Thinking about ditching the metal braces but still want a straighter smile? Invisalign might be the answer for you! 

This popular clear aligner system has become a go-to option for adults and teens alike. But how exactly does it work? And is it the right choice for you?

This comprehensive guide will take you on a deep dive into the world of Invisalign. We’ll explore the science behind how these clear trays transform your smile, along with the upsides and downsides to consider. 

By the end, you’ll be armed with all the information you need to decide if Invisalign can help you achieve your dream smile.

Note: When considering orthodontic treatment options, prioritize pros and cons, ask questions, and gather all necessary information to make an informed decision. It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons and have all the necessary information to make an informed choice.

If you have any questions or you would like a second opinion, make an appointment to see a highly experienced orthodontist by calling us (604-733-1022) or booking an online appointment.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a modern orthodontic treatment that uses clear, custom-made aligners to gradually move teeth into their desired positions. 

Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners are made of smooth, virtually invisible plastic material, allowing straightening without drawing attention to the smile. 

Its removability makes maintaining oral hygiene easier than traditional braces and reduces the risk of cavities during orthodontic treatment. 

A woman wearing an Invisalign

How Does Invisalign Work?

The Invisalign treatment begins with a consultation with a dentist to assess the suitability of the treatment. 

A digital scan is performed, which is then transferred to the Invisalign ‘ClinCheck‘ software. This 3D interface helps customize the treatment, calculating the necessary force for each tooth’s movement. 

A computer simulation allows the patient to see the final smile design. Once satisfied, aligners are ordered and inserted at the dental clinic. 

The fit is checked, and attachments may be applied for better alignment. The aligner is changed every 1-2 weeks and worn for a minimum of 22 hours daily, only being removed for drinking, eating, and brushing. 

The longer the aligners are in place, the faster teeth move. The treatment typically takes around 12 months, but can be quicker. Once the last aligner is worn, teeth appear straighter, but a retainer is needed to keep them in place. 

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

Consultation and Planning

The journey starts with a visit to an orthodontist. They’ll examine your teeth, take X-rays, and discuss your goals. Using digital scans or impressions of your teeth, a 3D treatment plan is created, outlining the specific movements needed for each tooth.

Crafting Your Aligners

Based on the treatment plan, a series of custom-made aligners are fabricated. Each aligner is slightly different from the last, applying targeted pressure to gradually shift your teeth. The material used is typically a clear, smooth plastic that’s comfortable to wear.

The Aligner Switch

You’ll wear each set of aligners for a prescribed period, usually around one to two weeks. As you wear them consistently, gentle pressure is exerted on your teeth, prompting them to move in the desired direction.

Monitoring Progress

Regular check-ups with your orthodontist are essential to monitor your progress and ensure the aligners are working effectively. They might make adjustments to the treatment plan or provide new aligner sets if needed.

Maintaining Your New Smile

After completing your Invisalign treatment, you’ll likely need to wear retainer(s) to maintain your new smile. These retainers help prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original positions.

How Does Invisalign Straighten Teeth?

As you are probably aware, Invisalign moves teeth using clear plastic alignment trays. It can do this by pressing them into your gums, twisting them, tipping or pivoting them, or pulling them further out.

The series of trays have different shapes. The trays in the series have various shapes. So tray number 1 will now resemble your teeth, but the final tray will look straight. You get closer and closer to your ultimate desired shape with those in between. 

Each tray is 0.25 mm different, so for every four trays, your teeth move 1 mm. This makes Invisalign a short-term choice compared to traditional orthodontic braces.

The periodontal ligament, a cushion between the bone and the root, plays a role in the movement of teeth. The process starts with pressure exerted from the trays pushing your teeth. You may even find that when you wobble your teeth during Invisalign, they’ll feel even looser, which is completely normal. It takes time for the bone to harden around the teeth, so immediate retention is crucial.

Invisalign attachments are small buttons of composite material stuck to the fronts of your teeth, similar to a white filling but without drilling or injections. They are used as a lever to move your teeth, with different positions and angles. The trays lock into the attachments and push against them to aid tooth movement. At the end of the treatment, the attachments are removed without a trace.

IPR, or interproximal reduction, is a treatment that reshapes the sides of your teeth to create space for straightening them. It is typically used in crowded mouths where space is limited.

