Invisalign is one of the most popular orthodontic treatments on the market today, but many people are confused about how it works and how it differs from traditional braces. That’s why we’ve created this frequently asked questions guide to Invisalign that answers the most common questions people have about the treatment, including whether you’re a good candidate, what to expect during treatment, and more.
Q1: What are Invisalign clear aligners?
Invisalign is a set of custom-made, virtually invisible aligners that move your teeth so you can have that beautiful smile you want. Clear aligners are made of smooth, comfortable, and biocompatible plastic. As each new aligner is placed, your teeth move little by little until they achieve their final position.
With Invisalign, there are no brackets or wires to tighten or uncomfortable elastics to wear. Your mouth stays comfortable throughout treatment, so you can talk, eat and drink normally while wearing your clear aligners. All you see is a smile that’s straightening!
Q2: How long does it take to get my teeth straight with Invisalign?
After a thorough evaluation, your dentist will decide which aligners are right for you. You’ll need to wear an aligner every day; each aligner is good for two weeks, after which you’ll receive your next set of aligners.
This cycle of start and stop wears-and-takes continues until you’ve reached your desired result. Typically, treatment can last anywhere from six months to three years (or more).
Q3: How much does the Invisalign cost?
The cost of Invisalign varies widely across different regions and orthodontists, and the patients’ unique situations. However, there are a few different types of Invisalign plans that range from one to three years in length.
Keep in mind that these plans require you to pay for your aligners out-of-pocket before your case is finished and can help save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. These plans usually don’t offer interest-free financing; however, dental insurance and payment plans are also available. You’ll have to check with your provider for specific details on financing options.
Q4: What is the difference between traditional treatments?
While traditional treatments for straightening teeth can include metal brackets, rubber bands, and/or wires, they may still be visible to others.
Invisalign are removable and comfortable to wear, so they’re easy to keep clean and remove when eating or brushing. Traditional methods also often require multiple appointments with your dentist while aligners only need to be adjusted at each visit. With in-office treatment or traditional methods, it’s not uncommon for loose or ill-fitting parts of a brace or appliance to cause gum irritation that can lead to tooth decay around them. Since clear aligners are completely removable, you don’t have those same risks.
Q5: Who is Invisalign treatment for?
Invisalign is for patients who want a beautiful smile but have mild to moderate crowding, gaps between their teeth, and/or excessive spacing. It is most appropriate for people with minor imperfections in tooth alignment. If you have severe misalignment or severely crowded teeth, Invisalign may not be an option for you.
The best way to know if Invisalign is right for you is to schedule a consultation with your orthodontist. Most orthodontists use 3D digital scans of your teeth and computer software (called CAD-CAM) to create an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs. This gives each patient a unique treatment path tailored just for them and helps ensure they get optimal results that match their unique smile.
Q6: How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign is made of a comfortable, clear material. They work by gently moving your teeth into place, so they can be straightened over time. The treatment starts with an examination and x-rays to determine how much your teeth need to move in order to achieve straight teeth. You will then receive a set of aligners that correspond to your initial treatment plan.
Wear each aligner for up to two weeks before receiving new ones in the mail (as recommended by your orthodontist). Unlike traditional braces, you won’t be asked to wear rubber bands or wires around your teeth—just aligners!
Q7: How often will I have to visit the dentist during treatment?
Your dentist will need to adjust your aligners every few weeks. Typically, if treatment is going smoothly and you are sticking to your prescribed schedule, visits will be approximately every six weeks. If you are experiencing a lot of friction or difficulty wearing your aligners, we may ask you to come in more often or begin making changes sooner.
The good news is that these changes won’t happen very often. Since they are made while you’re in a relaxed state and don’t take too much time to make, adjustments can be made quickly and easily. This also means that each visit won’t be very long—usually around 15 minutes each time—so it shouldn’t require too much of an interruption in your life.
Q8: When can I expect my teeth to be perfectly straight?
This is a very common question we get from patients. The average time it takes to treat cases varies, but most patients complete treatment within 12-24 months. If treatment goes as expected, you can plan on your teeth being completely straight in less than 2 years, though every case is different and some patients require more or less time than others.
This is because there are many different factors that influence treatment duration (for example, tooth crowding or spacing issues may prolong treatment time). We recommend that you don’t rush your treatment – work with your dentist to be sure you’re receiving a proper balance of speed and safety.