Pros & Cons of Invisalign

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Pierce Willans
Written by
Pierce Willans
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Evidence Based
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6 sources cited
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What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional braces due to its low profile and convenience. It’s a series of clear aligners (also known as invisible braces) for your upper and lower teeth.

Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, making them popular for image-conscious teens and adults.

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Since its introduction in 1998, Invisalign has treated over 3 million people, making it the leading in-office aligner on the market today.

How Invisalign Works

  1. Treatment begins with a visit to the dentist or orthodontist’s office for an in-person consultation. While there, your mouth will be digitally scanned (some offices still take physical impressions using putty). Your treatment plan is based on these scans. 
  2. Invisalign clear aligners are then made based on both current and desired teeth alignment
  3. Wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day over the next two weeks, removing them only to brush, floss, eat or drink. During this time, your teeth will move between 0.25 to 0.3 millimeters.
  4. After two weeks, return to the office for a follow-up appointment. There, an Invisalign-trained professional can check your progress and replace your aligners with new ones. After this, appointments will be about every 6 weeks, and you’ll continue to switch your aligners every 2 weeks.
  5. Total treatment length usually takes anywhere between 3 to 18 months (depending on adherence and teeth alignment issues). After treatment ends, a Vivera® Invisalign retainer will be created to keep your teeth straight.

Pros of Invisalign

There are a variety of advantages to getting Invisalign aligners. These include:

  • Low profile — Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is almost unnoticeable. This makes it ideal for teenagers and young professionals who are image-conscious.
  • Convenient — Invisalign treatment involves fewer follow-up appointments than braces. The appointments also take less time. Overall, treatment time is often faster as well.
  • Removable — Invisalign aligners are removable, allowing for normal brushing and flossing without difficulty. 
  • No wires or brackets —The lack of delicate metal wires or brackets means you can eat the foods you want without worry. It’s also easier to maintain good oral hygiene with Invisalign aligners than traditional braces. 
  • Comfortable — According to a 2014 study, Invisalign treatment features significantly less discomfort and irritation than braces.1
  • Safe  — Invisalign clear aligners are made with FDA-approved, medical-grade plastic, which is free of toxins like BPA or BPS.
  • Low Maintenance — The aligners are easy to keep clean. Simply scrub with a toothbrush and some soap. You can also let them soak in antibacterial mouthwash overnight. 

Cons of Invisalign 

Possible cons of Invisalign are:

  • Expensive — Before insurance, the national average cost for Invisalign is between $2,500 and $8,000.4
  • Have to Wear It — Invisalign must be worn between 20 to 22 hours per day. Anything else will diminish its effectiveness.
  • Tooth Discomfort — While less painful than braces, Invisalign aligners can still cause some pressure and discomfort. These feelings will pass as your teeth adjust.
  • Attachments — Invisalign attachments are tooth-colored dots or knobs made of composite material. They’re meant to increase treatment effectiveness, but they can also make the aligners more visible. 

Is Invisalign Right for You? 

Invisalign is not right for those with severe dental issues. An example of this would be a tooth gap exceeding 0.6mm, or serious jaw misalignment problems.

In addition, Invisalign’s effectiveness depends on wearing the aligners as directed. Aside from removing them to eat or drink, Invisalign aligners should be worn almost constantly. 

For those with severe dental issues or who can’t follow directions (ex: young children), braces are a better option. 

Invisalign can also be expensive if insurance doesn’t cover it. If cost is a concern, there are a variety of affordable clear aligner alternatives to Invisalign. 

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Many of these are known as at-home aligners. At-home aligner treatment is monitored remotely. You don’t need to visit a dentist or orthodontist. This makes them not only more cost-effective but convenient as well.

Invisalign Costs & How to Get Started

There’s no single cost for Invisalign. Factors include treatment length and severity of the dental issues. It can also vary depending on the particular dental or orthodontic office.

According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, the national average cost of Invisalign is around $2,500 to $5,500.4 Some place the cost as high as $9,000.6 An oral care professional will be able to tell you what the cost will be for you.

Thankfully, many insurance plans now cover Invisalign, making it significantly less expensive. You may be able to pay with an HSA or FSA, as well as set up a payment plan with your dentist or orthodontist. 

Resources

Cardoso, Paula Coutinho. “Pain level between clear aligners and fixed appliances: a systematic review.Progress in orthodontics, vol. 21, no. 1, 2020. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

Cedar Walk Dentistry. “Who is a Good Candidate for Invisalign Treatment?www.cedarwalkdentistry.com.

Chang, Ming Jen. “Introduction to Invisalign® Smart Technology: Attachments Design, and Recall-Checks.Journal of Digital Orthodontics, pp. 80-94. http://iaoi.pro/.

Dudney, Thomas E. “Invisalign – How it Works & What it Costs?www.yourdentistryguide.com.

Ling, Paul H. “Clinical Limitations of Invisalign.Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, vol. 73, no. 3, 2007, pp. 263-266. http://www.cda-adc.ca/.

Personalized Orthodontics. “Better understanding the cost of Invisalign | What factors determine your price?porth.io.

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