Safest Teeth Whiteners
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Invisalign is the most established and trusted brand of FDA-approved clear aligners (invisible braces or invisible aligners). They are a great option for teenagers and adults who want to straighten their teeth comfortably and discreetly.
Unlike metal braces, Invisalign can be removed anytime for eating, cleaning, and brushing. They are also made of a patented thermoplastic material (called SmartTrack®). Invisalign claims this material is more accurate, comfortable, and discreet.
To start an Invisalign treatment, you’ll visit an Invisalign-certified dentist who will track your progress throughout the treatment course. This allows your provider to make changes any time, resulting in more accurate teeth alignment.
There is a slightly higher risk for error with at-home aligners because treatment is not monitored as closely. Also, remote aligners are only recommended for people with minor to moderate bite problems.
Invisalign braces do not touch your gums. They are trimmed to sit along your gum line in a ‘scalloped fashion.’ This design makes the trays more comfortable and less irritating. Most at-home aligners are not cut precisely, increasing the risk of irritation and discomfort.
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Invisalign can fix minor to severe bite issues, including:
You may be a better candidate for standard metal braces, especially if you have severe jaw alignment issues. Braces typically take longer than Invisalign but cost about the same.
If you only have minor to moderate crowding/gapped teeth, at-home aligners might work for you. These aligners are thousands cheaper than Invisalign and braces. However, not everyone is a candidate.
Invisalign treatment is a straightforward and hands-on process. It consists of the following steps:
To begin treatment, you'll need to set up a consultation with an Invisalign-certified doctor. The specialist will examine your teeth by taking dental imaging scans.
They will also examine certain factors to determine if you're a good candidate, including:
If you are a candidate for Invisalign, the next step is to take impressions and make your digital treatment plan. Your doctor will take the impressions to ensure the trays fit perfectly.
After you approve the treatment plan, your doctor will send the impressions to a dental technician. From there, they will make your first set of aligners.
You will receive your first set of aligners. You will not receive all the aligners necessary for your treatment because some Invisalign patients require mid-treatment adjustments.
You may need special attachments or tooth-colored buttons to help the trays effectively move your teeth. This is typically necessary for moderate to severe cases.
Each set of aligners should be worn for 22+ hours daily for best results. The aligners move your teeth in small increments, and you’ll switch them out every 1 to 3 weeks.
Invisalign treatment takes between 6 and 24 months. After treatment, you’ll buy a custom Vivera® retainer to keep your teeth straight.
Invisalign stands out in the industry for a few reasons.
The aligners are made of SmartTrack® material, making them more comfortable and easier to take out. They are also more ‘invisible’ than other leading aligner brands.
The consultation and treatment plan process is also very advanced. Your Invisalign provider will use an iTero Element® scanner to take 6,000 images of your mouth per second. This tool results in fewer impression rejections and better-fitting aligners.
In addition, your doctor will use Invisalign’s ClinCheck® software to map out your smile. This technology uses mapping software to help calculate the right amount of force for every tooth. The tool ensures your teeth move in the right order at the right time.
Invisalign also uses SmartForce® Attachments. These small, tooth-colored handles (or buttons) are fixed to your teeth.
The aligners attach to these buttons to help with precise tooth movements. Invisalign can fix more complex orthodontic issues with the use of attachments.
Your doctor will assess your progress during routine appointments and make adjustments as necessary. This is why you only receive one set of aligners at a time.
With at-home aligners, you’ll receive all of them at once, making it more difficult to request changes. The Invisalign treatment process ensures you get a comprehensive treatment for the best results.
Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.
Invisalign should not hurt (as long as the trays fit properly). You may experience discomfort during the first few days of starting a new set. However, the pain is typically mild and only noticeable while eating and chewing.
Invisalign will not damage your teeth. But make sure you clean the aligners a few times daily to prevent plaque and bacteria build-up.
ZocDoc can help you find a dentist in your area that:
Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $8,000. The length of treatment depends on your plan but typically ranges from 6 to 24 months.
