Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses clear, removable aligners to straighten your misaligned teeth into their correct position slowly. If you’re considering Invisalign, here’s everything you need to know about the treatment process, benefits, risks and more.
- 1 What Is Invisalign Treatment?
- 2 Why Should I Get Invisalign?
- 3 The Benefits Of Invisalign Treatment
- 4 The Drawbacks Of Invisalign Treatment
- 5 Potential Side Effects Of Invisalign
- 6 Can Invisalign Aligners Get Stained?
- 7 Cleaning Tips For Invisalign Aligners
- 8 What Is The Duration Of Invisalign Treatment?
- 9 Is Invisalign Suitable For Children?
- 10 Final Thoughts
- 11 FAQs
What Is Invisalign Treatment?
Invisalign (also called invisible aligners) is a popular brand of orthodontic aligners used to help address the misalignment of teeth. Unlike traditional braces, these aligners are practically invisible, so most people won’t even know you’re wearing them.
Invisalign treatment involves a series of custom-made aligners that you will wear for 20 to 22 hours per day. You need to wear each set of Invisalign trays for about two weeks before moving on to the next set in the series. In total, treatment usually takes 12 to 18 months, but it can vary depending on the severity of your case.
Invisalign uses attachments, or small buttons, to help the aligners grip your teeth more effectively. In most cases, these attachments are placed on your teeth before you receive your first set and are removed before treatment is complete. But there are times when additional attachments may be placed during treatment to keep your teeth moving properly.
Why Should I Get Invisalign?
There are a few reasons why many choose Invisalign aligner treatment over traditional braces. These include:
- You are suffering from misalignment of teeth and want to achieve straighter teeth.
- You have gaps between your teeth.
- You have an overbite, underbite or crossbite. Overbite happens when your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth too much. An underbite is when your lower teeth protrude past your upper teeth. Crossbite is when your upper and lower teeth don’t line up correctly.
- You have rotated or crowded teeth.
- You have crooked teeth.
It must be noted that Invisalign may not be able to manage all cases and may not be suitable for those with severe misalignment. It is important to consult with your orthodontist to determine the right treatment option for you.
The Benefits Of Invisalign Treatment
There are a number of Invisalign benefits over conventional braces, such as:
- They are versatile that can help improve a wide range of dental issues. They can give you a more beautiful smile, boosting your confidence and improving the quality of your life.
- They are almost invisible, so most people won’t even know you’re wearing them. This is beneficial for adults who don’t want to wear braces with visible metal wires and brackets.
- They are removable. So you can easily eat whatever you want without worrying about food particles getting stuck in braces.
- Brushing and flossing teeth is more manageable because no metals and wires get in the way.
- They are comfortable. So you won’t have to deal with the discomfort that often comes with traditional braces with metals and wires.
- Overall, the average treatment time is shorter than the traditional braces.
The Drawbacks Of Invisalign Treatment
Along with the benefits, these invisible dental braces also have disadvantages. These include:
- They are more expensive than traditional braces.
- They are less effective in addressing more complex issues compared to traditional braces.
- You have to wear them for at least 22 hours a day, so you have to take them out to eat and brush your teeth. This can be inconvenient, especially if you’re not used to it.
- To avoid staining, you must diligently care for them and brush them after every meal. They can become yellowish over time if you don’t care for them properly.
- While they can be durable, poor handling of the aligners can cause them to warp and not fit, which can lengthen treatment time.
Potential Side Effects Of Invisalign
Like any type of orthodontic treatment, Invisalign can cause some side effects, such as:
- Mild Discomfort
You may feel some mild discomfort when you first start wearing these orthodontic aligners or when you shift to a new set of aligners. This is temporary and should go away within a few days.
It’s normal for your teeth and gums to feel sore for the first couple of days after wearing your aligners. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers to help relieve any discomfort.
You may experience irritation around your gums and cheeks when you first start wearing your Invisalign trays. This is also normal and should resolve on its own within a few days.
- Damaged Nerves
In rare cases, Invisalign treatment can damage the nerves in your teeth. This is typically only seen in people with previous dental work, such as crowns or root canals.
- Dislodged Fillings
If you have fillings during your treatment, there is a possibility that they become loose and eventually get dislodged. It is most likely to happen when you bite your orthodontic aligners.
Can Invisalign Aligners Get Stained?
Orthodontic aligners, including Invisalign, can get stained and discoloured. It is because they are made of a clear plastic material that is porous and can absorb stains from food, drinks, and tobacco.
Cleaning Tips For Invisalign Aligners
Here are a few helpful tips for caring for your aligners to avoid staining and damage:
- Rinse your aligners with water after eating or drinking. Never do this with hot water, as this can warp the shape of your aligners.
- Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before putting your aligners back in.
- Clean your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to remove any food or drink particles every morning and evening. Avoid abrasive toothpaste and materials such as baking soda, which can scratch your aligners.
- Soak your Invisalign trays in a denture-cleaning solution for at least 30 to 30 minutes daily.
- Use Invisalign cleaning wipes to clean your aligners on the go.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything with aligners that can stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-coloured fruits and vegetables.
