What Is Invisalign? Breaking Down This System & How It Works

Invisalign | cosmetic dentist Cherry Hill NJ | cosmetic dentistry

It would be hard to find anyone who hasn’t at least heard of Invisalign clear aligners. If you are considering this alternative to traditional braces, though, you will need a lot more information before you decide if they are right for you. 

Invisalign has exploded in popularity with both adults and teenagers, primarily because the aligners are nearly invisible. Each aligner is custom-made for every client and is changed approximately every 2 weeks. Treatment with Invisalign can last an average of 6 to 18 months. During that time, the teeth move and align according to computer models created based on the client’s needs and the orthodontist’s recommendations. The goal is a great smile and a healthier mouth!

Clear aligners can help those who have crowded teeth, crooked teeth, gapped or spaced teeth, an overbite, open bite, underbite, or crossbite. If other issues concern you with your teeth, discuss those with your dentist as well. Invisalign is a great solution for many dental patients who are looking for a beautiful, straight smile.

Here is more in-depth information about how the entire process works:

How Does Invisalign Work?

The Invisalign process uses high-tech treatment planning to design a set of custom-made clear aligners for each client. It starts with a consultation and ends with a beautiful smile!

#1 – Consultation with the Dentist

During this meeting, digital photos and x-rays will be done. The dentist will perform a thorough exam to develop a diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. A dental team member will go over the plan in detail, including cost, insurance coverage you may have, and any financing plans they may offer. There is time for all your questions to be answered during this consultation. 

There are situations where patients may not be able to use Invisalign aligners: very young children who can’t follow the steps to care for their aligners or elderly patients who can’t take the aligners on and off as needed. This would be discussed during the consultation.

#2 – A Digital, 3D Image of Your Mouth is Created

what is Invisalign | how does Invisalign work | clear aligners

Digital impressions will be taken next. Software is then used to create a 3D model of your mouth.  Your dental team will use the model to support your treatment plan so that each tooth is moved with precision to its desired location. The dentist can even show you a simulation of what your new smile will look like at the end of the process! 

#3 – Your Custom Invisalign Aligners are Ready for Pick Up!

Using the 3D models of your mouth, a set of Invisalign clear aligners will be made. They are made from medical-grade BPA-free plastic and are safe to wear for 20 – 22 hours a day. The aligners should only be taken out for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. If you are involved in sports, a mouthguard is used instead. 

#4 – Wear the Aligners as Prescribed

Every 1 – 2 weeks, you will change the aligner for the next one in the treatment plan. These aligners don’t require any adjustment like traditional braces do, but you will visit the dentist every 2 months or so. At these visits, your progress will be checked to make sure things are going as they should. 

#5 – Show off your new smile!

As the box of aligners empties, your new smile is being perfected. When you take out the last aligner, you can show off a beautiful smile and a healthy bite. After that, you will need the retainer(s) provided to help prevent your teeth from shifting back out of alignment. 

That’s the Invisalign process, but you probably still have questions. Let’s start with these frequently asked questions:

FAQs About Invisalign

FAQs about Invisalign | what is Invisalign | how does Invisalign work

Are Invisalign clear aligners more expensive than other braces?

The Consumer Guide for Dentistry states the national average for Invisalign is $3,000–$5,000. Traditional metal bracket braces usually cost $2,000–$6,000. These are averages and your cost will, of course, also depend on your individual needs.

Keep in mind, the treatment time is often less compared to traditional braces and Invisalign requires fewer visits to the dentist, saving both time and money.

Can’t I save by using the Smile Direct Club for clear aligners?

Yes and no. The cost of Smile Direct is less than the costs mentioned above. But Smile Direct does not provide an initial personalized consultation or any in-person contact with a dentist or orthodontist. Plus, you do the impressions yourself at home. This leaves a lot of room for error right from the beginning. So, the amount you save upfront could be eroded by serious problems later in the process.

Do Invisalign aligners cause more discomfort than regular braces?

Compared to metal braces, the Invisalign system is significantly less painful. Metal braces are quite uncomfortable for the first few days, while the first few days of wearing the Invisalign aligners are much less painful. One big factor in this is that you can eat most foods with Invisalign right from the beginning. The Invisalign braces are removed for eating or drinking and you won’t get painful sores in your mouth like those caused by metal braces.

What do I do if my mouth hurts with the Invisalign aligners?

Usually, if you do have any slight discomfort, it only lasts a day or two after putting new aligners in. If you are experiencing pain, try one or more of the following:

  • OTC pain medication
  • Cold compresses
  • Drink cold water
  • Suck on ice cubes
  • Switch aligners just before bed
  • Avoid hard or crunchy foods
  • Ask the dentist to smooth out any rough edges of the aligners

If they are still hurting you, don’t ignore it. You don’t have to try and “power through”. Talk to your dentist right away and they can help relieve the issue.

Are the aligners hard to take care of?

taking care of clear aligners | what is Invisalign | how does Invisalign work

No more so than you would normally be taking care of your teeth! Your dentist will recommend the Invisalign Cleaning system so you will have everything you need. Your aligners can be brushed with a toothbrush and toothpaste and rinsed with warm water. It’s best to do that every time you eat so that stains are brushed away before they can set. Never use hot water because the plastic of the aligners may permanently warp. 

Soak your aligners in a denture cleaner or use the official Invisalign cleaning crystals so your trays will be sanitized.

Schedule Your Invisalign Consultation with TLC Dental Center Today!

Hopefully, with the information we’ve covered in this article, now you have a better idea of exactly what Invisalign is, how it works, and what it could do for your smile. Invisalign aligners are a good choice for thousands of people every year. 

If you have been considering Invisalign, TLC Dental Center in Cherry Hill can help give you the smile you’ll be proud to show off! Contact us today and schedule your consultation!