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Invisalign is a brand of clear, plastic aligners that fit over the teeth like retainers to straighten them out over a specified treatment time. The clear aligners are made of a flexible plastic — specifically, a patented thermoplastic material called SmartTrack® that was created exclusively for Invisalign treatment. They are FDA-approved and contain no BPA, BPS, latex, or gluten.
An alternative treatment plan from traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are custom made to wear for a few weeks or months at a time. As the teeth move, your dental care professional will make you new aligners to keep them gradually moving into the desired position. It’s a process without all the restrictions that come with metal braces.
Because Invisalign shifts all of your teeth together instead of each individual tooth, it tends to give you a straighter smile faster than traditional metal braces.
Perhaps the best-known orthodontics brand for clear aligners, Invisalign is a quicker way to give you a straight smile. You wear the aligners every day and night except while you’re eating or drinking. They are removable so you can clean your teeth with a toothbrush and floss, too.
Here’s how it works:
It’s important to follow your orthodontist or dental professional’s instructions on how long to wear clear aligners each day. Typically clear aligners are worn for 20 to 22 hours a day, but this will vary depending on each case. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing extreme discomfort.
You have to get new aligner trays every one to two weeks as your teeth shift, which means that Invisalign starts working the second you put the aligners in your mouth. Invisalign’s benefits typically show in just a few weeks to months, but the timeline varies on a case-by-case basis. The end result could take over a year for some serious cases of misalignment, while some people may see completely straighter teeth in half a year, for example.
Invisalign is a highly effective treatment and an ideal solution for both adults and teenagers who want an almost-invisible method of improving their smiles. In fact, over nine million people — including more than 1.4 million teens — have used Invisalign before.
Thanks to Invisalign’s innovations and technology, the brand of aligners can fit almost all teeth and fix almost all alignment and bite issues without majorly interrupting your life. For best results, you should wear your Invisalign trays for 20 to 22 hours every day for your designated treatment time.
However, these aligners are not necessarily as effective of a treatment option as braces for you if you have a really bad overbite, crossbite, or underbite; extremely gapped teeth; very crowded teeth; severely crooked teeth; or other significant misalignments. While Invisalign treatment may do the trick, braces or other options that more forcefully shift the teeth might work best. Some patients may benefit from a temporary treatment with traditional braces and then transition into Invisalign aligners.
The cost of Invisalign treatment averages about $5,000, which is about the cost of braces, but this number depends on the complexity of your case and the length of your orthodontic treatment. Invisalign’s cost may be covered or partially covered by your dental insurance. Most dental insurance plans cover Invisalign the same way they cover braces.
There are also other options to make Invisalign treatment more affordable for you, from using FSA or HSA tax-free dollars to a monthly payment plan to lighten the financial burden. For example, your dentist may offer financing through CareCredit, a third-party patient financing program.
Azaripour, A et al., Braces versus Invisalign®: gingival parameters and patients' satisfaction during treatment: a cross-sectional study., BMC oral health vol. 15 69. 24 Jun. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478712/
Frequently asked questions, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/frequently-asked-questions
How much does Invisalign Treatment cost?, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.co.uk/invisalign-cost
Ke, Yunyan et al., A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies., BMC oral health vol. 19,1 24. 23 Jan. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343314/
The Invisalign Difference, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/the-invisalign-difference
Treatable cases, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/treatable-cases