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Invisalign 101: Frequently Asked Questions

A person’s smile is a major factor in determining their level of self-esteem. Because of that, many are reluctant to get braces when their teeth need to be corrected. This is a valid concern considering that braces are clunky and they aren’t exactly subtle either. However, there’s a possible solution to this dilemma: Invisalign.

People who want a more subtle and gentle approach to realigning their teeth and jaw. So what exactly is Invisalign? What makes it so special? Read on to get all of your Invisalign questions answered.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an alternative tooth alignment system to typical braces. Rather than using bracket-and-metal braces, Invisalign uses a clear plastic aligner to gently move your teeth to their correct position. They’re aptly named as they’re almost completely invisible.

Is Invisalign Better Than Braces?

We know that Invisalign is gentler and more subtle than traditional braces, but are they a better option? Both treatment options are valid and one isn’t technically better than the other. However, your personal preferences and budget will play a significant factor in which option you choose.

Invisalign Pros

  • It’s more cost-effective. While Invisalign is typically more costly than braces, they’re normally broken down into smaller payments. Many dental insurance plans will cover a significant amount of this cost too.
  • They’re better for self-esteem. While braces are notoriously clunky and in-your-face, Invisalign is virtually invisible. This means you can correct your smile without feeling like you need to hide it throughout the process.
  • Invisalign is more gentle than braces. If you ask anyone who’s ever needed braces how they felt getting them, you’re likely to hear about the pain that came from spacing and tightening. Invisalign goes in with a much gentler approach.
  • You don’t have to adjust your diet. Because these aligners can be taken out, you don’t have to avoid any indulgent foods that are common no-nos with braces.
  • They’re time-efficient. When using Invisalign, you only have to check in with your provider every six weeks. This appointment is solely for a quick check-in and so you can get your next set of aligners.

Invisalign Cons

  • It’s technically more expensive. While you have lower monthly payments with Invisalign, it will likely cost more in the long run than braces would.
  • They need to be worn for 22 hours/day. Considering traditional braces are a 24/7 commitment, this con is minimal. However, it’s still inconvenient if you have a date or other plans as you need to keep it in the entire time.
  • Invisalign can be inconvenient. While they’re definitely more subtle, they’re also inconvenient too. You can’t eat with your aligners in and remembering to take them out before each meal can get annoying.

Traditional Braces Pros

  • Traditional braces cost less than Invisalign. Braces are generally the cheaper alternative to Invisalign, albeit not by much.
  • Braces can fix more severe issues. Invisalign can only do so much. If your teeth have a severe misalignment, braces are a much better tool for helping to fix the problem.
  • There are several options to choose from. Braces technology has advanced and there are options available that make them less noticeable.
  • They work faster than Invisalign. When it comes to gaps, braces are typically faster at fixing the issue.

Traditional Braces Cons

  • Regardless of type, they’re still bulky and noticeable. This can have a negative impact on the wearer’s self-esteem.
  • They’re harder to take care of. While you don’t have to worry about taking them off to eat, you do need to keep them clean. It’s trickier to brush and floss with braces and plaque can easily build up between each bracket.
  • They aren’t time-convenient. Unlike Invisalign typical braces require more office visits. This can prove cumbersome if you don’t have a lot of time to spare.
  • You can’t eat certain things. Perhaps the biggest downfall of traditional braces is the fact that you can’t eat specific foods. Anything that’s sticky or crunchy can mess up your braces and this leads to even more office commitments.

What is the Invisalign Treatment Process?

Just like with traditional braces, Invisalign comes with its own unique treatment process. Depending on the severity of your case and your desired end result, your treatment may differ from another person’s. Here is a step-by-step overview of what you can expect when going through Invisalign treatment:

  1. Find an Invisalign provider: You can use the Invisalign provider directory to find an Invisalign provider close to you. While searching, make sure you check with your insurance to see if the office is in-network as it can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
  2. Go to your first appointment: At this appointment, the orthodontist will use an iTero Element scanner. This device will take a 3D scan of your teeth and give you a better idea of the best treatment plan to go with.
  3. Try on your aligner: Once your aligner comes in, you’ll try it on to make sure it fits correctly. This will be done at the orthodontist’s office just in case any adjustments need to be made.
  4. Wear your aligner until your next check-in: Invisalign aligners should be worn for 22 hours per day. The only time you should remove them is to eat.
  5. Attend your routine check-ins: Once you’re in a good groove with your aligners, you’ll attend check-in at the orthodontist every six weeks. At this appointment, you’ll get a quick check-up and your new set of aligners.
  6. Finish your treatment plan: Results have reportedly been achieved in just under six months. Your results may be different from this but that’s no need to fret. Once you’ve completed your treatment plan, you can use a Vivera retainer to keep your teeth in place and avoid regression.

Other Invisalign FAQs

1. Is Invisalign only for adults?

While it was originally designed for adult alignment, Invisalign has become a common alternative for all ages. The aligners come in a variety of sizes and can fit young children and adults alike.

2. Is Invisalign expensive?

Every person’s budget is different. While Invisalign can cost anywhere from $3,000-$7,000, most dental insurance plans will cover a significant portion of the bill. Any leftover costs can be broken down into low monthly payments too.

3. How do I maintain my Invisalign aligners?

Invisalign offers a cleaning system on their website but you can also clean your aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste if you don’t want to spend extra money. Keep in mind, though, you should only use room-temperature water because using hot water will lead to warping.

4. Will I still need a retainer after Invisalign?

While it’s not required, many doctors will recommend using one for a prescribed amount of time. A standard retainer will suffice but Invisalign also offers Vivera, their own retainer.

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