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Invisalign is a popular brand of in-office clear aligners. The aligners are clear, plastic trays custom-designed to fit your teeth.
Clear aligners can treat many dental issues, including crooked or crowded teeth, a misaligned bite, and uneven spacing. They are removable for eating, drinking, cleaning, and attending special social events.
Many people choose Invisalign over traditional braces for the esthetics, comfort, and quicker treatment time. People with Invisalign wear their aligners for an average of 4 months less than those with braces. This may be attributed to the fact that Invisalign can’t treat severe malocclusion.1
With Invisalign, you’ll wear the clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours daily for 6 to 18 months. Treatment time depends on the severity of your issues.
You have to wear your Invisalign as directed by your provider for the best results. If you don’t, you can face problems like:
Invisalign refinements are minor alterations made at the end of treatment. If your initial treatment didn’t achieve your desired goals, you might receive a set of Invisalign refinement trays.
Invisalign refinements are necessary when your teeth have not made the adjustments you or your dentist wanted. You may need them if:
A need for refinements can result from not wearing your Invisalign for the required 22 hours a day. However, it may also be that your originally planned treatment time wasn’t enough to achieve your cosmetic or oral health goals.
Invisalign refinements aren’t a bad thing. Getting them doesn’t mean your treatment has failed or you did something wrong.
Many orthodontists report between 70 and 80% of their patients require refinements.2
Extending your treatment time can be frustrating, but it’s worth considering. Over 78% of people report an improvement after their first refinement.3
ZocDoc can help you find a dentist in your area that:
Your orthodontist will assess your teeth’s progress towards the end of treatment. They may rescan your teeth and bite to evaluate whether you are ready to stop wearing your aligners.
If they determine you need continued treatment, they might recommend refinements. They’ll make you a new tray to wear, similar to your previous aligners. You’ll need to wear them 20 to 22 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You might need one or more refinements to achieve your treatment goals. You’ll continue to visit your orthodontist for check-ups and to receive your new aligner trays. Once you and your dentist are satisfied with the results, you can end the treatment.
How long your refinements take depends on how close you are to completing your treatment. Typically, people with Invisalign will add around 3 to 6 months to their treatment time with refinements.
Even with refinements, you will likely wear Invisalign for a shorter time than traditional braces. In addition, studies show Invisalign causes less pain and soreness than fixed appliances like braces.4
Once your refinements are complete, you’ll move to the final stage of the Invisalign process. Your orthodontist will give you an Invisalign retainer to wear.
You have to wear your retainer for 22 hours a day for the first 6 weeks, just like your aligners. After 6 weeks, you’ll wear them only at night (indefinitely).
Wearing a retainer may be annoying, but studies show it can effectively maintain the changes you’ve achieved with Invisalign.5 Generally, you’ll want to continue wearing it for the rest of your life. If you don’t, your teeth or bite may shift back into misalignment.
Invisalign refinement costs vary based on several factors:
Some Invisalign doctors will include refinements in the initial treatment cost. Others may consist of one or two free rounds, with extra costs for additional rounds. Consult your orthodontist about their pricing.
The cost of Invisalign also depends on what type of treatment you choose:
The treatment you choose will depend on the complexity of the issues you’re treating. Each type may include a certain number of projected refinements in the cost.
Your Invisalign doctor may take different types of payment for clear aligner treatment. Consult them to determine if they accept the following options:
Some dental insurance plans may cover part of your Invisalign treatment, especially for health purposes.
Check your plan’s details and speak with your doctor to see if you can use your insurance for Invisalign.
Many orthodontists accept payment plans for Invisalign treatment. You’ll be able to pay a much lower monthly cost over time rather than paying in full upfront.
Many employers offer HSAs or FSAs. These two savings accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax money for medical expenses. You may be able to use your HSA or FSA to pay for your Invisalign.
CareCredit is a healthcare credit card you can apply for when you need assistance paying for a medical procedure. It’s beneficial when you’re paying out-of-pocket for an expense not covered by your insurance.
If your dental insurance doesn’t cover Invisalign, CareCredit may be an option.
Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.
Starting the refinement process is simple. You’ll attend a scheduled appointment with your Invisalign doctor toward the end of treatment.
Your doctor will evaluate you, possibly taking a scan of your teeth and bite. These procedures will help them determine whether you need a refinement. If so, they will give you a new, adjusted tray to wear.
You may have only one round of refinements, or you may have several. Your doctor will advise you on how many rounds you need. Once finished, you will move on to the retainer stage of treatment.
While most people who use Invisalign require refinements, you can do your best to prevent the need for them.
The best way to avoid Invisalign refinements and keep your treatment on schedule is to follow your doctor’s instructions closely.
Our top tips for avoiding Invisalign refinements include:
Following the tips above may decrease your chances of needing Invisalign refinements. Research shows careful planning from your dentist can also make a difference.6
However, refinement aligners are a common part of the Invisalign process. Getting them doesn’t mean you’ve failed to care for your teeth.
Invisalign refinements are adjustments dentists make to your Invisalign towards the end of treatment. They are additional trays that extend your treatment by an average of 3 to 6 months.
Most people require at least one Invisalign refinement. It can result from not wearing your aligners properly, but it can also happen when your teeth don’t move as predicted. It’s not bad to get a refinement, nor is it your fault.
Many orthodontists include the cost of one or more refinements in the total price of Invisalign treatment. You can use insurance, HSAs and FSAs, payment plans, and CareCredits to pay for your refinements.
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