Questions to Ask Your Orthodontist Before Starting Invisalign Treatment
Invisalign removable plastic aligners provide a popular alternative to conventional fixed braces. The Invisalign system of straightening teeth boasts the most advanced clear aligner technology in the world. It can treat a broad range of orthodontic problems with appliances that are barely noticeable – no wires or brackets.
If you’re thinking about taking advantage of the many benefits of this revolutionary orthodontic therapy – either for yourself or for your kids – there are important questions to ask your orthodontist before starting Invisalign treatment.
The answers should give you a clear picture of:
- Whether Invisalign is the best orthodontic therapy in your particular case.
- What you can expect during Invisalign treatment.
- How to get the best outcome from Invisalign orthodontics.
- The benefits of Invisalign treatment.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Invisalign treatment we get here at Webster Orthodontics.
How does Invisalign work?
Your customized Invisalign aligners will steer your teeth through a series of precisely controlled movements. Unlike standard braces, Invisalign regulates the timing of the movement as well as the amount of shift, so only certain teeth are moved during each stage of the process.
You get a series of aligners, with each set being worn 20 to 22 hours a day. At Webster Orthodontics, you’ll get a new aligner for every week – rather than the usual two weeks or longer – which makes sure they don’t get grubby and helps your breath to stay fresh.
Invisalign treatment is typically completed within 12 to 18 months, and much faster in simpler cases. Traditional braces can take two years or longer to straighten your teeth.
How are Invisalign aligners made?
Invisalign aligner trays are made of transparent medical-grade polyurethane resin in a technologically advanced and highly automated fabrication process developed by Align Technology, the U.S.-based global medical device company.
Dental impressions for the manufacturing process are taken with a special 3D digital scanning device, which avoids messy impressions. The aligners are then fabricated by 3D printers in what is believed to be the world’s largest, most advanced mass customization process of its kind.
Proprietary ClinCheck software maps out the path to your new smile right down to the tiniest movement of your teeth and allows you to see each phase of your treatment plan from start to finish before you even pop in your first aligner.
How much does Invisalign treatment cost?
The cost of Invisalign treatment is comparable with fixed braces therapy – a few thousand dollars – but the exact amount depends on the complexity of your case.
Many Invisalign providers, including Webster Orthodontics, offer a free Invisalign consultation and flexible payment plans for treatment. Your dental insurance may cover a sizable chunk of the cost of your Invisalign treatment.
What types of orthodontic problems can Invisalign fix?
Invisalign can effectively treat both simple and complex orthodontic issues, including:
- Crooked, crowded and gapped teeth.
- Protruding teeth.
- A range of bite irregularities.
However, Invisalign may not be the most effective treatment in all cases, although its limitations are being constantly reduced by continuing developments in technology, and a more experienced Invisalign provider will be confident in treating a wider range of cases.
Is Invisalign treatment painful?
Most Invisalign patients experience minor, temporary discomfort – generally a feeling of pressure – for a few days at the start of each stage of treatment. This is normal – an indication that your aligners are working to move your teeth.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has reported on one independent study in which one-third of Invisalign patients experienced no pain whatsoever.
Are Invisalign aligners as effective as traditional braces?
Yes! For most patients, the end result of orthodontic treatment with Invisalign aligners is the same as wearing fixed braces – but with a host of advantages.
What are the advantages of Invisalign?
Invisalign holds many advantages over old-style orthodontics. Compared with fixed braces, Invisalign is:
- Faster – treatment times typically half that of braces.
- More comfortable – aligners with smooth plastic edges.
- Far less conspicuous – as the name implies, Invisalign is virtually invisible.
- More convenient – fewer visits to your orthodontist.
- A healthier option.
Why is Invisalign better for oral health?
You can take your aligners out to continue to brush and floss as normal. With fixed braces, oral hygiene becomes more difficult than usual and bits of food can get stuck in the wires and brackets, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
The removability of Invisalign aligners also enables you to maintain a healthy diet – crucial for the best outcome from orthodontic treatment. Traditional braces come with many dietary restrictions to avoid damage to the appliances.
When can I take my aligners out?
Although you need to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day, you can – and should – remove them for:
- Meals and snacks.
- Drinking anything except plain water.
- Brushing and flossing.
You can also take out your aligner trays if it would make you more comfortable for special occasions – although it’s doubtful anyone will notice them – and for activities such as sports or playing a wind instrument.
Will Invisalign treatment affect my speech?
As with any orthodontic appliance, Invisalign aligners may briefly affect speech, and you might get a slight lisp temporarily. However, as your mouth gets used to your aligners, any minor speech impediment should disappear.
Are there any age restrictions on Invisalign treatment?
Children usually start Invisalign treatment between the ages of eight and 14. Invisalign is also a good orthodontic option for adults of any age and can help to prevent tooth loss and gum disease.
How do I keep my Invisalign aligners clean?
Keeping your aligners clean – as well as your mouth – is essential to prevent discoloration and bacteria build-up. Brush your aligners every night with toothpaste and rinse them in tepid water – hot water could warp the plastic – and rinse them each time you remove them.
How often will I need to see the orthodontist during Invisalign treatment?
Invisalign treatment requires fewer orthodontic appointments than traditional braces, which need to be adjusted regularly. You just need to see your orthodontist once every six weeks or so to make sure your treatment is on track.