Published: December 15, 2017
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that corrects malocclusion, or the misalignment of an individual’s bite or improper spacing between their teeth. In many cases, it is an alternative to traditional dental braces. Adults can complete treatment in 12 months, on average,1 compared to the previous average treatment time of 24 to 30 months.
Each aligner is made of a safe, biocompatible clear thermoplastic material (aligners and retainers are made using USP Class VI medical-grade polyurethane resins). Similar in design to teeth whitening trays, aligners are custom manufactured. Over the course of treatment, you will receive a series of them, each one making slightly different adjustments to your teeth. The sequence is determined by the teeth straightening plan by a qualified orthodontist Irving, TX patients visit every four to six weeks.
An alternative to cheap braces in Dallas, TX, Invisalign is suited for treating most cases, from simple to complex. It is often used to treat:
- Gapped teeth: Abnormal jawbone growth can create gaps, or teeth can shift to fill in the space of missing ones, leaving gaps. Gum tissue exposed in a gap is unprotected and can develop periodontal pockets or disease.
- Overbite: The upper teeth extend over the lower ones. It’s a risk factor for gum problems, irritation, lower teeth wear, and jaw problems, and occurs with bad dental habits, bone overdevelopment, and genetics.
- Underbite: Characterized by protruding lower teeth, an underbite is caused by abnormal bone development or missing teeth on top. The front teeth or molars may not function properly, leading to premature wear and potentially jaw/joint problems.
- Open bite: When some teeth do not contact the opposing ones, it can make chewing difficult or painful, impair speech, and lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and other problems. Causes include abnormal jaw structures or thumb-sucking.
- Overcrowding: The jaw does not have enough room to fit all your teeth. Without treatment, the problem only gets worse, leading to more severe misalignment, plaque accumulation, tooth decay, and, potentially, gum disease.
- Crossbite: A misalignment of the upper and lower jaw. An upper tooth (or more than one) contacts the inside of the lower teeth when biting, possibly causing enamel wear, gum disease, and even bone loss.
Crooked teeth not only affect a person’s smile. They can lead to other oral health problems and increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. An abnormal bite can increase wear on tooth enamel, affect your speech or chewing ability, and hurt your jaw.
Results You Can Expect
The treatment process varies from case to case, but you can expect straighter teeth. However, you may eventually need a retainer to prevent them from shifting back to where they were originally. Retainers have a precise fit because they are also custom made based on dental impressions or scans.
Your treatment process may take as little as 12 months. It starts with an initial consultation, in which you’ll learn about the dental advantages and whether it is financially manageable. Your orthodontist in Irving, TX, for example, will discuss whether treatment can be advantageous in your situation.
Next, your doctor will take physical impressions or use a digital scanning system to produce 3D images of your teeth. A treatment plan can then be formulated. The computer system can simulate the movements of your teeth, estimate treatment times, and model what your smile should eventually look like.
The aligners are then created. Made of SmartTrack® material, they allow for predictable and controlled tooth movement. During the process, you must consider the following aspects of treatment:
- Aligners must be worn 20 to 22 hours per day to be effective2 and only be removed to eat, brush, and floss.
- Invisalign aligners take a day or two to get used to; some people have trouble speaking at first; however, the tongue quickly adjusts to the aligners.
- You need to visit your dental professional every four to six weeks to track the progress of treatment and receive new aligners.
- Some pressure and discomfort may be felt for the first couple of days with each new phase of treatment.
- There are no food or drink restrictions, but the Invisalign attachments placed on your teeth (for the aligners to attach to) can stain easily, so coffee, tea, sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages, and smoking are best avoided. Wearers have said composites can build up on teeth, and hot liquids can stain/warp the aligners.3
Cleaning aligners is very important. Sure, you can rinse them in water or brush them, but the Invisalign Cleaning System is available for a more thorough solution. The Cleaning Crystals remove plaque and odors within 15 minutes,3 as keeping the appliance hygienic is important for your oral and overall health.
Does Invisalign Work for Everyone?
Invisalign is used to treat different types of malocclusions. Worldwide, it’s been used to treat over four million people, with more added every day.4 The aligners are removed when you eat, so there are no dietary restrictions, and playing sports isn’t affected because there’s no sharp metal to cut you. The aligners can also be removed if you must wear a mouth guard.
There are few restrictions associated with wearing Invisalign. Plus, the treatment is suitable for teenagers and adults. Even if you’ve worn braces in the past, aligners can be used to straighten teeth that have since shifted. Some doctors are also combining braces with Invisalign.
