Unlike traditional braces that come with metal brackets and wires, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-made aligners (or trays). Here's more on how Invisalign clear aligners work.
Learn how clear aligner treatment, such as Invisalign®, can straighten your smile.
Clear Aligner FAQs
What exactly is a clear aligner treatment?
Clear aligner treatment is the virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth and achieve the smile you've always wanted without metal braces.
Advanced 3D computer imaging technology depicts your complete treatment plan, from the initial position of your teeth to the final desired position.
Based on this plan, a series of clear plastic aligners will be made to fit your teeth exactly during each stage of your treatment process.
These clear aligners are nearly invisible when worn, and you can remove them to eat, brush and floss your teeth.
How do clear aligners work?
A series of clear plastic aligners are custom-made to fit your teeth, and to move them little by little as your treatment progresses.
Each aligner is worn for about two weeks before it is replaced by the next in the series. This continues until the final, corrected position of your teeth is reached.
Your treatment time will be determined by your doctor based on your specific needs.
How long does it take to straighten my teeth?
Treatment time will be determined by your doctor based on your specific needs.
If your misalignment is mild, it could only take a few month. If it's more severe, it could take up to a year or more.
In general, clear orthodontic treatment takes about the same amount of time as treatment with traditional braces does.
How often do I have to visit the dentist?
Your dentist will schedule appointments with you every 12-18 weeks.
Since clear aligners typically require no adjustments or tightening (you just switch to a new set of aligners every 7-14 days instead), this appointment will be relatively brief.
Your dentist will just use these appointments to monitor your progress and general oral health, answer your questions, and potentially make adjustments to your treatment if you are ahead of or behind schedule.
What are clear aligners made of?
Clear aligners are made with USP Class VImedical-grade, high molecular weight, polyurethane resins and are BPA free.
What are the benefits of a this type of treatment?
Clear orthodontic aligners are:
- Practically invisible when worn;
- Comfortable to wear;
- Require infrequent and short dental visits;
- Require no adjustment appointments (you simply change to a new aligner every other week); and
- Removable for eating, brushing and flossing.
How will clear orthodontics fit my lifestyle?
Almost seamlessly! First of all, because they're almost impossible to see when worn, many people won't even notice you're undergoing orthodontic treatment, as so the social repercussions are negligible.
Secondly, you can take your aligners out whenever you need to eat, or brush and floss your teeth. That means absolutely no dietary restrictions, and brushing and flossing as just as easy as ever.
How much does this type of treatment cost?
This will depend on the severity of your case and duration of your treatment.
In short, the more severe the malocclusion, the more aligners you'll need and the more treatment will cost.
Ultimately, though clear aligner orthodontics is comparable to that of traditional orthodontic treatment (braces).
Can adults opt for clear aligner treatment?
Yes! Anyone who has healthy teeth and gums is a potential candidate for clear aligner orthodontic treatment.
More and more adults are deciding to undergo orthodontic treatment these days, in large part because lower profile options have become available.
What about treatment for teenagers?
Yes! Teens can certainly be candidates for clear aligner orthodontic treatment. In fact, there are options for clear aligners specifically designed to meet the unique needs of teenagers, such as Invisalign® Teen.
Are there any food or drink restrictions?
Clear aligners are removable, meaning you can take them out to eat. As a result, there are no dietary restrictions, so you can continue to eat all the foods you love!
Clear aligners can sometimes stain, however, so make sure you take them out to drink things like wine, coffee, or dark pop.
Can I play sports with clear aligners?
Clear aligners are removable so you can play sports without worrying about causing damage to your aligners. However, keep in mind that your aligners must be kept in for about 22 hours a day, so plan your time carefully.
You'll also want to invest in a sports mouth guard to protect your teeth, as orthodontic treatment can cause your teeth to loosen slightly as they shift into their new positions, and this can make them more susceptible to damage.
Can I play my instrument during treatment?
Yes! Simply remove your aligners to practice playing your instrument, and pop them back in when you're done!
How many sets of aligners will I need?
This will depend on the severity of your misalignment.
Only your dentist can give you an accurate estimate of how long treatment will take, based on a careful evaluation of your bite during an initial consultation.
How often do I have to change my aligners?
Most patients change to their next set of aligners every 7-14 days or so. Your dentist will tell you exactly how often you should switch out your aligners.
How do I clean my aligners?
- Rinse your aligners each time you remove them to wash away dry saliva and plaque that can result in dental decay and bad breath.
- Soak your aligners using denture cleaner, Retainer Brite, and/or the official Invisalign cleaning crystals.
- Brush and floss your teeth before you put your aligners back in. Good oral hygiene is key to maintaining healthy teeth and avoiding cavities and decay. Failing to brush and floss properly can trap food debris and bacteria between your teeth and aligner, increasing your risk of dental problems and bad breath.
- Clean your aligners with a clear, anti-bacterial soft soap. Clear anti-bacterial soap is an excellent and inexpensive way to keep your aligners clear, fresh, and free from harmful bacteria.
- Brush your aligners gently so as not to scratch them, and then rinse off the soap. Then you're done!
How do I store my aligners?
Your clear aligners will come with a case, and this is where you should put your aligners whenever you take them out to keep them safe.
News & Resource Information
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