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Many people are hesitant to straighten their teeth with traditional metal braces due to two main drawbacks associated with the treatment: discomfort and visibility. Fortunately, Invisalign offers an excellent alternative that can address crooked, crowded, and misaligned teeth quickly, comfortably, and inconspicuously. Invisalign utilizes a series of clear, removable aligner trays to gradually adjust the position of the teeth and help provide you or your child a beautiful new smile. Dr. Ben Chan, our experienced orthodontist, can determine if Invisalign may be right for you or your child’s needs during your initial consultation.

Invisalign can be an excellent way to straighten teeth discreetly and comfortably.

Invisalign can address many of the same dental concerns that traditional metal braces can; however, this technique is not appropriate for everyone. If you have additional questions about Invisalign, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

What Is Invisalign®?

A fully customized treatment, Invisalign is designed to straighten teeth using a succession of trays created with the help of 3D-imaging technology. Each aligner adjusts the teeth one step closer to their final position one week at a time, at which point you will move on to the next aligner in the series. Transparent and removable, the trays offer a completely different

The aligner trays can be removed so you may eat, drink, brush, and floss, resulting in oral hygiene maintenance that is more simple and straightforward. When you are not eating or cleaning your teeth, you should wear the Invisalign trays at all times to optimize results. Most patients can complete treatment in about 9-15 months, though your experience may vary.

What Concerns Can Invisalign® Correct?

Many of the same conditions that traditional metal braces address can also be improved with Invisalign clear aligners. Issues like gaps, crowding, overbite, underbite, crossbite, and other types of misalignment usually can be corrected. In certain cases, Invisalign may not be right for your unique needs, and our orthodontist will help you select the right orthodontic method for you.

Invisalign® vs. Braces

Traditional braces and Invisalign are both popular treatment options that share the same ultimate goal: to resolve orthodontic irregularities and to help give the teeth a straighter appearance. However, they use very different methodologies to accomplish these goals. Braces are composed of a system of brackets and wires that are securely placed on the teeth, while Invisalign utilizes a series of clear teeth aligners that are made of a flexible plastic material. One of the major differences between Invisalign and braces is that the Invisalign system is much more discreet, offering a way to resolve orthodontic concerns without having to worry about how braces may be affecting smile aesthetics while the treatment progresses. Furthermore, Invisalign has no metal parts that can rub on your gums or cheeks. You may also require fewer visits to the orthodontist for adjustments when compared to braces, giving you more free time and causing less hassle. There is also less risk of emergency visits due to breakage of wires or brackets.

With all of this in mind, it is important to note that braces may be the more suitable option in some cases. Patients who have more severe misalignment and higher degrees of bite irregularity may require traditional braces to achieve the best results; however, advances in orthodontics have made it possible to produce braces that are less noticeable than the metallic braces of the past, providing patients with a way to correct their concerns with less noticeable brackets and wires. Dr. Chan will evaluate your oral structures and help you determine whether Invisalign® or braces is the more ideal option for your goals.

Does Invisalign® Treatment Hurt?

Unlike traditional braces, there are no metal parts that can pinch or rub uncomfortably on the soft, sensitive tissues of the mouth. As a result, most patients find the Invisalign process to be far more comfortable than teeth-straightening methods that require wires and brackets. You may experience some mild soreness when using a new aligner for the first time with each set, but this effect should fade within a day or two. If you’re noticing more significant pain, talk to our team and we can help you find a solution.

How Do I Clean the Aligners?

One of the best advantages of using Invisalign is the ease of maintenance. Aligners can be removed, and should be taken out before eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. When you take out the trays, simply use a designated toothbrush to scrub the trays, inside and out, with a gentle liquid hand soap in warm (not hot) running water. Our dental hygienists will provide other tips and tricks to keeping your aligners clean and healthy while you use them.

How Long Will Invisalign® Treatment Take?

While the rough guess is anywhere from around nine months to a little over a year, each person’s treatment plan will be completely customized. You can help speed up the process by wearing your Invisalign trays consistently and as much as possible, ideally 20-22 hours per day. You should be wearing them at all times that you are not eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing, including at night.

