Invisalign® is an innovative alternative to many traditional orthodontic methods, such as metal braces. This system of clear, removable aligners allows you to straighten your teeth in a more comfortable way. Plus, the aligners themselves are virtually invisible on the teeth – that way, others may not even realize you are undergoing treatment unless you tell them. Invisalign® is an innovative alternative to many traditional orthodontic methods, such as metal braces. This system of clear, removable aligners allows you to straighten your teeth in a more comfortable way. Plus, the aligners themselves are virtually invisible on the teeth – that way, others may not even realize you are undergoing treatment unless you tell them.
Metal Braces/Traditional Braces
These are the metal brackets and wires that most people picture when they hear the word “braces.” However, modern brackets are smaller and less noticeable than the notorious “metal-mouth” braces than many adults remember. Plus, new heat-activated archwires use your body heat to help teeth move more quickly and less painfully than in the past.
Pros: Least expensive type; colored bands give kids a chance to express themselves.
Cons: Most noticeable type of braces
Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces, except that they have tooth-colored or clear brackets that blend in to teeth. Some even use tooth-colored wires to be even less noticeable.
Pros: Less noticeable than metal braces; move teeth much faster than clear plastic aligners (Invisalign)
Cons: More expensive than metal braces; Brackets can stain easily if patients don’t care for them well
Lingual braces are the same as traditional metal braces, except that the brackets and wires are placed on the inside of teeth.
Pros: Invisible from outside
Cons: Difficult to clean; more expensive; not appropriate for severe cases; can be more uncomfortable at first; regular adjustments take longer and are more difficult than with traditional braces
Invisalign® consists of a series of 18 to 30 custom-made, mouth guard-like clear plastic aligners. The aligners are removable and are replaced every 2 weeks.
Pros: Almost invisible; Patients can eat and drink whatever they want
Cons: Will not work for serious dental problems; only available for adults and teens, not children; more expensive option; can be easily lost and costly to replace; treatment may potentially take longer
You may be somewhat familiar with how the Invisalign® treatment works, but we’d like to take you through each step of the treatment process, from consultation to confident smile. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or someone else, knowing more about the entire process can help you be more confident in your decision to choose Invisalign and enjoy a better smile every day.
1. TALK TO AN INVISALIGN PROVIDER
Your treatment begins after you select the experienced Invisalign-trained Provider that you feel most comfortable with and schedule your initial consultation. Because you will be interacting with this doctor on a regular basis, you may even want to personally meet with a few providers before deciding which one is right for you. This is an important medical and financial decision. That’s why choosing the right doctor and the right treatment plan is so essential. Keep in mind that not all dentists and orthodontists work with Invisalign, so it’s important to find a doctor who has received the proper Invisalign training and can truly evaluate your needs and determine how Invisalign can help you.
During the consultation, you and your doctor will discuss your case in detail to determine if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign. Invisalign now addresses many cases, from simple to more complex. Your doctor will determine if Invisalign is right for you. (Take the Smile Assessment ahead of time to see if you might be a good candidate.) This will also be your opportunity to ask any questions about Invisalign, costs, dental/orthodontic insurance, or any other concerns. See which doctors in your area are Invisalign Providers.
2. A CUSTOMIZED TREATMENT PLAN IS CREATED FOR YOU
Your doctor will take x-rays, pictures and impressions of your teeth, which Invisalign will use to create a digital 3-D image of them. From these images your doctor will map out a precise treatment plan, including the exact movements of your teeth, and tell you the approximate length of treatment. Using the same technology your doctor will be able to show you a virtual representation of how your teeth will move with each stage of treatment. While every case is unique to each patient, treatment typically takes approximately a year for adults. For teens the length of treatments is comparable to that of braces.
3. RECEIVE YOUR CUSTOM ALIGNERS BASED ON YOUR PERSONALIZED TREATMENT PLAN
Based on your individual treatment plan, a series of custom-made, clear aligners is then created specifically for you. These aligners are made of a smooth, comfortable, BPA-free plastic that won’t irritate your cheeks and gums like traditional metal braces often do. Simply wear them throughout the day, and remove them when you eat or to brush and floss your teeth. As you wear each set of aligners, your teeth gently and gradually begin to shift into place. And because they’re virtually invisible, most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them.
4. WEAR A NEW ALIGNER EVERY TWO WEEKS
Approximately every two weeks, you will begin wearing a new set of aligners, advancing you to the next stage of your treatment. To monitor your progress, you will also have occasional checkups with your doctor, usually only every six weeks or so. For best results and a timely outcome, you should wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, throughout your entire treatment. At every stage, you will be able to see how much closer you are to having the smile that reflects the real you.
5. REVEAL YOUR NEW SMILE & KEEP IT LOOKING GREAT
Congratulations! This is the time when you celebrate. You have reached the end of treatment and you will be smiling more than ever.
Once your treatment is complete, protect the beautiful new smile you have invested in. Ask your doctor if you will need retainers to keep your teeth in their new position.