Invisalign is a clear aligner treatment that can help you straighten your teeth and achieve the smile you've always wanted. But did you know that you can also customize your smile with Invisalign?
In my experience, a lot of patients don’t realize how much choice we have in designing how our final smile looks. There are many ways you can customize your smile! As an example, I’ll take you through the thought process behind crafting mine.
In this blog post, I'll share my experience with customizing my smile with orthodontics, and discuss the different ways you can customize your smile. I'll also give you tips on how to talk to your Invisalign dentist about your goals. Hopefully, it can help inspire you to have a candid conversation about your goals with your Invisalign or clear aligner dentist as you are planning your orthodontic treatment!
What is an Overbite?
An overbite is the amount of overlap between your upper and lower teeth when you smile. The ideal overbite is anywhere between 5-25% coverage of the lower arch.
Why Do Overbites Matter?
Before I started orthodontic treatment, my overbite was closer to 5-8% and when I smiled, both my top and lower teeth were "exposed." What I wanted was a smile that showed less of my lower teeth. Most significant profile changes require teeth extraction, but I did not want to go that treatment route, so my dentist recommended more than usual IPR (interproximal reduction) to achieve the look I wanted.
The end result has my lower teeth barely visible when I smile, with my overbite significantly larger, about 20 percent. In terms of words / phrases you can use with future conversations with your dental practitioner, my smile was definitely "larger" as you can see from the first photo but not "wider" as you can see a shadow in the corner of my mouth. My upper arch was widened and reached the corner of my mouth, but now, my smile is considerably less wide and "smaller" than my smile before.
5-8% overbite before ortho treatment. Photo taken in 2010
20% overbite post ortho treatment. Photo taken 09/2021
Talk to Your Invisalign Dentist About Your Goals
If you're interested in customizing your smile with Invisalign, it's important to talk to your Invisalign dentist about your goals. Your dentist will be able to tell you what's possible with Invisalign and help you create a treatment plan that meets your needs.
Smile Goal Questions:
- Do I want a wider smile?
- Do I want more/less of my teeth to show when I smile?
- Do I like the shape of my teeth?
- Do I like the color of my teeth?
Do I want a wider smile?
Are you happy with how much your teeth show when you smile? If not, and you'd like more options, ask your dentist what they would recommend to help give you a wider smile.
Do I want more or less of my teeth to show when I smile?
Usually when someone wants to show less of their teeth when they smile, it is because their smile includes showing off their gums. This is also known as having a "gummy" smile (like me, when I smile really big), and they prefer to show less of their gums when they smile. There are cases where this can't be changed, but since everyone's smile is different, ask your dentist what options are there for you to have a less "gummy" smile.
If you'd like more of your teeth to show when you smile, try asking what options you have for a wider smile. A wider smile usually indicates more teeth to show when smiling!
Do I like the shape of my teeth?
Our teeth shape is highly dependent on our genetic makeup. There are non-invasive ways to change the shape of your teeth, such as IPR and evening out the edges of your teeth, and for those who want "bigger" teeth, then there are more invasive options such as veneers. Ask your dentist which options you have, and which option would work best for your face shape. Facial balance matters!
Do I like the color of my teeth?
Whitening and brightening our teeth is all part of how confident we feel about our smile. Although we have a blog on how to whiten at home, there are in-office whitening treatments that work very well. However, they do leave your teeth incredibly sensitive for a few days after. Important Note: we always recommend that our patients whiten their teeth before orthodontic treatment, and continue after they're done with their clear aligners.
Prepare yourself before your orthodontic/ clear aligner consultation:
I recommend taking photos of yourself from different angles, and compare them alongside images of the kind of smiles you really like. Your dentist may not be able to give you the exact smile you are looking for (because everyone's mouth and teeth are different), but they can give you options to help you achieve the smile that fits your face, while still incorporating elements of your ideal smile when possible.
NOTE: For those nearing refinements, my advice would be to look at your ‘before’ photos and take a normal photo of your smile. Take into consideration how your entire mouth looks in the regular photo (lips, cheeks, chin, etc.). Then, request any improvements you'd like to your dental practitioner, being as descriptive as possible. This will initiate productive conversation with your doctor and better help them suggest treatment options to get you closer to the new smile of your dreams!
Best of luck!