Only a qualified orthodontist can tell you if Invisalign will work for you. Each case is unique, but certain dental conditions and corrections may make aligners ineffective, such as veneers or dental bridges. If multiple teeth are connected to surrounding ones, an aligner may not do its job.
In fact, Invisalign is a more involved process than many people realize. Various aspects of treatment make the aligners versatile in treating various types of cases. Each aligner is designed to promote a small amount of movement, so new ones may be needed frequently. Some people have reported having as many as 40 different trays over the course of their treatment.
Enamel-colored composite ridges serve as attachment points to bumps in the aligners; these are cemented to teeth like braces brackets. The number of attachments varies from person to person, and they may be square-, rectangle-, triangle-, circle-, or ellipse-shaped. They give aligners a grip on teeth, so they can shift them more effectively; practically invisible, they look something like clear braces with the aligner in.
Invisalign buttons may be used as well. These tiny plastic or metal brackets can anchor elastic bands. For example, one button may be cemented to an upper eyetooth, and another to an opposing lower molar. When attached, the elastic band will connect both and may also connect to an anchor point on the aligner.
Often cemented near the gum line, buttons are minimally visible and enable more tooth movements than using aligners alone.
Therefore, many options are available in making Invisalign most effective. The treatment is customized for each patient, so the experience and results vary from person to person. For accurate assessments, reading Invisalign reviews can help you understand what to expect.
Invisalign Pros and Cons
The benefits of Invisalign include:
- It’s suited for treating a variety of cases.
- No uncomfortable metal or wire adjustments are needed.
- There are no metal brackets/wires that can cause irritation.
- The appliance is nearly invisible.
- The aligners are removable, so you can eat comfortably.
- Treatment tends to boost self-confidence in teens.
- Results can be easily seen at every stage.
- Many orthodontic insurance plans cover Invisalign.
If you’re considering Invisalign vs. braces, the disadvantages include:
- Lipstick and gloss may get onto the clear plastic aligners.
- Removal of appliances can chip fingernails.
- Frequent brushing and flossing are needed to remove plaque/food particles.
- Attachment points are prone to staining.
- New trays are needed for each stage of treatment.
- Refinement aligners may be needed to correct slightly misaligned teeth later.
- You must commit to wearing the aligners, or they won’t yield expected results.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
On average, about 12 months for adult patients, but treatment times are more variable for teens. The actual length of time depends on your situation and what the doctor says. Generally, the more time you spend wearing the aligners, the more likely they are to be effective. Decreasing wear time will most likely extend the length of treatment.
How Much Does Invisalign Cost for Top Teeth Only?
Treatment costs are similar to braces. There are many factors that determine the ultimate cost. The Invisalign cost Dallas patients can expect ranges from $3,000 to $8,000. The complexity of the case, insurance coverage, length of time of treatment, and where you live can affect the price you pay.
Payment options range from dental insurance to payment plans, to using a flexible spending account (FSA) for setting aside pre-tax dollars. With an FSA, you can put aside up to $2,550 in pretax dollars.5
In short, the more complex the case, the more treatment will cost. Theoretically, Invisalign for just your top teeth should cost less than treatment for both the top and bottom. The actual price can only be determined through a consultation with a dentist who is Invisalign-trained. However, you could use Invisalign’s Cost Calculator to obtain an estimate based on various factors.
Dentist Certification Process to Prescribe Invisalign
A dentist must be trained to become an Invisalign Provider. To attain this designation, a dentist must complete a provider course to learn about the treatment process and maintaining and submitting patient records. All providers are required to take the company’s Invisalign Fundamentals course.6
To become a Preferred Provider, doctors must submit treatment results on a regular basis. These results are reviewed by Align Technology, the company responsible for providing Invisalign aligners and the CAD/CAM milling system compatible iTero intraoral scanner. One must also attend ongoing clinical training classes to earn and maintain their designation. As dentists become more experienced, they can qualify to become Premier or Elite Preferred Providers.
Consult with Smiles Family Dental for State-of-the-Art Teeth Straightening
Smiles Family Dental is a leading provider of family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and specialty treatments including implants, laser gum therapy, and Invisalign. Located in Arlington, Las Colinas, and Flower Mound, we tailor each treatment to every patient’s unique needs and backgrounds. We are an Invisalign 2017 Premier Provider. For a consultation, request an appointment with your local office online today!