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What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a type of orthodontic treatment. It helps to achieve a straighter and more beautiful smile. Invisalign is often used for patients who have mild to moderate teeth misalignment. 

Invisalign braces or invisible retainer isolated on white background

Invisalign overbite correction and Invisalign underbite treatment are both popular options for patients.

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

There are both pros and cons of Invisalign treatment:

Pros

Comfort. Invisalign is more comfortable than metal braces. There are no wires or metal brackets, so you don’t have to worry about cutting your mouth. Invisalign braces are smooth and won’t irritate your mouth. However, some aligners do have rough or sharp edges that require dental adjustments.

More Attractive. Invisalign braces are clear, so you don’t have any noticeable metal in your mouth. Most people won’t notice that you’re wearing clear aligners. That means patients can smile without feeling self-conscious about their braces. Many adults prefer clear aligner treatment for these reasons.

Accessible. Invisalign treatment is a popular option for straightening teeth. Clear aligners are also easily accessible and convenient. 

Removable. Invisalign trays can be removed for eating, brushing your teeth, and flossing. This cannot be done with metal braces. Invisalign treatment allows patients to eat the foods they want and maintain good oral hygiene. This helps lower the risk of developing gum disease and cavities during the treatment process.

Minimal Maintenance. Invisalign treatment requires little maintenance. The trays are easy to freshen up by using a toothbrush and toothpaste to scrub them. Brushing them for a minute or so eliminates any stains. This process is only required every other day.

Cons

Expensive. Invisalign clear plastic aligners may be considered expensive. They are typically not covered by dental insurance. That means patients can pay anywhere from $3,500 to $8,00 for treatment.

Attachments. Invisalign attachments are becoming more popular. These attachments are tooth-colored filling material ridges that fix to your teeth like the metal brackets of standard braces do. The attachments click into the clear aligners for a better fit and help shift the teeth into proper alignment. Attachments make Invisalign aligners slightly more noticeable. 

Required to Wear Them 20 Hours Per Day. Invisalign aligners must be worn a minimum of 22 hours per day. They should only be removed for eating and maintaining oral health.

Occasional Discomfort. Wearing new Invisalign trays can be uncomfortable and even painful at first. Some patients use a pain reliever to help with this discomfort while their teeth adjust to each new set.

Inconvenient. Invisalign aligners can be inconvenient for some patients. They must be removed for eating. Some people may find this embarrassing when they go out to eat. You must also brush your teeth after each meal before placing them back into your mouth. That means you’ll brush your teeth several times a day.

Invisalign vs. Metal Braces

Both Invisalign and traditional metal braces work to straighten teeth and improve oral health. However, the treatment process for each procedure is different.

The main difference between Invisalign aligners and traditional braces is the process of straightening your teeth. 

Determining which treatment is best for you depends on your needs and preferences. If you want to straighten your teeth for a beautiful smile, speak to your dentist to discuss treatment options.

Invisalign 

Invisalign clear aligners give patients the option to straighten teeth discreetly. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible. The aligner trays are made from BPA-free plastic to subtly and slowly move the teeth into place. BPA-free plastic is smooth and comfortable, so wearing the aligner trays is easy.

Rather than using a mold, Invisalign uses high-quality 3D printing of your teeth to produce aligner traces that fit your mouth perfectly.

Metal Braces

When people think about braces, most will imagine traditional metal braces. Metal brackets fix onto the enamel of each tooth. Metal wires fit between the brackets to help mold and shape the teeth with time. 

Some patients prefer to have fun with their metal braces and choose from various colors of the rubber elastics that hold the wire in the brackets. Colored elastics are more popular among teenagers.

How Does Invisalign Work: Treatment Plan 

Invisalign uses a set of aligners to push the teeth into proper alignment. The align technology allows your orthodontist to produce a step-by-step plan for your Invisalign treatment, so you know what to expect. 

The orthodontist will produce x-rays and impressions of your teeth using 3D printing. They will then use the 3D image to map the precise tooth movement required for straightening. 

Once the aligner treatment plan is set, your first set of new aligners will be custom fit to your mouth. You’ll receive a new set of aligners every couple of weeks until the Invisalign treatment ends.

The clear aligners will gradually move the teeth into proper alignment. However, the trays must be worn for at least 22 hours a day. The trays are easily removable, so patients can practice and maintain proper oral hygiene. They can also continue brushing and flossing as they usually would.

While both arches should be treated in most cases, it’s possible to treat your bottom teeth or top teeth only with Invisalign.

Invisalign FAQs

How do I take care of my Invisalign aligners?

The best way to take care of and clean your Invisalign aligners is to use the Invisalign cleaning system. This cleaning system is available online or from your Invisalign provider. You can also use a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your aligners. 

Never use hot water on your Invisalign clear braces. It could permanently damage the thermoplastic material. Instead, rinse your aligners in lukewarm water.

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

The treatment time of Invisalign braces depends on various factors. These include how complex your case is and how often you will need to wear Invisalign aligners.

Your orthodontist will determine precisely how long your Invisalign treatment will take based on your specific needs and requirements. On average, Invisalign treatment time varies from 12 to 18 months. However, you are likely to start seeing results within weeks.

How much does Invisalign treatment cost?

The cost of Invisalign varies. The typical price of Invisalign treatment is often a bit higher than metal braces. The average cost is between $3,500 and $8,000. Speak to your orthodontist or dentist for a better estimate of the price. Factors to consider are the extent of your teeth misalignment and how many new aligner sets you require throughout treatment.

Read more about Clear Aligners 

Resources

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/

How does Invisalign treatment work?, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works

Living with Invisalign, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works/living-with-invisalign

Frequently asked questions, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/frequently-asked-questions

How much does Invisalign treatment cost?, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/invisalign-cost

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Updated on: October 20, 2020
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Ellie Swain
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Lara Coseo
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