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What is Invisalign?

Did you know that almost four million people in the United States wear braces, according to the Pennsylvania Dental Association? Those of us, or those of us whose kids, had braces in the 90s or early 2000s know how unattractive and uncomfortable traditional, metal braces were. However, medical advances have now brought us a way to straighten our teeth without anyone even knowing what we’re doing. That is thanks to the creators of Invisalign, or clear braces.

Invisalign - clear braces


What is Invisalign?


Invisalign is a set of clear aligner trays that are custom fit for every patient’s teeth. They are made of clear, almost invisible plastic that is a hard contrast to the metal, spiky braces of yesteryear. Your Santa Monica dentist will plan out how your teeth need to be moved, and will make the trays accordingly. The aligners will gently move your teeth, and you will come in to the Santa Monica dental office every six weeks to get new trays. Each set of aligners will move your teeth little by little over time, creating a whole new look.


Who Benefits From Invisalign?


Invisalign can fix a variety of problems. Here is a list from the creator’s site, Invisalign.com:




Gaps between teeth can occur with abnormal continued growth of the jawbone. Missing teeth can also cause the surrounding teeth to shift due to the extra space, creating gaps in your teeth. Spacing issues and gaps between teeth can lead to gum problems (due to lack of protection by the teeth), periodontal pockets and increased risk of periodontal disease.



What people commonly refer to as an “overbite” is known to dental professionals as “overjet.” It occurs when the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. It’s typically caused by genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth. This can lead to gum problems or irritation, and/or wear on the lower teeth, and can cause painful jaw and joint problems.



Underbite can occur when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. It’s usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. It can also be caused by missing upper teeth. This can prevent the normal function of front teeth or molars, which can lead to tooth wear. It can also cause painful jaw and joint problems.



Open bite often occurs when some teeth are unable to make physical contact with the opposing teeth for a proper bite. Most often caused by a genetic abnormal jaw structure or excessive thumb-sucking, an open bite can cause poor or painful chewing, and even speech impairment. It can also lead to greater issues like thermo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ).



Teeth crowding occurs when there is simply a lack of room within your jaw for all of your teeth to fit normally. When left untreated, overly crowded teeth can get worse over time, and result in severely crooked teeth. This crowding can lead to plaque accumulation, tooth decay and an increased chance of gum disease.



Crossbite can occur when the upper and lower jaws are both misaligned. It causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, and can happen on both the front and the sides of the mouth. This can cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.

Process of Getting Invisalign in Santa Monica

When you come in to our Santa Monica dental office, you will go through the following process in order to get clear braces. First, we will provide you with a consultation on the entire process, and answer any questions you may have. We will take X-rays, pictures and impressions of your teeth, which Invisalign will then use to make a 3-D image. This image will be used to create your own pair of custom-made Invisalign trays, and project a course for your teeth.

Then, in the following appointment, we will provide you with a pair of Invisalign aligner trays which you will wear all the time, except when eating, drinking, or blushing and flossing your teeth. Your trays are so comfortable that you can even sleep in them.

You will then come in to our Santa Monica dental office every six weeks to get a new set of clear braces that will keep moving your teeth more and more, creating the perfect smile.

To inquire about getting Invisalign in Santa Monica, contact us today.

Dr. Susan Hale, DDS

Doctor Susan Hale is a Southern California Native. She attended UCLA followed by Northwestern Dental School in Chicago where she met Dr. Brent. Susan follows the quote of GV Black (the founder of modern dentistry and the first dean of her dental school,” The Professional has no right to be other than a continuous student.” She graduated from UCLA’s TMJ and Facial Pain Mini-Residency and Esthetic Professional’s Mini-Residency. She has a passion for her patients and giving them a beautiful healthy smile, In addition to loving her time with her family and friends, Dr. Susan enjoys running, yoga, cooking and now a little golf.

Dr. Brent Hale, DDS

Brent was born in Michigan and decided early on in life that dentistry suited his personal qualities, and would allow him to focus his career on things he truly enjoyed. He met Susan while they were both in dental school at Northwestern University. After graduating in 1985, the couple returned to Susan’s native Santa Monica to set up their dental partnership. They opened their first office in 1987.

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