Although many patients need orthodontic treatment, teenage and adult patients commonly prefer to avoid metal braces, if possible. With Invisalign®, men and women can achieve straighter teeth with a more subtle treatment. Invisalign® uses customized clear trays that can help shift the teeth into the desired position, addressing multiple issues such as crossbites, overbites, underbites, and misaligned teeth.
- How Does Invisalign® Work?
- Invisalign® vs. Braces
- Invisalign® Process
- Invisalign® Teen
- Invisalign® Care
- Invisalign® Cost
- Invisalign® Alternatives
- Invisalign® FAQs
How Does Invisalign® Work?
Invisalign® improves upon traditional methods of straightening teeth with metal wires, instead utilizing removable, transparent aligner trays to shift the teeth into a more ideal position. Patients receive new aligners every two to three weeks, with each tray in the series progressively working to correct teeth and jaw misalignment. The projected movements of your teeth are mapped out accurately and efficiently by your orthodontist’s treatment plan, allowing Invisalign® aligners to apply the correct amount of force at the right time. Treatment is typically optimized when patients get into the habit of wearing their aligners at all times, except when eating, brushing, or flossing. This can accelerate the Invisalign® system and help ensure your treatment remains on track.
Invisalign® vs. Braces
The most obvious benefit of Invisalign® is that the aligner trays can go unnoticed while you are wearing them due to their clear appearance. Compared to traditional orthodontics, such as metal braces, Invisalign® aligners offer some other important advantages, including:
- Ability to be removed for brushing and flossing the teeth, as well as eating and drinking
- Often a more affordable form of orthodontic treatment
- More comfortable than metal braces – no wires or brackets to cause irritation
- Generally fewer follow-up visits required throughout the treatment process
- Shorter treatment time – many patients complete the process in a year or less
In some cases, Invisalign® may not be the best choice to address severe orthodontic issues. However, our dentists at Dental Professionals of Fair Lawn offer other discreet alternatives to braces that may be better-suited to your needs and goals. We can walk you through your treatment options during your consultation to find the most ideal system for your concerns and lifestyle.
What is the Invisalign® Process Like?
To create customized aligner trays for you, our experienced orthodontist and dentists will use a 3D-imaging computer program. The program will create a series of custom-crafted trays that are designed to gradually straighten your teeth. The number of trays and length of time required for treatment will vary depending on your needs. Each tray must be worn 20 to 22 hours per day on average, but your dentist will instruct you how long to wear each tray before switching to the next tray in the series. Periodically, you may be asked to come in for a quick check-up in order to monitor your progress. These appointments are generally fairly brief, and are significantly less frequent than regular check-ups required for traditional metal braces. Overall, Invisalign® can help you achieve a healthier, straighter smile in a convenient and discreet manner.
Similar to Invisalign®, Invisalign Teen® can allow younger patients to discreetly straighten their teeth. Your teenager won’t have to worry about having braces in their yearbook photos or at the prom, and you won’t need to worry about making sure your child is avoiding foods that traditionally cannot be eaten with metal braces. Teenagers can also maintain good oral hygiene since the clear aligners are removable, making regular brushing and flossing possible throughout their treatment. Parents also find that Invisalign Teen® has an additional benefit for lost or broken aligners— Invisalign Teen® users can request up to six replacement aligners at no additional cost (please note that this benefit is only available for Invisalign Teen®, and does not apply to Invisalign®).
How Do I Clean Invisalign® Aligners?
Conveniently, Invisalign® aligners require very little maintenance to remain in good condition. To clean each set, you can gently brush the aligner with toothpaste and lukewarm water. Never use hot water on your aligners, as high temperatures can warp the plastic. We also discourage smoking while wearing the aligners to avoid the possibility of staining. Lastly, it’s important to brush your teeth after every meal to prevent food residue, such as blueberries, from discoloring the clear Invisalign® trays.
How Much Does Invisalign® Cost?
