Invisalign is a system of clear thermoplastic aligners that are used to gradually shift your teeth in the same way traditional orthodontic treatments do. They look very similar to the plastic trays you receive when undergoing a tooth whitening treatment. Each set of aligners is custom made in order to fit your teeth and gradually move them into the correct position.
How does Invisalign work?
When beginning treatment, you will be given a series of clear Invisalign aligners. Each aligner will gently adjust the position of your teeth in small increments by applying a constant pressure to the teeth. The progression of this movement will be carefully mapped out by Dr. Mabry. Each aligner will be worn for approximately two weeks before you move on to your next aligner.
The clear thermoplastic aligners apply a gentle, controlled pressure on your teeth that causes them to gradually shift into the desired position. Each aligner stage focuses on a specific set of teeth. This allows the process to be more comfortable than traditional orthodontic treatments.
How long will treatment take?
Treatment length will vary from patient to patient, depending on your unique situation. However, on average we estimate that Invisalign treatment will take around one year for most adults. For teenagers, the variation can differ, and you will need to discuss treatment length with Dr. Mabry for an accurate estimate.
How often should I wear the aligners?
In order to ensure that the teeth move into the proper alignment, your Invisalign aligners should be worn for between 20 and 22 hours per day. They can be removed while eating, and to allow you to brush and floss your teeth properly, but should not be taken out while sleeping or for extended periods of time during the day.
How often will I need to check in with my dentist during treatment?
For most patients, you will need to return to see Dr. Mabry every four to six months once you have received your aligners. This allows him to ensure that your teeth are moving into the proper position as planned and adjust your treatment schedule as needed.
For some patients, moving specific teeth may require attachments. These consist of a small piece of tooth-colored dental composite that will be placed on your teeth, creating a small bump. This bump will be gripped by ridges on the underside of the aligners in order to help them remain in place and properly move the teeth into the desired position.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible; unlike traditional metal braces, there will be no visible signs while you wear them. They can also be removed, allowing you to continue eating the foods you love and allowing you to clean your teeth normally throughout the process. Because there are no brackets or wires to adjust throughout the process, Invisalign requires fewer trips to our office for adjustment, and will not irritate your cheeks and tongue the way traditional braces can.
Is Invisalign treatment painful?
For the first few days of each stage you may experience some minor discomfort. However, this is quite a bit less painful than what occurs with traditional braces, as your cheeks and tongue will not be irritated by metal brackets and wires. Instead, you should only experience a gentle pressure on your teeth that will subside within a few days.
Can I wear the aligners only while sleeping?
Your Invisalign aligners must be worn for a minimum of 20 hours per day in order to move your teeth into the proper position. However, because the aligners are virtually invisible and comfortable, they should not interfere with your daily activities.
Will Invisalign aligners affect my speech?
As you adjust to wearing the aligners you may notice a slight, temporary difference in your speech. This should subside within a couple of days, once you have become used to the feel of the aligners on your teeth.
Will I have to adhere to diet restrictions while wearing Invisalign?
Because Invisalign aligners are removable, you will not have to make any changes to your diet while wearing them. You should be able to continue eating and drinking normally, unless otherwise advised by Dr. Mabry.
Can I smoke while wearing the aligners?
Smoking can damage and discolor the aligners; it is best that you quit for the duration of treatment.
Can I drink alcohol while wearing the aligners?
You will need to brush and floss your teeth as well as clean the aligners as soon as possible following moderate alcohol consumption.
Can I chew gum while wearing the aligners?
Chewing gum is not recommended, as it can stick to the aligners and may damage them. Your Invisalign aligners should be removed whenever you are eating a snack or meal.
Will the aligners slip off while I sleep?
Your aligners are custom made to fit your teeth perfectly, so it is very unlikely that they will ever slip out.
How many patients have been treated with Invisalign?
It is currently estimated that more than 2.5 million patients have been treated with Invisalign worldwide.
Are Invisalign aligners BPA free?
Yes! Invisalign aligners are completely free of both phthalate plasticizers and Bisphenol-A. They are made from USP Class VI medical-grade, high molecular weight, polyurethane resin. The aligners have been approved as a Class II medical device by the FDA and are deemed safe for use.
What is the minimum age for Invisalign treatment?
Any patient who has lost all of their baby teeth and have their second molars at least partially erupted can use Invisalign.
How do I care for my aligners?
For best results, use the Invisalign Cleaning system. You may also brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse them in lukewarm (not cool) water.
What happens after treatment is completed?
Depending on how far your teeth were moved, you may need to wear a retainer following treatment. This may be a conventional retainer, or Dr. Mabry may recommend a clear retainer similar to the Invisalign aligners you are used to. This will be worn while you sleep in order to prevent your teeth from shifting.
I’m currently wearing traditional braces. Can I switch to Invisalign?
Each patient is different, however many patients can be treated using a combination of Invisalign and traditional braces. You will need to discuss this with Dr. Mabry.
My teeth shifted after my braces were removed. Can Invisalign help?
If your teeth shifted back after you removed your traditional braces, Invisalign may be used to shift them back into the correct position.
Can Invisalign aligners be used if I have dental veneers?
Dental veneers can sometimes still be used with Invisalign aligners; you will need to discuss your individual case with Dr. Mabry to be sure.
Can Invisalign aligners be used if I have bridgework?
Because a fixed dental bridge is permanently attached to the surrounding teeth, this can make it difficult for the aligners to work properly.
How much does Invisalign cost?
The treatment cost for Invisalign is similar to that of traditional braces: between $3,500 to $8,000 in the United States. In some cases, your dental insurance plan may at least partially cover the cost of your treatment.
For more information regarding the Invisalign system: