Here are some of the most common questions about determining if Invisalign treatment is right for you, as well as some common questions for those already in treatment.
- Will Invisalign correct an overbite, overjet, deep bite, crowding, spacing?
- Can I get Invisalign for only the top or bottom row?
- Will insurance cover Invisalign?
- How many hours do I have to wear Invisalign for? Can I wear them just at night?.
- How often do I have to change aligners?
- How often do I have to visit the office?
- How much does Invisalign cost?
- Does Invisalign hurt?
- How noticeable is Invisalign?
- How long will it take me to get use to Invisalign? How will Invisalign affect my speech?
- How do I clean the aligners?
- Can I eat, drink or smoke with aligners in?
- What should I look for in an Invisalign doctor?
- Am I too old for Invisalign?
- Do I need retainers after my treatment?
- Do I still need to visit my dentist during Invisalign treatment?
- What do I do if an attachment falls off?
- What do I do if Invisalign tray doesn’t fit?
- What do I do if I have lost or broken my current aligner?
- My aligner is cutting me, what do I do?
- Can I stop wearing my aligners after I finish the last one?
- Is it ok if the doctor delegates my treatment to an assistant or dental hygienist?
- Is it better for me to get Invisalign or braces?
Will Invisalign correct an overbite, overjet, deep bite, crowding, spacing?
It’s important to reframe this question by asking the doctor or office you are working with whether they can use Invisalign to correct XYZ. Invisalign by itself is a technique, so being an Invisalign candidate depends on two factors. The first is the initial state and condition of your teeth. The second is the experience for your doctor and team using Invisalign to correct the initial state and condition of your teeth. Look at Invisalign as a highly advanced tool, that when in the right hands, can produce excellent results. Consider the top piano player in the world. They’d certainly be able to produce great music with the best piano in the world. Give someone less experienced that same piano, and they’ll tell you they can’t play the same music. In other words, while there are some situation where Invisalign is not as ideal, an experienced doctor will be able to correct many of the issues described above comfortably, using Invisalign.
Can I get Invisalign for only the top or bottom row?
It is possible to get orthodontic treatment for only the upper or the lower. However, sometimes moving teeth in one jaw may affect the way the teeth bite together. For example, if you have spaces between your top teeth, with none on the bottom, and have your bottom teeth already touching the inside of the top teeth when you’re biting, closing the space on the top will bring the top teeth back to clash more with the bottom teeth so that you cannot touch your back teeth together, or bring you into an underbite (top teeth inside the bottom).
Most often, it is recommended to have treatment on the top and on the bottom, but there are some situations that allow for single arch treatment only. Keep in mind that treatment for just the top or the bottom is not generally half the cost of treatment for upper and lower.
Will insurance cover Invisalign?
If your plan has orthodontic coverage, Invisalign would be covered just like it would for braces.
How many hours do I have to wear Invisalign for? Can I wear them just at night?
The teeth don’t know what is asking them to move, they just feel pressure on them. With Invisalign, we are trying to simulate movement with braces that are on the teeth all the time. It is not recommended to wear them during eating, and they should be removed when brushing/flossing, which together, should take about 2 hours per day. With that in mind the recommended time is 22 hours per day. Anything below 20 hours per day will result in aligners not tracking properly over the course of the next several aligners until they no longer fit properly.
Tooth movement requires continuous, gentle pressure. Wearing aligners for 11 hours per day for 2 weeks is not the same as wearing aligners 22 hours per day for 1 week. With the former, teeth will move according to plan when worn, and then relapse back while they are not being used.
How often do I have to change aligners?
The most common aligner change times are 1 week and 2 weeks. Sometimes, they can be changed as quickly as 3-4 days, and others can be worn for 3-4 weeks. The plan for aligner changes is determined by the doctor who has planned your treatment. A plan with 50 aligners changed weekly, is the same as a plan of 25 aligners changed every two weeks. There is an advantage with the 50 aligners, as a fresh tray can be changed more often, and that pressure is more gradual. However, it also means there will be some new pressure on a weekly basis.
How often do I have to visit the office?
