If you’re considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or your kids, you’ve probably heard about the hi-tech Invisalign system.
But do you know enough about it to make an informed decision on whether it’s your best option compared with more conventional teeth straightening methods?
Probably not, judging by the number and variety of questions we’re asked about Invisalign here at Webster Orthodontics.
So, we’ve compiled this Invisalign FAQ post to help you gain a better understanding of these revolutionary plastic aligners, which have transformed the world of orthodontic dentistry – and the smiles of countless patients.
We’ll start by dealing with some of the most common Invisalign questions...
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign aligners provide much more control than standard braces over how teeth are moved, and their smooth edges are more comfortable.
They exert mild pressure to reposition teeth in a series of precisely regulated movements. Each aligner tray in the sequence is worn 20 to 22 hours a day for one or two weeks.
Invisalign treatment typically takes 12 to 18 months, compared with two years or more for conventional braces. Signs of improvement with Invisalign often become evident within weeks of beginning treatment.
The Invisalign system boasts highly advanced clear aligner technology, including 3D computer imaging that avoids regular impressions which can be distressing if you have a strong gag reflex.
Invisalign also features a proprietary SmartTrack system for a more predictable and controlled movement of teeth, with results that are easy to see at every stage of the process.
Are There Different Types of Invisalign?
Invisalign provides orthodontic solutions for adults, teens, and younger children:
- Invisalign for adults. An estimated 25 percent of Invisalign patients in the U.S. are adults, many of whom didn’t wear braces when younger or whose teeth have moved out of alignment over time.
- Invisalign Teen. Introduced in 2008, Invisalign Teen is designed for the teenage mouth and continuing jaw development. It has a blue dot indicator to determine whether the appliances are being kept in the mouth for the recommended time.
- Invisalign First. The latest addition to the Invisalign family, Invisalign First is designed for Phase One orthodontic treatment as permanent teeth begin to erupt alongside primary teeth. It can resolve early issues to ensure enough room for adult teeth to emerge properly.
What Are the Advantages of Invisalign Compared with Regular Braces?
Invisalign holds key advantages over conventional braces in terms of oral health, convenience, and appearance.
Standard, fixed braces remain in the mouth constantly during the entire treatment process. This makes keeping your teeth clean more difficult and bits of food can become lodged in the wires and brackets, resulting in accumulations of plaque and tartar – a leading cause of cavities and gum disease.
The removability of Invisalign appliances means you can continue to brush and floss as normal, and you also get the convenience of being able to eat foods you would have to cut out to avoid damaging standard braces.
While traditional braces are now less conspicuous, the brackets and wires are still far more visible than Invisalign plastic appliances, which are practically invisible – as the name suggests.
What Problems Can Invisalign Fix?
Invisalign can correct multiple orthodontic issues, including crooked, crowded, and gapped teeth.
It can also rectify irregular bite functions when the upper and lower teeth don’t come together properly. These issues include:
- Overbite – upper front teeth protruding over the lower teeth.
- Underbite – lower teeth projecting beyond the upper teeth.
- Crossbite – upper teeth biting on the inside of lower teeth.
- Open bite – upper teeth failing to make proper contact with lower teeth.
Invisalign may not be your best option if you have more complex orthodontic problems, which may call for the stronger moving power of conventional fixed braces. However, Invisalign technology is continually advancing to broaden its scope of treatments, and some Invisalign orthodontists are able to treat a wider range of orthodontic problems than others.
If you’re thinking about getting teeth straightening treatment for yourself or your children, an experienced orthodontist can help you decide whether Invisalign is your best option.
Is Invisalign Expensive?
As with all types of orthodontic treatment, the cost of Invisalign depends largely on how much work your orthodontist has to do.
In general, Invisalign costs about the same as getting regular braces – a few thousand dollars – and financing options may be available from your orthodontist.
If you have a dental insurance plan with orthodontic coverage, it may include Invisalign.
More Invisalign FAQs
In addition to the above questions, our patients also often ask us...
Does Invisalign hurt?
Your teeth may feel slightly sensitive for the first few days with a new set of aligners. This is actually a good sign! It means Invisalign is working and your teeth are being shifted into their proper position. Any discomfort is mild and diminishes quickly.
Will I need to wear a retainer after my Invisalign treatment?
As with traditional braces, a retainer is necessary after Invisalign treatment to ensure your teeth don’t move back out of position. Eventually, you’ll only need to wear your retainer at night.
Am I too old for Invisalign?
Invisalign is suitable for adults of all ages. Bear in mind, though, that treatment may take longer than with youngsters, whose jaws and teeth are still growing and therefore more responsive to orthodontics.
Will I be able to speak properly with Invisalign?
It may take a couple of days to get used to your aligners. A few patients get a slight lisp at first but most don’t notice any deterioration in their speech.
How often do I need to change my aligners?
Some orthodontists will have you changing your aligners every couple of weeks. Our patients get a new set of aligners every week – more hygienic and helps to keep your breath fresh.
How do I clean my Invisalign aligners?
Just use a toothbrush and toothpaste and rinse your aligners with lukewarm water.
How often do I need to see my orthodontist during Invisalign treatment?
About every six weeks to make sure your treatment is on track.