- Keep your aligners in their case when you remove them to avoid them getting damaged or lost.
- Avoid smoking when your Invisalign trays are in your mouth. When you smoke, remove them and brush your teeth before putting them back in. However, remember that when you keep putting your aligners on and off, it can prolong your treatment time, or they can be damaged if not handled properly.
What Is The Duration Of Invisalign Treatment?
This varies from person to person, but on average, Invisalign treatment can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Your treatment length will depend on how complex your dental issue is and how well you follow the instructions given by your dentist or orthodontist. That’s why your dentist creates a personalised treatment plan for you that outlines how long your treatment will take and what to expect.
Here’s a typical timeline for Invisalign treatment:
- Initial Appointment
This is when your orthodontist examines your teeth and creates a personalised treatment plan for you. This is also to determine if you are a good candidate for the treatment. They will let you understand what the procedure entails so you can make an informed decision. This is also a perfect time to ask questions you may have.
In most cases, you are ineligible if your dental issue is too complex or if you have certain medical conditions that make Invisalign treatment unsuitable for you. In this case, your orthodontist will recommend other treatment options.
- Impression Taking
Depending on your schedule, you will return to your dentist for the fabrication of your customised Invisalign trays. They will take an impression of your teeth using a putty-like material that hardens and captures the exact shape of your teeth. These impressions are then sent to the Invisalign lab, where your aligners will be made.
- 4 Weeks After Impression Appointment
This is when you will receive your first set of Invisalign clear aligners.
- Every 2 Weeks After Receiving Your Aligner Trays
This is when you will receive your first set of Invisalign clear aligners. Your dentist will also provide you with certain instructions, including what to do and what not to.
- Months After Wearing Aligner Trays
Results vary, but on average, you will start to see a difference in the alignment of your teeth after months of treatment. Some may see a slight difference in as little as two weeks. Others may notice improvements after five months of wearing them. In some cases, a few patients can finish their treatment after 6 months. However, this will vary depending on your case.
- Refinement Period
In some cases, further adjustments may be needed after your final set of aligners. Your dentist may recommend a refinement period. During this, they will create additional sets of aligners to fine-tune the alignment of your teeth. This is normal and can help achieve optimal results for your smile.
- Retainer Appointment
After your treatment, you will be given a retainer to wear. This is to avoid your new straightened teeth from returning to their original position. Sometimes you must wear these retainers for 22 hours a day for six months and only every night for the next six months after you finish treatment. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how long to wear them.
Is Invisalign Suitable For Children?
Patients whose complete adult teeth did not come in cannot receive an Invisalign treatment. This usually happens at around age 13 or 14, except for wisdom teeth, which can come anytime from ages 17 to 25. So, Invisalign is not suitable for children below this age. If a child has already started showing crooked or gapped teeth, their dentist or orthodontist may recommend traditional metal braces instead of Invisalign.
Another consideration is the growth of the jawbone. Invisalign may not be suitable for children whose jawbones are still developing since the aligners may not fit properly or cannot address the misalignment effectively.
Also, the maturity of a child patient plays a significant role in the success of Invisalign treatment. This is because they must wear the aligners almost throughout the entire day to achieve straight teeth or the desired results. Overall, adults are the ideal candidates for this treatment.
Invisalign treatment is a good choice for addressing misalignment of teeth, especially if you want to avoid the noticeable look of metal braces. The length of treatment depends on the severity of your dental issues. But, on average, it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. There are measures you have to follow to avoid damage and achieve your desired results. The most important thing is to wear your Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours daily and clean them regularly.
You also must be aware of Invisalign treatment risks, such as gum disease and tooth decay. But as long as you take care of your teeth and aligners, these risks can be minimised.
If you want to know more about Invisalign treatment or find out if it’s right for you, talk to Burwood Dental Care today.
During your initial consultation, one of our clinic’s dentists will examine your oral health to see if you are a good candidate for the procedure. They will determine the severity of your teeth problems to allow them to design a personalised treatment plan for you. They make sure to will discuss this with you before they proceed to the next steps. This is also when they answer all questions you might have about the Invisalign treatment.
While there are no food restrictions when undergoing Invisalign treatment, you must first remove your aligners when eating. It is because food can get stuck between the aligners and your teeth, leading to tooth decay. When this happens, you will need to have them managed first, which can prolong treatment time. To avoid this, it’s recommended to eat before putting your aligners back in or wait until after you take them out.
In general, Invisalign shouldn’t hurt. You may feel mild discomfort initially after wearing them, but this should go away after a few days. If you experience any pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away, contact your orthodontist to see if you need adjustments.
Though it’s unlikely, Invisalign may cause allergic reactions. It’s because the aligners are made of a plastic called polyurethane, which can cause irritation in some people. Before your treatment, inform your orthodontist about any allergies you have. This way, they can find an alternative material for your aligners or recommend another treatment option.
This depends on your dentist, location, and the complexity of your case. In Australia, the average cost of Invisalign is around $6,000 to $9,000 for full treatments and from $4,500 for minor treatments. These could be lower or higher. On your appointment, ask your dentist for a more accurate quote so you can budget for the procedure.