untreated after decades, an overbite can affect gum health and lower teeth erosion or irritation.


Underbites come in different levels of severity depending on the cause. Most often, underbites are caused by excess growth in the lower jaw or a lack of growth in the upper jaw. In other cases, missing upper teeth, especially molars can cause this misalignment. Long term problems with underbites are similar to overbites. With a misaligned bite, those with underbites might experience faster erosion of the upper teeth or painful jaw problems.

Open Bite

You might have heard that thumb sucking as a child can affect your teeth. This is one of the causes for an open bite. This condition keeps the top and bottom teeth from touching each other at all. Bad habits as a child or genetics are the most common causes for this issue. If left untreated, an open bite can result in speech impairment, chewing problems and even Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.


Teeth crowding is a common issue for adults, kids and teens alike. Simply an effect of genetics, overcrowding happens when your mouth doesn’t have room for all your teeth. With the help of orthodontic intervention, aligning the teeth can make more room easily. If neglected, crowding can grow worse and cause issues like plaque buildup, decay and gum disease because of the many hard to reach spaces between teeth.


Crossbites are caused by misaligned upper and lower jaws. Like many of these issues, it is often caused by genetics and can be easily remedied. Those with crossbite are at risk for enamel erosion, gum disease and bone loss due to uneven wear in their teeth. Luckily, Invisalign can solve this problem and many others in around a year.

Learn more about Invisalign during your next visit to Dr. Allan S. Thomas D.D.S.

Oral Care as You Age

As you age, life begins to look different. You might appreciate your family more, dive deeper into hobbies or simply take things slower. However, just because you’ve grown wiser with time doesn’t mean you can stop caring for your teeth. Like other parts of your body, your teeth, gums and mouth will begin to show signs of aging. Find out some helpful tips to combat the health problems that come with this.

Common Issues

Dry Mouth

This condition comes from physical changes in your body as it ages. However, some medications can aggravate an already tough case. The CDC estimates that over 400 commonly prescribed medications have dry mouth as a symptom. Without normal saliva levels, your mouth has a harder time controlling bacteria and rebuilding enamel.


After decades of chewing and grinding, your teeth will show signs of wear and tear. Attrition is simply a medical term for worn enamel and teeth. The less enamel you have to defend your teeth, the more prone to cavities you are. Similarly, as you age you become more susceptible to diseases of all kinds. With age may come a higher risk of conditions like oral cancer or thrush.

Root Decay

This issue is usually paired with gum disease, causes the roots of our teeth to become exposed as your gums recede, worsening tooth decay as you age. Root decay can be caused by neglect by a dentist, bad habits like tobacco use or a lacking diet. The best way to handle this and other problems is by talking to your dentist.

Combating Tooth and Gum Disease

While visiting your dentist is the best way to keep your mouth healthy, there are a few ways to keep your choppers in top shape. We recommend more fluoride to keep your teeth strong. Look for fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash to use daily.

Tobacco is one of the big culprits behind mouth diseases. After decades of use, chewing tobacco or smoking can take a toll on your mouth. Beyond simple tooth and gum disease, these habits increase your risk of mouth and throat cancer as well as heart disease.

If you’re subject to dry mouth through medication, speak to your physician about switching the prescription. Dry mouth can impact your eating habits and harm your oral health. If a new medication isn’t an option, drink more water, chew sugar free gum and avoid alcohol to stay hydrated.

Common Brushing Mistakes


Brushing your teeth twice a day is critical for good dental health, but the way it’s done could be damaging to your teeth. It is important to not only brush your teeth on a regular basis, but to brush them right. Avoid these common brushing mistakes for healthier teeth.


Not Brushing Enough


Some people feel the need to only brush their teeth once a day, but this could not be more damaging. Over the twenty-four hour time period, millions of bacteria have the chance to grow, not only causing plaque to build, but causing bad breath as well. It is critical to brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once directly before going to bed. Because our bodies produce less saliva when we sleep, it is especially important to brush our teeth before bed to protect them from plaque.


Bad Brush Strokes


The wrong brush strokes can be damaging to your gums and enamel. those who use aggressive horizontal strokes will begin to erode the gumline, damaging the tissue. It is better to angle your brush at 45 degrees and use short soft strokes. Use a circular motion to better clean your teeth, avoiding damage from the brush.


The Wrong Toothbrush


There are different types of toothbrushes in terms of the bristles. While there is some in between variation, the two main categories are soft and hard bristle. Hard bristles can cause more harm than good to your teeth, damaging the enamel and making the dentine more vulnerable. If you notice swelling of your gums, switch to softer bristles. This is especially important for those who already have sensitive gums as it is.


Updating Your Toothbrush


Your toothbrush should be replaced about every three months for a healthier smile. Over time the bacteria and food particles you remove from your teeth can begin to build in your toothbrush, deep inside the bristles and leading down into the handle. Even if you own an electric toothbrush it is important to change the head on a regular basis to prevent these damaging elements from going back into your mouth. In addition to this, any time you are sick you should replace the toothbrush after you are feeling better.

These are just a few of the common brushing mistakes that you can avoid in your day to day life. Striving to keep your teeth clean and healthy is crucial to your overall health. Make sure you do what is necessary to better protect your teeth from damage.

Facts About Your Tongue

You use your tongue every day from eating to talking, but have you ever stepped back to think about just how important your tongue is? Take a look at these interesting facts about your tongue and why it is so important to you.


You Have Thousands of Taste Buds


The average tongue is home to up to ten thousand taste buds that allow you to enjoy your food. About every two weeks the taste buds on your tongue will die off and be replaced by new ones. These thousands of taste buds are not visible to the human eye, although you may think those small pink and white bumps present across the surface of the tongue, but these are papillae. The taste buds rest on top of these bumps.


Rolling the Tongue


We have heard time and time again that genetics is the only factor that controls our ability to roll our tongue, but this isn’t entirely true. There are also some environmental factors that play a role in our ability to do this. This belief is still being explored by scientists who argue that both genetic and environmental factors are at play when it comes to this ability.


Cat Got Your Tongue


Over 2500 years ago in Ancient Assyria, the phrase “cat got your tongue” originated. During this time the Assyrians were conquering other soldiers and criminals. When they conquered, they would cut out the tongue of their prisoners and feed them to the cats.


Your Tongue is an Introduction to Your Health


The tongue can be an indicator for overall health as well. When the tongue is healthy it is usually a shade of pink. Allergies and infections have the potential to cause swelling of the tongue and a darkening of color. In addition to this, there are certain medical conditions that will signal a noticeable change in the tongue. White patches on the tongue may indicate a fungal infection while a tongue that is too smooth may be indicative of a lack of nutrients.