How Invisalign Works
Invisalign® takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference in your daily life. The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know you’re straightening your teeth.
You may be somewhat familiar with how the Invisalign® treatment works, but we’d like to take you through each step of the treatment process, from consultation to confident smile. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or someone else, knowing more about the entire process can help you be more confident in your decision to choose Invisalign and enjoy a better smile every day. Your treatment begins after you select our experienced Invisalign-trained team of dentists that you feel most comfortable with and schedule your initial consultation. Keep in mind that not all dentists and orthodontists work with Invisalign, so it’s important to find a doctor who has received the proper Invisalign training and can truly evaluate your needs and determine how Invisalign can help you. During the consultation, you and your doctor will discuss your case in detail to determine if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign. Invisalign now addresses many cases, from simple to more complex. Your doctor will determine if Invisalign is right for you.
Your doctor will take x-rays, pictures and impressions of your teeth, which Invisalign will use to create a digital 3-D image of them. From these images your doctor will map out a precise treatment plan, including the exact movements of your teeth, and tell you the approximate length of treatment. Using the same technology your doctor will be able to show you a virtual representation of how your teeth will move with each stage of treatment. While every case is unique to each patient, treatment typically takes approximately a year for adults. For teens the length of treatments is comparable to that of braces.
Based on your individual treatment plan, a series of custom-made, clear aligners is then created specifically for you. These aligners are made of a smooth, comfortable, BPA-free plastic that won’t irritate your cheeks and gums like traditional metal braces often do. Simply wear them throughout the day, and remove them when you eat or to brush and floss your teeth. As you wear each set of aligners, your teeth gently and gradually begin to shift into place. And because they’re virtually invisible, most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them.
Approximately every two weeks, you will begin wearing a new set of aligners, advancing you to the next stage of your treatment. To monitor your progress, you will also have occasional checkups with your doctor, usually only every six weeks or so. For best results and a timely outcome, you should wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, throughout your entire treatment. At every stage, you will be able to see how much closer you are to having the smile that reflects the real you.
Congratulations! This is the time when you celebrate. You have reached the end of treatment and you will be smiling more than ever. Once your treatment is complete, protect the beautiful new smile you have invested in. Ask your doctor if you will need retainers to keep your teeth in their new position. Vivera® retainers are custom made using the same state-of-the-art technology as Invisalign. Vivera retainers lock in your beautiful smile.
From mild cases of crooked teeth and protruding teeth, to much more difficult dental problems involving serious malocclusion, overbite, or underbite, Invisalign® effectively corrects a wide variety of dental problems. Whether your teeth are widely gapped, overly crowded or somewhere in between, Invisalign has an affordable teeth straightening option for you.
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.
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.
Sure, there are other options out there for straightening your teeth, but none offers the level of comfort, convenience and confidence that you’ll find with Invisalign®. And no matter what stage you’re at in life, you’ll appreciate how our cutting-edge approach to treatment has minimal interference in how you live, but has a significant positive impact on how you look and feel about yourself.
The Advantages Over Braces
While the results may appear the same—a confident, beautiful smile—when you stop and actually compare Invisalign® to other teeth-straightening options, the advantages become quite apparent. Knowing the pros and cons of each option ahead of time will help you make a more confident decision.
With regular braces, you may experience some or all of the following: pain, discomfort, mouth sores or injuries caused by the brace wires, tooth decay (from inadequate brushing and flossing), plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, tooth/bracket breakage, or difficulty eating. As if that weren’t enough, there are also the personal sacrifices—popcorn, chips, bagels, hard-crusted bread, pizza crust, pretzels, nuts, certain candies…plus apples, carrots, corn on the cob, and more.
Many patients have asked about the benefits of veneers as compared to Invisalign. While veneers are certainly an option for improving your smile, they only cover up certain dental imperfections, rather than correct them. This means that some existing periodontal problems could remain. Applied to the front side of the teeth only, veneers also require the removal of the surface enamel of each tooth—an irreversible procedure—and need to be replaced every five to 10 years. This can become very expensive… Coffee, tea and red wine need to be avoided to prevent discoloration, and care must be taken to prevent chipping or breaking the veneer. So while the surface look of the teeth may improve with veneers, the underlying tooth and gum problems could still exist. Of course, there’s always the option of not seeking treatment at all. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but do keep in mind that, if left untreated, many orthodontic issues can often lead to more serious dental and health issues. Click here to learn more about the health benefits of straighter teeth and a proper bite.
Invisalign® Cost – Paying for Invisalign®Treatment
Many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign treatment just as they would other orthodontic treatments like metal braces. Plans may cover up to $3,500 of Invisalign treatment. Talk to your Invisalign-trained doctor or insurance provider to find out how much you’re covered for.
Did you know you can apply your Flexible Spending Account toward Invisalign treatment? You can set up to $2,500 of your pretax dollars aside through your FSA and use those funds to help cover the cost of Invisalign treatment. Then, you can apply for FSA reimbursement.
Invisalign Treatment Cost is Similar to That of Braces
But that’s where the similarity ends.