The most common durations between visits are 4 to 12 weeks. This is going to depend on the stage of your treatment, the comfort level and experience of your doctor, as well the plan of your treating doctor.
How long is Invisalign treatment?
Again, the teeth don’t know what is moving them. They just feel pressure. Therefore, the length of treatment depends on exactly what needs to be done, how compliant you are with your treatment, and the ability of your doctor to move your treatment along properly. Most treatment times mirror that of braces, with some specific situations where Invisalign actually works faster, and others where it may take longer.
How much does Invisalign cost?
As Invisalign is not sold directly to the public, and is a tool being used by your doctor, the cost of Invisalign treatment will differ depending on a number of factors including the experience of your doctor, the complexity of your treatment, and geographical location.Generally, you will pay more for treatment with an orthodontist, and less from a general dentist. You’ll also want to consider the cost of any x-rays, photos, and retainers.
It is difficult to compare costs between offices because no two doctors and their team will give you the same results. It is like finding two hairdressers, and asking how much the scissors cost when what you’re really looking for, is the result… a nice hair cut. At the end of the day, you’re not buying Invisalign, but buying the expertise of the doctor and team to provide you with the result of a beautiful, healthy smile.
Does Invisalign hurt?
Invisalign involves tooth movement, so just like braces, there will be some discomfort associated with tooth movement. However, treatment is generally more comfortable because there are not braces and wires poking against the tongue, lips, and cheeks. Also, because new aligners are changed more often than you would get traditional braces tightened, there is less pressure each time.
How noticeable is Invisalign?
While it is not completely invisible, Invisalign is one of the most discreet ways to complete orthodontic treatment. Generally, people will not notice your Invisalign or attachments, unless they are Invisalign providers, or have worn/wear Invisalign themselves.
How long will it take me to get use to Invisalign? How will Invisalign affect my speech?
As with anything new, there is a slight adjustment period. Generally, it will take a couple of days to get used to the aligners, but there are some patients that speak like naturals right after putting the aligners on, while others take up to a week or two to get more accustomedto them.
The more they are worn, and the more patients actlike there’s nothing on their teeth, the more quickly they will adapt to the aligners.
How do I clean the aligners?
Aligners should be cleaned with a clean toothbrush and water. Toothpaste is not advised, because the abrasives in the toothpaste can causes scratches in the aligner that will make it less clear, and allow pockets for bacteria to pool up.
Soaking aligners in water with a retainer tablet can also work, but with proper care, and changing aligners every week or two, they are usually not required. These can be found in the toothbrush aisles of most pharmacies. Keep in mind that retainer tablets are different from denture tablets.
Some offices will also provide you with an ultrasonic cleaner, to help keep the aligners even more clean.
Can I eat, drink or smoke with aligners in? It isn’t advisable to eat, drink, or smoke with aligners in. The idea is that food can get caught in between the aligners and the teeth, causing an environment where cavities can form easily. With smoking, from a health perspective, this may be a way to help cut down on the number of cigarettes, since aligners need to be removed each time. Basically, other than regular water, the aligners need to be removed before consuming anything, the teeth should be cleaned up nicely, and then aligners replaced.
Am I too old for Invisalign?
Age is not the most important factor for orthodontic treatment. The most important factor is the health and condition of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone. If any of these are an issue, you may need to visit a dentist or gum specialist (periodontist) before Invisalign treatment begins. MCO Orthodontics has treated patients well into their 80s using Invisalign, so age is just a number!
Do I need retainers after my treatment?
With any orthodontic treatment, the teeth have a tendency to want to move. As we age, our bodies never tend to get better, they always tend to get worse. Using retainers is a way to minimize the movement of the teeth. Generally, retainers are recommended full time for a specific time period, followed by nightly wear on an indefinite basis.
There are a number of different retainer options. Most Invisalign patients opt for clear retainers that are slightly thicker, but similar in fit to the Invisalign trays.
Do I still need to visit my dentist during Invisalign treatment?
Invisalign treatment is orthodontic treatment. During these visits, cleanings and examination of the teeth for cavities is generally not performed. It is important to continue regular visits with your dentist even during orthodontic treatment.
