29 May, 2018


What is Invisalign?

What is Invisalign?

In the third installment of my blog I am going to talk about a new technology in Orthodontics- Clear Aligners. The most common and well-known clear aligner system in dentistry is Invisalign. The Invisalign system, similar to its competitors, is composed of a series of clear plastic trays that are worn full time. Over the course of many trays your teeth will move to their final position. There are no brackets and no wires for any part of the orthodontic treatment process. For this blog post when I use the word Invisalign I am referring to clear aligners in general. I am going to do more of a Q and A style post today for this topic:

YES! In the hands of an orthodontist who is experienced with Invisalign you can get efficient and amazing results. The most important part is finding an orthodontist who has treated similar cases with clear aligners before. A common misconception is that Invisalign is simply a commodity. In reality, Invisalign at one office is not the same as Invisalign at another. The experience level of the orthodontist, their understanding of orthodontic mechanics, and office systems are some of the initial differences you will see from various providers of Invisalign. When you are looking for a provider first make sure they are an orthodontist and that they have experience treating similar cases to you.
Teeth are moved by applying constant low level forces to them. Teeth do not know if they are being pushed on by metal braces or clear plastic. The key part of the equation is constant force. Invisalign is removable, so making sure that you always have your trays in will allow them to work great. Assuming you are wearing your aligners as prescribed (20-22 hours/day) aligners work similarly to braces.
This answer will differ depending on the office you go to. Additionally, most offices will charge more for Invisalign treatment as compared to traditional metal braces. At Gilbert Orthodontics we charge the same for metal braces, ceramic braces, and Invisalign. This way we put finances aside and pick the treatment modality that is most beneficial for each patient individually. There are also limited cases and full cases. In general you can expect a comprehensive (full) case to cost anywhere from 4-7 thousand dollars. Things such as case complexity, treatment length, use of auxiliaries, and geographic location of an office will all affect the cost of treatment.
Invisalign initially came out as an esthetic alternative for limited orthodontic treatment for adults. Over the past 20 years the capabilities of treatment with clear aligners has increased exponentially. Today, a trained orthodontist in Invisalign is capable of treating the majority of orthodontic problems in adults and children using clear aligners. People sometimes think that kids will always lose or not wear aligners. In reality, we find that children are sometimes our most compliant patients! Parents, however, often know best if their child will be responsible enough to wear their aligners. There are also certain clinical situations in which braces are a better option than aligners. In the end, strictly from a ‘mechanical’ point of view, clear aligners are an efficient way to improve many smiles.
The primary benefit that most people think of is esthetics- Invisalign is virtually invisible. In addition to esthetics it is often easier to brush and floss with Invisalign in comparison to standard brackets and wires. Furthermore, since you take your aligners out to eat there are no food restrictions when undergoing the Invisalign process. Lastly, Invisalign is convenient! With aligners, in comparison to braces, you can typically expect longer intervals in between appointments. This means less time at the Ortho office and more time doing other things you like to do.
Invisalign is a great product when it is worn properly! The biggest disadvantage of treatment is the fact that it is removable. If you are not wearing the trays it will not work. People can lose aligners, get off track, or simply get fed up with the process. We get it and understand being disciplined for so long is a challenge. We offer clear braces and metal braces as alternatives to Invisalign for people who simply do not want to deal with the upkeep of aligners. Additionally, there are some cases that may treat faster with braces as compared to Invisalign.
No! At our office we have a digital scanner that replaces your old-school impressions. With a scanner you can expect a more accurate process as well as a more pleasant one. Having a scanner at the office is becoming more and more common. I recommend you seek an orthodontist with a scanner for your clear aligner treatment because it is more efficient and streamlined than traditional impressions.

Please let me know if there are other questions. Invisalign is a new technology that is here to stay. Over the years the advances have been staggering and orthodontists can now treat the majority of orthodontic cases with clear plastic!