My daughter called me the other day after her Invisalign appointment. She was really super excited to tell me that she'd finished her braces! Well, no, not really - but she'd turned in her last set of aligners. So, she was done! Now she was moving on to the refinement stage.
The what? What is a refinement stage? How can you be done with your Invisalign aligners - and still need a few sets of additional aligners - with several months ahead?
Let's take a look at the refinement phase. What is it?
The term "refinement" in the context of Invisalign treatment implies just what it is: a small modification to the tooth positions at the conclusion of the initial series of aligner steps. It's done at the conclusion of the primary active therapy time frame, and it does just what it sounds like - it refines the position of the teeth.
My daughter had one tooth that needed to be rotated, and the primary set of aligners hadn't completely straightened it out, so she went into refiners to complete it. The Refinement phase can be done at any time - it doesn't refer to correction of relapse due to non comlinace with a retainer.
I wondered why she'd needed refinements, as she'd had a computer scan done of her teeth - wasn't that pretty accurate? Indeed, it is very accurate in predicting tooth movement but sometimes at the end of a treatment a few more trays are needed to finish the case prior to retainers. The computer simulation can only give an estimate as to how well someone's teeth will move.
A refinement is just continued treatment to really "fine tune" the final result.The end is in sight, though - at her next appointment, we will be discussing her retainer!
I am a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board. My daughter will receive complimentary Invisalign treatment, but as always, I'm sharing my own personal thoughts and opinions.