Everything You Wanted To Know About Invisalign

Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign is a modern, convenient alternative to traditional metal braces for straightening teeth [1]. It uses a series of custom, transparent, and removable clear aligners to gradually shift teeth into the desired position [1].

Patients start with a consultation to determine if they are candidates for Invisalign [1]. If approved, the orthodontist provides treatment instructions, and custom aligners are crafted [1]. Patients then wear each set of aligners for weeks, only removing them to eat and clean their teeth as their teeth gradually move into the final desired position [1] [6] [7].

Understanding Invisalign

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign treatment involves wearing a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually straighten teeth, without the use of brackets and wires like traditional braces [2] [3]. The aligners are custom-made for each patient based on a 3D scan of their current smile and a personalized treatment plan [2].

How Does Invisalign Work?

  1. The process begins with meeting a doctor, who uses an iTero Element scanner to create a 3D scan and develop a custom treatment plan [2].
  2. Patients start treatment by picking up their first set of Invisalign aligners, made from a proprietary SmartTrack material that delivers more predictable tooth movements [2].
  3. They attend regular check-ups to receive new aligners and monitor progress, using the My Invisalign app [2] [4].
  4. The aligners apply gentle, controlled forces to gradually move teeth into the desired position over time [3].
InvisalignTraditional Braces
Clear, removable alignersFixed metal brackets and wires
Customized for each patientOne-size-fits-all approach
Treatment duration: 6-18 months [3]Treatment duration: 2 years (average)
Removable for eating and cleaningNon-removable

Invisalign stands out due to its proprietary SmartTrack material, customized fit along the gumline, and the convenience of removable aligners [2] [3] [4].

Who can benefit from Invisalign

Invisalign for Adults

Invisalign is an excellent option for adults seeking to straighten their teeth discreetly [5]. The clear aligners are nearly invisible, making them ideal for professionals and those who prefer a more subtle approach to orthodontic treatment [5]. Additionally, the removable nature of Invisalign aligners allows for greater convenience during meals and oral hygiene routines [5].

Invisalign for Teens

Teenagers can also benefit from Invisalign, as the clear aligners are more comfortable and less noticeable than traditional braces [6]. Invisalign Teen includes specialized features, such as compliance indicators and accommodation for emerging wisdom teeth, to ensure effective treatment during this crucial developmental stage [6].

Suitable Orthodontic Issues

Invisalign can effectively address a wide range of orthodontic issues, including:

  1. Crowded teeth
  2. Gaps between teeth
  3. Overbite
  4. Underbite
  5. Crossbite [7]

However, it’s essential to consult with an experienced Invisalign provider to determine if the treatment is suitable for your specific dental condition [7].

The Invisalign Journey

The Invisalign treatment process typically involves several key stages:

Initial Consultation

The journey begins with a consultation, where the orthodontist determines if Invisalign is the right treatment option. They consider clinical factors, the patient’s ability to wear the aligners, insurance coverage, and cost [5]. The orthodontist takes x-rays, photos, and impressions of the patient’s teeth to create a detailed treatment plan [5].

Treatment Planning

The orthodontist sends the patient’s records to Invisalign, who generates a 3D rendering and finalizes the treatment plan [5]. The doctor uses an iTero Element scanner to create a 3D scan of the patient’s current smile and map out a custom treatment plan [2].

Transformation Phase

  1. The patient receives their first set of Invisalign aligners, which the doctor checks for proper fit and comfort [2].
  2. The patient wears each set of aligners for the prescribed duration, typically 18-22 hours per day [6].
  3. Regular in-person check-ups allow the orthodontist to monitor progress and provide new batches of aligners [2] [6].
Preparatory ProceduresAny necessary dental work is completed before starting treatment [6].
Aligner DeliveryThe patient receives their first set of custom Invisalign aligners [2].
Progress MonitoringRegular follow-up appointments track the treatment’s progress [6].

Refinement and Retention

After completing the main Invisalign treatment, some additional ‘refinement’ aligners may be needed to refine the smile, which Invisalign provides at no extra cost [5]. Finally, the patient must wear a retainer, such as custom-made Vivera retainers, to maintain the new tooth alignment [2] [6].

Maintenance and Care

Proper Aligner Care

Maintaining Invisalign aligners is crucial for effective treatment and oral hygiene [8]:

  1. Remove aligners when eating or drinking anything other than water.
  2. Brush and floss before reinserting aligners to prevent trapping food debris.
  3. Clean aligners regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and clear anti-bacterial soap [8].
  4. Soak aligners in a denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals to remove dried saliva and plaque [8].

Oral Hygiene Routine

Keeping teeth and gums healthy is essential during Invisalign treatment [9]:

  1. Brush twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Floss once daily to remove plaque and food particles from between teeth.
  3. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen breath.
  4. Attend regular dental cleanings and check-ups as recommended by your orthodontist [9].
Remove aligners when eating or drinking (except water)Smoke or consume colored beverages while wearing aligners
Brush and floss before reinserting alignersUse toothpaste containing abrasives to clean aligners
Clean aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush and soapExpose aligners to excessive heat or direct sunlight
Soak aligners in a denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystalsChew gum or eat sticky foods while wearing aligners

Proper aligner care and maintaining good oral hygiene habits are essential for successful Invisalign treatment and a healthy, beautiful smile [8] [9].


[1] – https://www.moritaorthodontics.com/invisalign/overview/
[2] – https://www.invisalign.com/how-it-works
[3] – https://www.mapledentalhealth.com/blog/invisalign-101-guide/
[4] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg7yOACRjoA
[5] – https://www.luvbraces.com/invisalign-treatment-process-the-6-stages/
[6] – https://blyssdental.com/invisalign-process/

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