I’m in treatment and have a question!
What do I do if an attachment falls off?
If an attachment comes off, it is best to let your office know. Generally, it is advisable for them to be replaced within 1 to 2 trays. However, there are times that specific attachments do not need to be replaced, or can be replaced when a refinement or mid-course plan is being done. Again, it is best to seek the advice of your treating office.
What do I do if Invisalign tray doesn’t fit?
Lack of fit is generally due to movements of the teeth not mirroring that of the simulation. This can be due to improper planning of the movements, or lack of compliance with 22 hours of daily wear.
There are rare occasions where there is a manufacturing issue, as the aligners are mass produced. Check to make sure that the correct tray number is being inserted, and that all the attachment wells are hollow. There are instances where the incorrect tray is packaged, and the resin for the attachment well is not hollowed out.
It is a good idea to contact your treating office so they can take a look to see how things are going.
What do I do if I have lost or broken my current aligner?
It is advisable to always keep your previous aligner in case you break your current. Depending on the stage of your treatment, it is usually ok to proceed to the next aligner, and wear that one for a longer period of time. For example, if you have broken the top aligner 3 days into a one week cycle, keep wearing the bottom one as directed, and change to the next top aligner, wearing that one for the remaining 4 days of the week, and continue to wear it for a full one week as if the aligner were switched on schedule.
My aligner is cutting me, what do I do?
The aligner may be cutting due to rough edges or incorrect fit. Gently use a clean nail file to smooth down any sharp edges. In some cases, you may need to visit the office to cut the aligners down, or to take a new scan to order new aligners. That being said, often times, once you get used to the new aligner, your mouth will toughen up to the aligners, and the issue can resolve itself.
Can I stop wearing my aligners after I finish the last one?
In order to keep the teeth in place, something needs to be worn. Just because the last aligner has been used, does not mean you can stop using them. Discuss options for retainers or the schedule for additional aligners with your office.
Is it ok if the doctor delegates my treatment to an assistant or dental hygienist?
In many situations, the work on your teeth is not actually done by a treating doctor. Offices that are highly experienced with Invisalign will have team members who have the specific role of discussing your ClinCheck, scanning your teeth, teaching you how to use your aligners, placing/removing attachments, and checking that treatment is on track. Only a doctor can prescribe and plan your treatment, as well as perform permanent alterations to the teeth, such as IPR or smoothing out of rough edges of the teeth. Look at it like the dental hygienist cleaning your teeth, and the dentist checking your teeth after, doing your fillings, etc. You’d really rather have your hygienist clean your teeth than your dentist, because it is what they are trained to do, and they do it many times a day, day in, day out.
The truth is that the most important part of your Invisalign treatment is the ClinCheck, where the doctor’s planning is done. This is completed between the time of your scan and the initial insertion of your Invisalign. The majority of the planning of your treatment is completed prior to you starting your actual treatment. After that, it is important for an experienced doctor to monitor and correctly prescribe changes to your treatment based upon progress seen at each visit.
Is it better for me to get Invisalign or braces?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, with some depending on each individual patient, and others dependant upon the selection of the provider.
If aesthetics, comfort, and lifestyle are most important, regardless of treatment time and potentially cost, Invisalign is an excellent option. It will require you to wear the aligners 22 hours per day and change your eating/drinking pattern somewhat. If you'd prefer not to have to worry about those types of things, and just let the wires and braces stay on the teeth and "do the work", then braces might be a better option.
While difficult cases can still be treated by experienced Invisalign doctors to the same standard using either Invisalign or braces, there are some situations in which doctors will push Invisalign, because they do not use regular braces, such as general dentists that offer Invisalign after a weekend training course, but do not practice orthodontics regularly, or orthodontists that are not experienced with Invisalign. There are specific situations as described on this site, where Invisalign treatment is better and more efficient. That being said, there are certain situations such as TMJ issues, extremely severe rotations/extrusions, bite issues where patients are extremely sensitive to very small details, and perio-compromised teeth, that may benefit from the use of braces for treatment timing, or ability to modulate treatment more efficiently.