There’s a high value placed on having straight, even teeth in our society. Traditional metal braces are commonly used on adolescents to straighten the teeth. However, many adults with uneven teeth don’t want metal braces, because of the impact on their image, especially if their jobs require a lot of social contact. Many people also find metal braces uncomfortable.
This is why clear braces, commonly called by their brand name Invisalign, were developed. Invisalign is an option for some adults and adolescents whose teeth require straightening. There are some types of orthodontic problems that can’t be fixed with Invisalign; metal braces may be required for these problems. You’ll need a consultation with an orthodontist to determine whether Invisalign is an option for you.
When you’re considering any dental procedure, it’s important to know the risks and weigh them against the benefits. Once you understand the procedure, then you can make your decision about whether or not to proceed. To help you in your decision-making process, we have some information about the risks and benefits of getting Invisalign at Clear Braces (Invisalign): Risks and Benefits.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential dental procedure with your own dentist.
How it’s done
Rather than gluing metal brackets to the teeth and pulling them straight with wires, as is done with traditional braces, Invisalign uses a series of custom-made clear plastic trays that bring the teeth closer and closer to perfect alignment, until the desired outcome is achieved.
Your first appointment with your orthodontist will be a consultation. During this time, the orthodontist assesses your needs. He or she will determine whether you’re a candidate for Invisalign, and will answer all of your questions. If you decide to proceed with this particular provider, then you’ll have a series of images taken of your mouth. This includes impressions, photos, and X-rays. The images are used to create a 3-D model of your mouth, and the orthodontist uses this model to plan your Invisalign treatment. He or she will show you the treatment plan and tell you what to expect.
You’ll then receive your first set of aligners. You’ll wear a clear plastic aligner that fits around your teeth. You take it out to eat and brush your teeth, but it should otherwise remain in at all times; for the best results, you’ll need to wear it at least 20 to 22 hours per day. Approximately every two weeks, you’ll switch to a new aligner, and you’ll visit your orthodontist about every six weeks to check on the progress of your teeth. For most adults, the treatment takes about a year; for teens, the treatment time is similar to that of braces. Your treatment time may vary based on your case, and your orthodontist can tell you what to expect from your own Invisalign treatment. When treatment is finished, you may want to order a clear retainer to maintain your teeth in the new position.
Preparing for the procedure
Choosing your dentist
Whether you’re choosing traditional braces or Invisalign, you need a specialist in tooth alignment. This is called an orthodontist. This type of dentist has specialty training in straightening teeth. If you’d like Invisalign rather than traditional braces, then you should make sure the orthodontist you’re considering is trained and experienced in the methods of using Invisalign.
Planning for the Cost
Of course, you’ll want to know the cost of your procedure, whether insurance will cover it, and how you’ll finance it. For more, visit our Clear Braces (Invisalign) Cost page.
The Invisalign treatment takes about a year or longer. Each time you switch to a new aligner, you may experience some soreness as your teeth shift position. At the end of your treatment, your teeth will be well-aligned, but you might require a retainer to ensure that they stay in the perfect position.