Invisalign is an orthodontic system that uses aligners. What it means is that it doesn’t use braces and wires like traditional orthodontic treatment appliances. It uses something that’s removable.
It’s a clear plastic that is elasticated and it puts pressure to allow the teeth to move into a more desirable position. So, the patient wears Invisalign on their teeth for one week and within that one week, it will move all of the teeth that it’s designed to move about 1/4 of one millimeter. So, you basically go through a sequence of different aligners over a period of time changing them every week and they slowly move your teeth into a far more favorable or attractive position.
As we said earlier, it’s a removable appliance. What we mean by that is that the patient can take it out and put it back in again. And this is very different to traditional braces which of course are glued onto the teeth, cannot be removed by the patient and there are wires here and little elastics and other tricks and techniques that are used to move the teeth. So, it’s a completely different process.
Do You Need Invisalign?
One of the problems that we often encounter from patients in our dental clinics is about crowded teeth and the questions that they usually ask us are is there any problems with me having crowded teeth or is it just an aesthetic thing.
The implications are, yes, for your smile it would be nicer to have straight teeth, but also there is a problem with having crowded teeth and cleaning them. So if your teeth are crossed over, you might find it harder to floss them, brush them, and use that interdental brushes to clean in between them.
So if you are someone who has crowded teeth in the mouth, you are most probably a candidate for Invisalign. You can consult your dentist to confirm whether you need Invisalign or not. And also they can be costlier than the conventional orthodontic appliances. Please keep that in mind before talking to your orthodontist.
When someone comes to the dental clinic with crowded teeth there are generally two routes that dentists can take. One is the more conventional way, which is fixed braces or train tracks and sometimes the dentists do what’s called functional orthodontics, which is widening with inside braces and then train-tracks afterward. The second way involves the use of Invisalign, which are clear aligners.
Invisalign is a very popular option with patients because they often ask for invisible braces and that’s basically what they are. So they are clear aligners, we call them, which are fitted to your teeth exactly and you change them every couple of weeks. and they’re a little bit smaller, so they correct the little discrepancies in your mouth, that’s they’re really easy to do.
How Exactly Does Invisalign Work?
The Invisalign system is changing the way orthodontists straighten teeth. Its a comfortable, removable, and almost an invisible alternative to braces. The Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear aligners that gradually move teeth into position.
Every single aligner is unique with tens of thousands produced and shipped every day.
The aligners are designed to be worn 22 hours a day, so you wear them all night, all day and they’re only removed for cleaning of the teeth and the gums and for chewing your food during your meal times. So, as we said, ideally this is a 22-hours per day wear, and over the course of a period of months, the teeth will move into a better position. So that’s how Invisalign works.
How To Get An Invisalign Done? The Appointments and The Process
The process starts at the doctor’s office with a physical impression or a digital scan of your teeth that is used to create a 3d model. Then that data is transferred to the dental technicians at Invisalign labs who work with your dentist to create a digital treatment plan based on your doctor’s prescription. The proposed plan is then sent back to the doctor for review, modification, and approval.
The data from the approved treatment plan then move to the automated plant at Invisalign where each individual aligner is custom fabricated. Over eighty-thousand aligners are made, tracked, and shipped each day to the doctor’s offices. From the first consultation to getting your set of aligners to start the treatment, it may take anywhere between four to six weeks.
You’ll receive a series of liners to change at home every two weeks and visit your doctor roughly every two months for a checkup.
A lot of adults tend to go for this treatment because if they’re speaking at work, doing presentations and things like that, they don’t generally want to have thick train tracks. They would like something that’s very discreet and it doesn’t vary, it doesn’t alter their speech at all and they just feel more confident that they’re straightening their teeth in a more subtle way.
The difference between appointments for conventional braces and Invisalign is that you don’t have to come as often when you have Invisalign.
So if you had conventional braces you would have to come and see the Orthodontist every four weeks. If you have Invisalign, it can be eight to ten weeks before you have to come in. As mentioned earlier, the dentist gives you your set of aligners to take home and you change them yourself every fortnight and go for regular check up with the orthodontist. The orthodontist will just keep an eye on you and make sure that it’s all going correctly.
So patients often ask how long the treatments actually going to take and the answer they usually get is, it’s different for every person. So if you have mild malocclusion corrections it could be as little as six months. But if it’s a case of complete orthodontic correction, that’s going to take a long time. In such cases, it could be a couple of years.
Invisalign Cleaning and Guidelines for Use
Here are a few tips that will help you keep the Invisalign aligners clean, and the treatment, efficient.
Remember to clean your aligners before wearing them. Wash your hands with soap and water and handle only one aligner at a time.
Clean both the inside and the outside of each aligner. Each aligner is marked with a ‘U’ or an ‘L’ for upper and lower followed by the stage number.
To Insert your aligner gently push it over your front teeth and then use your fingertips to apply gentle pressure over your molars until the aligner snaps into place. Remember, your aligners only work if they’re in your mouth, so wearing them consistently will keep your treatment moving forward.
Since the aligners are virtually invisible no one needs to know you’re straightening your teeth and you can drink cool water while wearing them. If you’re eating or drinking anything other than water you’ll need to remove your aligners to protect them from damage. it’s also a great opportunity for good oral hygiene.
Ideally, you should brush or floss after every meal or snack but if you don’t have a toothbrush with you rinse your mouth and clean your aligners by holding them under warm running water.
Always store your aligners in a case to prevent loss and damage. Enjoy food with friends, take photos with confidence.
Invisalign doesn’t interfere with your social life the way braces can. Aligner removal is simple. Use your fingertip on the inside of your back molar to slowly pull the aligner from your teeth. Repeat on the other side, then remove the aligner.
Let your doctor know if you have difficulty removing your aligners. When starting a new set of aligners switch to your new set in the evening.
Rinse the new aligners and wear them for at least 12 hours straight. If you feel discomfort ask your doctor if you should take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Invisalign discomfort generally subsides in a few days.
Following these simple guidelines will help improve your treatment experience and your comfort. If you have any other questions consult with your doctor.
The cost of the Invisalign aligners may vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the malocclusion, duration of the treatment, type of aligner used, etc.
A rough estimate of the costs involved as given in the Invisalign website is given below.
- If your doctor quotes $3,400, your insurance may cover $1,600 and you will have to pay the remaining $1800. That’s $50/month, for 36 months.
- If your doctor quotes $4,800, your insurance may cover $1,800 and you will have to pay the remaining $3,000. That’s $125/month, for 24 months.
- If your doctor quotes $7,100, your insurance may cover $2,300 and you will have to pay the remaining $4,800. That’s $200/month, for 24 months.
These are just rough estimates. You will have to talk to your doctor about the exact cost of Invisalign for your teeth. You can also ask your doctor about the Invisalign monthly payment plan, if its possible.