Invisalign® Teen

For teenagers and adolescents, the prospect of having to undergo orthodontic treatment (particularly if it involves noticeable braces) is often a daunting one. Fortunately, Invisalign’s discreet method of correcting common orthodontic concerns is not solely designed for adult patients. Invisalign® Teen is a variation of the standard Invisalign treatment that is distinctively made for teenage patients. It works the same way as traditional Invisalign® treatment—using clear, removable aligners to progressively straighten the teeth—but it is designed for an adolescent patient’s unique needs and stage of orthodontic development. With Invisalign® Teen, patients can improve the appearance of their teeth and continue smiling brightly and confidently while attending school, social activities, and other events!

Are There Alternatives to Invisalign®?

There are a variety of potential alternatives to Invisalign for individuals who may not be ideal candidates for the procedure, as well as for those who may simply desire a different kind of orthodontic treatment option. Traditional braces may be recommended for patients who have more severe cases of teeth misalignment, crowding, or bite irregularities. While braces may not be quite as invisible as Invisalign®, our practice offers advanced types of braces that are less noticeable during the treatment process, yet just as effective. Some patients may even benefit from a treatment that does not require ongoing orthodontic treatment at all: porcelain veneers. These custom restorations can essentially “hide” areas of the teeth affected by gaps and misalignment. Porcelain veneers are designed to look like natural teeth and can significantly enhance smile aesthetics.

During your consultation with our orthodontist, Dr. Chan can talk more with you about the many available options that can provide effective treatment for orthodontic concerns.

How Much Does Invisalign® Cost?

The price of Invisalign ranges depending on the unique characteristics of the patient, their treatment plan, and their cosmetic goals. When we evaluate your oral structures and develop your Invisalign program, we will go over the cost of treatment so you understand all the details. On average, the cost of treatment with Invisalign is comparable to the cost of traditional braces. Many factors are taken into consideration when quoting a fee at your consultation, such as the number of arches treated and the severity of the case. We will discuss all of this information with you so you can feel well-informed about your options.

To find out if this method is right for you, contact us today. We can answer questions and help you schedule a consultation with Dr. Chan.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Invisalign®

How noticeable are Invisalign® aligners? 

The lack of noticeability afforded by Invisalign® aligners is one of the most prominent benefits of this orthodontic treatment. With the use of thin, clear plastic aligners and no need for wires and brackets to shift the teeth into the desired position, Invisalign® is almost completely invisible while they are on the teeth. 

What is Invisalign® made of? 

The Invisalign® aligners are composed of an advanced thermoplastic material known as SmartTrack®. The use of this material produces aligners that are extraordinarily flexible and thin. Ultimately, the aligners are so translucent and pliable that they can be virtually invisible on the teeth while creating the most comfortable fit possible. 

How will Invisalign® affect my speech? 

It is very common for patients to notice a slight lisp at first when they wear the initial set of aligners. This effect should diminish within a few days—the mouth just needs a bit of time to adjust to the appliances. 

What can I eat and drink with Invisalign®

Great news: you will likely not have to make too many adjustments to your diet (if any at all) while being treated with Invisalign®! Since patients are encouraged to remove the aligners while they eat, dietary restrictions are typically not necessary for this treatment. However, there are some precautions with certain foods and drinks that should be taken into account. When consuming foods and beverages such as berries, coffee, soda, and others that contain staining agents, it is best to not only remove the aligners before consumption, but also to immediately brush your teeth afterward. Failure to brush (or at least thoroughly rinse) your teeth after this can make the aligners more susceptible to lingering residue and increase the chance that they will stain, ultimately becoming more noticeable on the teeth. With that in mind, it is also important to remember to immediately place the aligners back on the teeth after brushing/rinsing in order to ensure they are being worn at least 22 hours each day. 

Is Invisalign® covered by insurance? 

Invisalign® is often covered, at least partially, under dental insurance plans that offer benefits for orthodontic treatment. A member of our team can talk with you about your current insurance policy and assist you with determining whether coverage for Invisalign® is available. 

Do I need to wear a retainer after Invisalign®

In most cases, patients will need to wear a retainer after their Invisalign® treatment. This removable oral appliance is a critical step in the treatment process because it helps the teeth maintain their new and improved alignment. Without the use of a retainer, the risk of the teeth shifting back into their former position is greater. How long one will need to wear the retainer is dependent on their unique needs; however, many individuals are eventually able to scale back the length of time they need to keep the retainer in place throughout the day. In fact, after several months, many patients only need to wear the retainer at nighttime while they sleep.