The Truth About Invisalign Clear Aligners

Over the years, we’ve seen traditional braces go through quite a transformation. A far cry from their predecessors, today’s braces are smaller, more attractive, and more efficient than ever before. As exciting as these changes have been, however, some patients are still hesitant about using braces to improve their oral health. If you’ve been exploring the idea of straightening your smile with orthodontics but don’t love the idea of traditional braces, you still have options!  

Dillehay Orthodontics is proud to offer Invisalign clear aligners as an alternative to traditional braces. This innovative system is able to move teeth without the use of any brackets, wires, or bands. While braces have a long track record of successful use, Invisalign is a relatively new treatment option, so not everyone is aware of what it is and how the aligners work to give patients a healthier smile. In fact, we’ve seen quite a few misconceptions floating around out there about Invisalign, so we’re here to clear these up! Keep reading below to learn more about the system, how the aligners work, and why Invisalign can be a great choice for achieving a confident smile.

What is Invisalign? How does it work?

Orthodontists have been using Invisalign clear aligners to straighten teeth since the late 1990s, but similar trays had been used for many years before that as post-treatment retainers. In its early days, Invisalign was mainly used for simple spacing issues or mild crowding only. Once orthodontists recognized its potential, the design was upgraded so that the aligners could move teeth more efficiently. When used as directed, Invisalign aligners are now able to work just as well as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues. There’s now 7 million Invisalign patients all over the world who have the smiles to prove it! 

The software and technology Invisalign uses means we can move crooked teeth in stages using a series of clear, removable aligners. At the end of each stage, the patient switches out the current aligner for the next in the series in order to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. This will allows us to move- crooked and misaligned teeth in stages using nothing more than a series of customized weeks, but the exact time frame will depend on the customized treatment plan our doctors create for each patient. 

How long does treatment with Invisalign take? Is it longer than treatment with braces?

Orthodontic treatment in general can only be successful with a level of commitment from the patient. This kind of patient compliance is especially important with the Invisalign system. Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, with brackets affixed to the actual surface of the teeth. That means most of the hard work is done without too much effort on the patient’s part. 

However, Invisalign aligners are removable. That means each patient is responsible for wearing them the recommended 22 hours a day for the treatment to work properly. Patients who neglect to do so are unlikely to see the results they desire, and may face longer treatment times in general.

Every case we treat is unique, and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. For this reason, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to how long a patient will need to wear braces or aligners. In general, however, most people can expect to use about 7-3 Invisalign aligners over a period of  4–15 months. That’s actually slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!

Does Invisalign cost more than braces?

There are several factors associated with the overall cost of any treatment. As with the total treatment time, there’s no set fee for braces or aligners. The total will vary based on each patient’s specific treatment plan. However, our practice is committed to providing high-quality, affordable orthodontic care to every patient! We offer payment plans to fit every budget, and also accept most major credit cards. If you have insurance that will be covering any portion of your orthodontic treatment, our office staff is always available to help you with insurance claims and paperwork.

Does Invisalign have any advantages over braces?

Because they are removable, Invisalign aligners allow patients an extra measure of freedom and flexibility. Take food restrictions for example, which can be one of the toughest parts of treatment for braces patients. In order to protect the brackets and wires, they must avoid anything crunchy or chewy throughout the treatment process. That means giving up some of their favorite foods and snacks temporarily, which can be frustrating. With Invisalign, this is never an issue! The aligners are simply taken out before eating, then put back in when the patient is done. Patients can eat anything they want (as long as they brush and floss afterwards.)

Removable aligners also make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. It can be difficult to keep the teeth clean when you have to brush and floss around wires, brackets, and bands. With Invisalign, the trays are removed before a patient begins their dental hygiene routine, so it’s as easy as ever to effectively clean the teeth and gums.  Caring for the aligners themselves is a breeze, too! There are special kits designed to clean them, or they can be gently brushed using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

Without any wires or brackets to get in the way, Invisalign’s removable aligners are great for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. Since they can be removed for short periods of time, they are also perfect for any special event when a patient wants their natural smile to shine through, like senior pictures, the prom, or a wedding. 

Can Invisalign work for everyone?

While Invisalign can be an excellent treatment option for most, it does tend to work best for adults and teens whose permanent teeth have all grown in. When you schedule a consultation with us, our doctors will be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for your unique smile or if you would be better served by orthodontic treatment using traditional braces. In many cases, patients are able to choose between braces and Invisalign aligners based on their goals and lifestyle. 

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Whatever method of orthodontic treatment a patient chooses, the teeth always remember their previous places in the mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if nothing is there to stop them. That’s why retainers are essential for lasting results! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. This should be worn exactly as directed by our doctors in order to keep your teeth in place for years to come.

The clear choice for Invisalign is Dillehay Orthodontics

As our most popular alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign’s innovative system continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment. To learn more about the incredible things Invisalign can do for you and your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation! Dillehay Orthodontics is the clear choice for the confident smile you deserve.