Invisalign is often partially covered by insurance (if orthodontics is included in your plan). Check with your provider to determine if you qualify or not.
Another way to pay for Invisalign treatment is with an HSA/FSA. You can also set up a payment plan with your Invisalign doctor, where you’ll pay a downpayment and make monthly payments until treatment is complete.
Some teeth straightening alternatives to Invisalign include at-home aligners (minor cases), other in-office aligners (ClearCorrect), and traditional braces.
|Cost||$3,000 to $8,000||$1,999 to $2,399||$3,300 (on average)||$2,399 to $1,595|
|How to Start||Visit a certified Invisalign doctor||Order an at-home impression kit||Visit a certified CandidPro provider||Order an at-home impression kit|
|Financing Options||Depends on provider||Starting at $70/month||Depends on provider||Starting at $55/month|
|Treatment Time||12 to 18 months||4 to 6 months||4 to 12 months||4 to 10 months|
|Treatable Cases||Mild to severe||Mild, some moderate||Most mild to severe||Mild, some moderate|
|Progress Monitoring||In-person visits every 6 to 8 weeks||Remote||Remote with a licensed orthodontist||Remote|
Read below to compare and determine which treatment is right for you:
Byte is a brand of at-home aligners that costs between $1,999 and $2,399. Treatment is monitored remotely and takes between 3 and 6 months (on average). Invisalign costs up to $5,000 more than byte, and treatment is longer (between 6 and 24 months).
Candid costs $3,300 on average. The company provides detailed care and has advanced technology for remote monitoring. They only work with highly qualified orthodontists when designing and monitoring your treatment.
Candid only requires one in-person visit for the initial consultation and a final post-treatment check-up. The rest is monitored remotely with your assigned Candid orthodontist.
Invisalign aligners also use buttons and/or elastics to treat more severe cases. These are small hooks that attach to the tooth surfaces. They act as anchors for interarch bands that apply additional pressure to gradually reposition the jaw, providing more precise results. Candid doesn’t offer buttons.
Candid treatment takes between 4 and 12 months, whereas Invisalign can take up to 18 months.
ALIGNERCO is one of the most affordable remote aligners available. They cost between $870 and $1,070. Although cheaper, this brand does not offer extensive remote monitoring, which may affect the quality of care.
Invisalign treatment is more intensive and accurate. However, ALIGNERCO is a great option if you are on a budget and only have minor orthodontic issues.
NewSmile is a newer at-home aligner company that offers the most affordable treatment $1,495 to $1,595. Similar to Invisalign, NewSmile aligners are scalloped to rest along your gum line, providing a more comfortable fit.
SmileDirectClub is the most well-known brand of remote aligners, while Invisalign is the most popular in-office aligner. SmileDirect treatment costs $2,050.
ClearCorrect is an advanced aligner system that uses digital technologies to treat various types of misalignment, ranging from simple to severe. Similar to Invisalign, ClearCorrect is an in-office aligner that requires in-person monitoring. Treatment costs between $1,500 and $8,000.
Traditional metal braces are typically necessary over Invisalign in severe teeth/jaw misalignment cases. Children and teens may require braces if they need headgear, space maintainers, or palate expanders. These add-on treatments are not possible with Invisalign.
Here are the pros and cons of Invisalign:
There are a variety of advantages to getting Invisalign aligners. These include:
Possible cons of Invisalign are:
According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, the average cost of Invisalign is around $2,500 to $5,500. Some place the cost as high as $9,000.5 An oral care professional can tell you what the cost will be.
Thankfully, many insurance plans now cover Invisalign, making it significantly less expensive. You may be able to pay with an HSA or FSA and set up a payment plan with your dentist or orthodontist.
There’s no single cost for Invisalign. The cost can depend on factors including:
Invisalign is not right for those with severe dental issues. An example 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 several affordable alternatives to Invisalign.
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