You may have heard of Invisalign, but you may not have seen it anywhere. How could you when it’s practically invisible? Compared to metal braces, Invisalign is a relative newcomer to the market. But how can something that’s invisible straighten teeth to give you the perfect smile you’ve been dreaming of?
How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign is a discreet way to straighten teeth using state-of-the-art 3D computer imaging technology. It utilises a series of custom-made clear aligners developed from 3D-generated images and impressions of your mouth taken by the dentist to move the teeth into perfect alignment.
Every two weeks, your current aligner is swapped out for the next in the series, moving your teeth in tiny increments with each upgrade. When the last aligner has been worn and discarded, the teeth should be in their desired new positions, and your Invisalign treatment will have worked its magic.
Does Invisalign hurt?
Any form of teeth straightening will cause slight discomfort as the teeth start to shift and Invisalign is no exception. This isn’t a bad thing as it shows that treatment is working. However, Invisalign is more comfortable than traditional metal braces because it applies less pressure to the teeth overall – so less discomfort for less time. In addition, there are no brackets or wires to create sores in the mouth. However, you can expect a new aligner to feel tight. This is because it is shaped to fit the alignment your teeth should have reached at the end of two weeks when you have finished wearing it. One tip is to swap your aligners out before going to bed and to take a couple of painkillers. That way, most patients sleep their way through any initial discomfort.
So, does Invisalign work for everyone?
Invisalign treatment can correct a wide range of problems, including:
- Gaps between teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Open bite
- Crowded teeth
That said, Invisalign does have its limitations and isn’t suitable for everyone. For example, It doesn’t work for complex cases, and a dentist may recommend metal braces and brackets instead.
So how does Invisalign work? What’s the process?
The process for Invisalign clear aligners is surprisingly easy, particularly when you work with an experienced Invisalign dentist. Here are the steps you can expect.
First, it’s necessary to have a chat with your dentist. They will answer your questions, listen to your smile goals, and determine if Invisalign treatment will work for you.
Design custom aligners and personalised treatment plan
If your dentist decides you are a good candidate for Invisalign treatment, the next step is to undergo a series of computerised scans that efficiently map out your Invisalign journey. The scans are sent to a dental lab that will create the custom aligners. The digital scans enable the dentist to determine how many aligner trays you will need and the duration and cost of your treatment. But in addition, you get to see what your smile will look like before you commit. How cool is that?
Invisalign costs between $6000 and $9000 for a full treatment and from $4500 for minor treatment, but the price may differ from person to person and case to case. If you decide to move forward with treatment, the dentist will create a personalised treatment plan along with a matching budget.
Once your clear aligners are back from the lab, it’s time to straighten your teeth.
The first aligners are placed over the teeth and worn according to your dentist’s instructions. Invisalign treatment will only work when the aligners are in your mouth, so it’s essential to wear them for as long as possible each day, only removing them to eat or drink anything other than water and to brush and floss your teeth.
The more you wear them, the faster and more effective the result will be. If you wear them for less than 20 hours a day, your treatment may not work as expected.
During Invisalign treatment, patients will need to visit the dentist to monitor their progress and receive the next batch of clear aligners. It’s important not to skip any appointments as these allow the dentist to make any adjustments in real-time if progress is not going to plan.
Nearing the end of treatment
Once the last aligners have been worn and discarded, it’s time to reveal your dazzling new smile to the world.
What happens next?
Teeth take time to move and settle into their new positions, so once your Invisalign treatment has finished, a retainer will need to be worn to stop the teeth from reverting to their original positions and undoing all of your hard work.
Hopefully, we have answered the question ‘how does Invisalign work?’ but you may be wondering how long Invisalign treatment takes. The answer is it varies for everyone. On average, treatment takes around 12 months, but minor cases can be completed in as little as three-six months. Your dentist will give you a more accurate figure in your treatment plan.
Are you considering Invisalign?
The great thing about orthodontics is there is no age limit. Young teens and mature adults can benefit from teeth straightening. Why not schedule an appointment online with our experienced Carindale dentists and take the first step to your dream smile
National Library of Medicine – Three-dimensional Imaging Techniques – A Literature Review
Smile.com.au – Invisalign
Colgate – Retainers For Teeth: What Are They And Why Wear Them
Austalian Dental Association – Queensland