Invisalign® is priced according to an individual’s unique orthodontic and oral health needs; therefore, the cost of treatment generally varies from patient to patient. Expenses are usually informed by:
- The amount of tooth realignment necessary
- The number of aligners required to achieve your goals
- Whether certain costs are covered by insurance
- The length of treatment
At Dental Professionals of Fair Lawn, we accept dental financing through CareCredit® or ALPHAEON™ Credit, two trusted healthcare lending companies that each offer highly flexible payment plans to accommodate virtually any budget. For additional information about the cost of treatment at our practice, click here to learn about Invisalign® costs.
Are There Any Alternatives to Invisalign®?
If Invisalign® is not the best treatment to straighten your smile, our cosmetic dentists offer alternative orthodontic systems that can still address your concerns while remaining discreet and unobtrusive to your daily life. Like the name suggests, Six Month Smiles® is an accelerated teeth-aligning process that is capable of closing gaps and straightening crooked teeth in as little as six months. It utilizes clear brackets and tooth-colored wires to provide an inconspicuous orthodontic treatment, typically proving most successful for adult patients who have mild to moderate alignment concerns. Patients also have the option of Damon™ self-ligating braces, which offer a more comfortable method of straightening the teeth. Utilizing a built-in mechanism that can keep wiring in place without elastic or metal bands, Damon™ eliminates friction and the need for tightening. This can allow teeth to move more freely and substantially reduce the treatment time required to achieve the desired outcome— sometimes, by more than half a year. We understand that there are many different systems available to help you straighten your teeth, and our experienced dental professionals can guide you in determining the best treatment for your concerns.
Additional Invisalign® FAQs
Does Invisalign® Hurt?
While the initial feeling of wearing a new set of aligners can take some getting used to, patients usually acclimate to their Invisalign® trays quickly. Invisalign® is designed to guide teeth into a straighter positioning using gentle force, and the mild pressure applied by the aligners is usually a sign that treatment is working. Moreover, patients typically appreciate the system’s ability to shift the teeth into the proper location without the irritation of metal wiring and brackets poking the gum tissue.
How long does Invisalign® take to straighten teeth?
Most patients are able to achieve straighter teeth within 9 to 12 months, although in some cases patients complete their treatment in as little as six months. You’ll have a better idea of your treatment timeline once your teeth and bite are examined by an orthodontist.
What are Invisalign® aligners made of?
Invisalign® aligners are made out of a flexible yet form-stable thermoplastic material called SmartTrack®, which was developed specifically for the Invisalign® system. They are gluten-free, FDA-approved, and custom-designed to fit comfortably over your teeth.
Will wearing Invisalign® aligners affect my speech?
At first, your aligners may slightly alter your speech by producing a minor lisp. However, this is usually temporary as you grow accustomed to speaking with your aligners in. As you get used to wearing Invisalign® aligners, your speech should return to normal. For most patients, this acclimation period only takes a couple of days.
Do I have to wear a retainer after Invisalign®?
Yes, wearing a retainer after you complete Invisalign® is essential to keeping your teeth straight and aligned. Forgetting to wear a retainer after any type of orthodontic treatment is the primary reason why some adults require braces in the future. Fortunately, most patients only need to wear their retainers while sleeping, so this should not cause much interference to your daily life.
Can I drink while wearing my Invisalign® aligners?
We suggest removing your aligners before drinking any beverage besides room temperature water. Most drinks, especially sodas and alcohol, contain staining agents and sugar that can cause your aligners to take on a yellow tint over time, potentially compromising the inconspicuousness of Invisalign® treatment. Our dentists recommend avoiding the risk altogether by taking your aligners out beforehand. You may also want to refrain from drinking cold or hot water while wearing aligners, as these temperatures can distort the thermoplastic material.
For more information about Invisalign®, or to schedule a consultation to see if it is right for you, please contact Dental Professionals of Fair Lawn today.