Invisalign vs. Braces

Both Invisalign and braces are effective orthodontic treatments for achieving a straighter smile. But with distinct approaches, choosing the right one depends on your individual needs and lifestyle. Let’s delve into the key differences between Invisalign and braces:

Appearance

Invisalign’s clear aligners are practically invisible, making them a popular choice for adults who are self-conscious about having braces. 

Braces, on the other hand, come in various options like metal, ceramic, or even lingual (placed behind the teeth), offering some level of discretion and brackets and wires are adhered to teeth and are visible.

Comfort

Invisalign’s smooth plastic trays are generally more comfortable to wear than traditional braces, which can cause irritation to the cheeks and gums from brackets and wires.

Treatment Time

Invisalign’s treatment duration depends on the severity of the case and can be as short as six months, but typically ranges from 12 to 18 months. 

Braces treatment duration depends on  the severity of the case and can be as short as six months, but the treatment time of difficult cases can last for up to five years.

Cost

Both invisalign and braces range between $3,000 and $7,000.

Removable vs. Fixed

 A major advantage of Invisalign is that the aligners are removable for eating, brushing, and flossing. Braces are fixed to your teeth, requiring more specific cleaning methods.

When is Too Late for Gum Grafting?

What Are the Disadvantages of Wearing Invisalign?

1- Speech Issues

Invisalign treatment may affect speech, with some patients experiencing slight pronunciation shifts, but most don’t. 

The most common speech problem is related to their ‘s’ sounds, and Invisalign may cause a slight lisp during treatment. This can last for the duration of the process, but most go away within the first week.

2- Discomfort

Even though the Invisalign retainer is smooth and comfortable, your cheeks and tongue might not get used to having an alien object in your mouth all the time. You might have rough worn inside cheeks and occasionally get small cuts on your tongue.

Although it’s not the most severe side effect that can occur with Invisalign, it can still cause irritation and discomfort, especially if you have to deal with it all the time. 

During the beginning of your therapy, it is more normal to catch the inside of your cheeks when opening and closing your mouth; this can go away with time. This also applies to injuries to your tongue caused by biting.

3- Allergic Reactions

An Invisalign retainer allergic reaction is unlikely but not impossible. It’s important to test the plastic on your skin before full treatment to ensure no reaction. 

4- Bleeding and Receding Gums

The ‘alien’ retainer in your mouth can cause gum inflammation, soreness, and bleeding. Consult your doctor or dentist if you’re concerned about the potential effects on your gums, as most gum damage can be easily and effectively remedied.

5- Headaches and Jaw Pain

Invisalign often causes pain in the teeth and jaw, which can spread to other areas like the head and neck. 

Patients may also experience headaches and migraines related to their treatment. 

If you’re a migraine sufferer, you might want to reconsider Invisalign if you’re a long-time migraine sufferer.

6- Not for everyone

Invisalign may not be suitable for complex orthodontic issues. In these cases, traditional braces might be a better option.

7- Maintaining Hygiene

You  need to take your aligners out to brush and floss your teeth, and the aligners themselves need to be cleaned regularly. Not cleaning them properly can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.

Who is Invisalign Suitable for?

Invisalign treatment addresses common dental conditions like overcrowded teeth, crossbite, underbite, open bite, deep bite, and gapped teeth. Eligible candidates can benefit from a free consultation to determine if Invisalign is suitable for them.

Booking an appointment is easy at Enhance Dental Center. Our patients receive top-notch dental care, personalized appointments, and expert dental practitioners. You can book online or call our team on 604-733-1022.

Conclusion

This comprehensive guide has covered everything you need to know about how Invisalign works, from the initial consultation to achieving your dream smile. Invisalign offers a discreet and comfortable path to a straighter, healthier smile. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, Invisalign may be the perfect option for you. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist today to see if you’re a candidate and discuss your Invisalign journey!

FAQs

1- Do you sleep with Invisalign?

The nearly continuous pressure is what makes Invisalign effective. As a result, you must wear the aligners while you sleep.

2- Has anyone lost a tooth with Invisalign?

If decay or gum disease is missed in a physical check-up, people risk losing some of their teeth. 

3- Who is not a good candidate for Invisalign?

Invisalign might not be ideal for severe alignment issues, ongoing dental problems, those with difficulty following treatment plans, or people with certain dental restorations.