Your Guide to Invisalign: How It Works, Treatable Cases, Advantages, Cost
Do you avoid smiling because you don’t like the way your teeth look? You shouldn’t have to hide something about yourself because it’s not naturally perfect. Luckily an Invisalign Dentist can transform your smile into something that boosts your confidence instead of lowering it.
Many adults—and teenagers—don’t like the look of traditional braces. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from straightening your teeth. Instead, you can select Invisalign as your teeth-straightening method.
Are you wondering how exactly Invisalign works? Here is everything you need to know about this modern treatment process.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an effective orthodontic treatment that gradually straightens the teeth over time using clear aligners. If you’ve been looking for a way to straighten your teeth, you’ve definitely come across Invisalign as it has become very popular.
Many people prefer this method over traditional braces because Invisalign is nearly invisible. The process is highly individualized and created for the wearer, their mouth, and any unique dental concerns they might have.
Your dentist can quickly fit you for your Invisalign aligners in-office using state-of-the-art 3D scanners, which is why Invisalign is an excellent choice for busy individuals. Your dentist will also oversee the process to ensure your teeth are straightening the way they should and keep your overall oral health in mind as your smile transforms.
How Invisalign Works
Invisalign straightens your teeth with a system of clear aligner trays that gradually push your teeth into their new desired position. The aligners are snug and custom-fitted to your teeth, so the aligners are made for your individual needs and carefully designed treatment plan.
At your first appointment, Dr. Wu will take digital scans, x-rays, and photos to create an accurate model of your teeth and mouth. This model will help create a custom mold from which your aligners are made.
The custom aligner trays are made in a laboratory before being sent back to your dentist. Once we receive your trays, Dr. Wu will check them and if all is good will notify you to come for a fitting appointment and/or to pick them up.
You might also receive the rest of your trays at this fitting/pickup appointment. Dr. Wu will also explain how to wear and use your new aligners so you get the most out of them. Throughout the duration of the treatment, you should use the aligners correctly since you won’t be coming to our office for regular appointments. Also, proper use of aligners is crucial for achieving the best end-of-treatment result.
Invisalign vs. Braces
Both Invisalign and traditional braces work to straighten your teeth. But that’s where the similarities end. There are three main advantages for Invisalign when compared to traditional braces: dental hygiene, aesthetics, and convenience.
Traditional metal braces can make flossing and brushing difficult. Since you can take out the Invisalign aligners, you’re able to floss and brush your teeth as normal. This greatly reduces the risk of decay and other unintended dental issues related to dental hygiene.
Many people find the look of the metal wires of traditional braces undesirable. However, Invisalign is made of a patented thermoplastic material called SmartTrack® which is nearly invisible when worn. Thanks to Invisliang’s invisibility you can straighten your teeth without those around you noticing!
Once you get braces, you are stuck with them as they’re on your teeth until your treatment is complete. Though you have to wear Invisalign for the majority of the day, you can take out the aligners at times and for special occasions. You just need to make sure you are wearing them 20-22 hours a day on average.
Who Can Get Invisalign?
Since Invisalign is a highly individualized process, you have to consult with your dentist to see if it’s right for you. That being said, most people can use Invisalign to straighten their smiles.
The process is suitable for teenagers and adults as long as they have all of their adult teeth.
Invisalign is ideal for treating various cosmetic dental issues such as:
- Crowded Teeth
- Gapped Teeth
- Bite Issues (e.g. overbite, underbite, and crossbite)
However, Invisalign cannot treat everything. Severe issues like extreme tooth positions, large gaps, intrusion, and extrusion cannot be fixed with Invisalign. Some tooth shapes may not be compatible with the aligner trays.
Is Invisalign Safe?
Overall, Invisalign is a safe process to straighten your teeth. It’s non-invasive with minimal risk.
In some cases and like any other appliance, patients are allergic to the aligner trays. However, allergic reactions are extremely rare. Most of the risk from Invisalign comes from improper care during the treatment.
Improper care may lead to food or bacteria getting stuck in the aligners. This can lead to enamel breakdown, cavities, teeth staining, and gum disease. But with proper dental hygiene, these risks are very low.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
The average length of an Invisalign treatment is between 12-18 months. This, of course, can change depending on the state of your teeth, how much work needs to be done and how your teeth respond to the treatment.
How many trays you have depends on your teeth’ original position and how much they have to be moved. Your dentist can give you a more accurate timeline of your treatment. As part of your initial appointment, Dr. Wu will use the ClinCheck® software to show you a computer-generated time-lapse of your treatment process over time and how your teeth will gradually move into their final perfect position.
How Many Hours Per Day Should I Wear My Aligners?
For effective treatment, you have to wear your aligners for a minimum of 20-22 hours every day. Wearing your aligners every day and for the minimum number of hours required is critical in the success of your teeth straightening treatment. Remember, your teeth are moving only when you are wearing your aligners so keep at it and don’t neglect them!
Invisalign Aligner Tray Change Frequency
Generally, you have to wear each aligner tray for about 7 to 10 days. The aligners need to fit perfectly before it’s time to move onto the next tray.
You may lengthen your treatment if you do not wear your aligner trays as often as you should. Leaving them off for too long can shift your teeth in the wrong direction further complicating the treatment. As a result of improper wearing, your future aligners may not work to straighten your teeth, so you may have to restart the process.
Can I Eat with Invisalign on?
No. You have to take out your Invisalign aligners when you eat. You also have to remove them when drinking anything liquid that’s not water. In short, you have to make some changes in the way you eat and drink during your Invisalign treatment.
Taking care of your teeth and your aligners is essential to your treatment and oral health. Unlike braces, you don’t have limitations on what you can eat; one of the best Invisalign advantages for many people.
However, after you eat or drink, you have to brush and floss your teeth before putting the aligners back in. This reduces the risk of trapping in food particles and bacteria that damages your teeth.
Since you have to wear your aligners for at least 20-22 hours each day, planning your meals ahead of time is a great idea. You may also want to reduce snacking to avoid taking your aligners out multiple times throughout the day.
How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
As with any dental procedure, the cost can be a huge factor. The variables of the Invisalign depend heavily on the patient’s needs and circumstances. The complexity of your treatment process directly affects how much the Invisalign will cost.
The condition your teeth are in and the shape of your mouth will determine how much work needs to be done. In general, the Invisalign procedure can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000.
Issaquah Premier Dental accepts most major dental insurances, which can lower the fee when getting Invisalign.
How to Get Started with Invisalign?
A stunning smile can give you a boost of confidence every day. And for many people, a stunning smile includes straight teeth. With the advancements in dental technology, you can now straighten your teeth discreetly even as an adult.
- First, decide if you can and will commit to the Invisalign treatment and its process.
- Second, consider its cost and duration. Do not worry too much about the total cost. Issaquah Premier Dental offers flexible payment plans to help you get the smile you love at an affordable monthly rate. (Pro tip: we offer $500 off to members of our Dental Savings Plan).
- Last but not least, select a trustworthy dentist who is both knowledgeable and equipped with the latest dental technologies to help you transform your smile in the most efficient and professional manner.
Are you looking to transform your smile under the guidance of an award-winning dentist? Book an appointment with Dr. Wu and her team to start your journey to your best smile!