Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, and author of the bestselling book, Age With Style— A Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living, discusses Invisalign clear braces.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health, and author of the best selling book Age With Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today, our topic is Invisalign clear braces. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy: Hi, John. Thank you for having me today.

What Are Invisalign Braces?

John: Sure. So, Dr. Nammy, what are Invisalign braces?

Dr. Nammy: Invisalign braces are clear braces to move the teeth, and what they do is that they’re very precise in moving the teeth into a particular direction in which we want it to do. I really like them, because they’re bisphenol-free. There’s a lot of stuff out there on the market that’s more cost effective for the patient, but they tend to be manufactured outside of the US, mainly China, and they tend to have plastics that are made with BPA, bisphenol-A, which causes cancer. So I prefer to work with Invisalign, because it does not have any sort of allergens in there that I have found, and also no bisphenol, which is really great, especially if you’re going to wear something that’s in your mouth about 22 hours a day or so.

Who Are Invisalign Braces For?

John: Right. Are Invisalign braces good for anybody to use?

Dr. Nammy: They’re good for the majority of the population to use. I would say 80 percent. Invisalign is great at crowding teeth, spacing, crossbites, and is easy to fix. The only things that usually don’t work with Invisalign is somebody, if they have a class three bite where their lower jaw is further out from their upper jaw, which requires surgery. So a more severe case like that is going to need regular braces, but other than that, I prefer Invisalign for 99 percent of my cases.

Invisalign Process

John: Okay. So talk a little bit about the process for getting Invisalign braces.

Dr. Nammy: John, the process is super easy for getting the actual braces. What you do is you come on in. We do a consultation, figure out if you’re a good candidate for it. If you’re a great candidate for the process, we’ll go through that with you and we’ll start the molding process. Once we do the molding process, we manufacture the aligners. It takes about four to six weeks or so, and then you start wearing the aligners. The thing with our practice that’s very different is that we move the teeth a lot slower than majority of the practices, which is really great for the jaw joint, because the jaw joint tends to be inflamed if you move the teeth too fast, which is very common in traditional braces and also the Uniform aligners or Byte or all these things you see Facebook advertisements about. It’s really important to move the teeth in a controlled environment.

John: And what do Invisalign braces look like? Can I tell when somebody is wearing them?

Dr. Nammy: You can tell if you’re really close to the person, but for majority of the people like you and I sitting in front of each other, if I really squinted, I’d be able to tell, but I wouldn’t be able to tell otherwise because they’re clear, which is really nice. The best thing about our practice is we don’t put nubs on them. A lot of offices put these nubs that help the teeth move. We find that the nubs actually trap bacteria and actually cause gum disease, and so what works better for me is not even to have the nubs. So you’ve got a nice flush fit like a glove, and it’s almost invisible.

John: So what can I expect after getting Invisalign braces? How long does the process take?

Dr. Nammy: The actual process varies between each person. There are certain movements that are super easy. Like if there’s spacing, it’s easier to close that up, so that would be easy to do. If there’s crowding or crossbite, it takes a lot longer, about a year, year and a half or so. In most cases, I tend to like to have a longer time with moving the teeth, mainly because it helps the jaw joint. The slower we move the teeth, the better it is for the jaw joint.

John: Okay. Dr. Nammy, when I was a kid, I actually had the old style of metal braces, and whenever I ate, I got food stuck in them, and it was hard to brush the food out and hard to floss and things like that. Talk a little bit about Invisalign braces and the difference that they make in terms of being able to eat my food.

Dr. Nammy: Oh, that is a very good point. Invisalign braces are really nice, because you don’t have something that’s stuck on the teeth all the time. You actually take the Invisalign braces off to eat. Your teeth are a little sore, I have to be honest about that, because we’re moving teeth, but it is far more comfortable. You can actually eat a piece of lettuce. You can eat spinach. You can eat a celery. It’s really great, because you can floss in between and get all that stuff out that gets stuck, because with regular braces, it’s so hard to clean in between. The food gets stuck in there. It’s hard to get it out. Those wires get in the way, and the wires trap so much bacteria, it causes your gums to bleed and causes gum disease. I mean, I just had a case where I had a patient who had so much buildup on the teeth that we actually had to do a surgical procedure to remove the excess tissue that overgrew the brackets.

John: All right. That’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.

John: For more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 433-0119.