What is Invisalign?
Invisalign® is a more conservative alternative to the traditional braces for correcting tooth alignment. Unlike braces that straighten teeth with medal brackets and elastic bands, Invisalign is made of a clear thermoplastic material that is virtually undetectable to the eye. With a series of customized aligners that work to straighten your smile, Invisalign offers the convenience of straighter teeth with no permanent fixtures or unwanted attention the mouth. A consultation with dentist Dr. Frank DiCicco can determine if Invisalign is right for you.
Invisalign vs. Braces
Both Invisalign as well as braces are used to straighten teeth and correct jawline abnormalities. Though final results are essentially very similar, the process of each method might not be for everybody. The chart below will compare/contrast the two and help you determine if Invisalign or braces is right for you.
Clear and/or invisible
|Silver for metal brackets. Rubber bands come in a variety of colors for your choosing.|
|22-24 hour a day for an average of 6-18 months, depending on patient.||
Duration of treatment
|24/7 for an average of 2 years, depending on patient.|
|Daily routine of brushing and/or rinsing trays in lukewarm water. Invisalign Cleaning system can be helpful.||
Regular brushing of brackets and wires. A Water Pick can be helpful.
|Aligners should be changed every 2 weeks. Average visit once every 4-6 weeks.||
Follow up visits
|Average visit once every 4 weeks|
|Positioner or retainer likely needed to maintain results, maybe only at night||Post-treatment||Positioner or retainer likely needed to maintain results, maybe only at nigh|
NOT ideal for
How Does Invisalign Work?
Whether you are considering Invisalign for the first time or are already in the Invisalign process, it is important to know exactly how Invisalign is working to straighten your teeth. During the very beginning of your Invisalign treatment, your orthodontist will examine the current state of your teeth and take virtual 3D prints of your mouth. Your orthodontist will then map out a process for shifting your teeth into a suitable position. Over the course of your treatment, you will be provided a series of aligners or trays every few weeks that are different from the last. An Invisalign treatment can have anywhere between 10 and 45 trays, depending on the severity of the case. Each aligner serves the purpose of making slight adjustments to the position of specific teeth. Each new aligner works off the progress of the last, ultimately working together to straighten the teeth completely. It is important to note in order to see the full effects of the Invisalign aligners, the patient must wear them in place for at least 22 hours a day. They are to only be removed when eating or drinking anything that isn’t water and must be thoroughly cleaned upon returning to the mouth. Like any other teeth straightening treatment, oral tenderness is to be expected. Invisalign pain is caused by pressure exerted after a new aligner is put in place.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
No two people have the same orthodontic needs, so no two treatments will last the same duration. The length of Invisalign treatment ultimately depends on the severity of each independent case. Only your orthodontist can give you a precise idea of how long your Invisalign treatment will take. The average duration is anywhere between 12-24 months. Regardless of your treatment length, Invisalign results will still be effective and you will end up with a straighter smile.
What conditions can Invisalign treat?
Gaps between the teeth begin to enlarge when the jawbone continues to grow abnormally, thus resulting in the teeth spreading apart to accommodate the growing jawbone. Missing teeth can also cause wide spacing issues. When a tooth falls out, the surrounding teeth may begin to shift due to the extra space. Using Invisalign for gap concerns is recommended.
Overbites occur when the top row of teeth significantly bite over the lower row of teeth. It is usually caused by one or a combination of genetics, bad oral hygiene, or an excessively large bone that supports the top row of teeth. Can Invisalign fix overbites? Yes. Using Invisalign for overbite concerns is recommended for candidates.
Underbites are essentially the opposite of overbites. They occur when the lower row of teeth protrude past the front row of teeth. It’s caused by one or a combination of an overgrowth of the lower jawbone and an undergrowth of the upper jawbone. Invisalign trays work to align the jaws into a natural position.
Open bites happen when some teeth, usually the front teeth, are not able to make physical contact with the opposite row of teeth to complete a proper bite. This is usually caused by one or a combination of abnormal genetics or excessive thumb-sucking at an earlier stage in tooth development. Invisalign can be used to correct open bites.
Overly crowded teeth is another type of spacing issue. There is a lack of available room within the jaw for proper teeth alignment, so they begin to shift and overlap, eventually causing crooked teeth. Using Invisalign for overcrowding is recommended for candidates.
Crossbites occur when both the upper jaws and the lower jaws are misaligned. It causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth. Using Invisalign for crossbite concerns is recommended.
Pros and Cons of Invisalign
While Invisalign braces can help you achieve the perfect smile you’ve always wanted, it isn’t for everybody. Like any other orthodontic treatment, there are both upsides and there are downsides. Invisalign pros and cons include:
- Clear in color and virtually undetectable
- Safe for athletes
- No scratching and/or tearing of oral tissues
- Eat whatever you want
- Fewer maintenance emergencies (no poking wires or broken brackets)
- Mild weight loss side effect due to less snacking throughout the day (stems from no unnecessary snacking because of constant cleaning after eating)
- Invested cooperation. The teeth will not move when the aligners are not in place.
- Superb oral hygiene. Not cleaning the trays after eating/drinking can stain both the teeth and the trays as well as speed up the tooth decaying with trapped food particles
- Some tooth movements are not compatible i.e. tooth rotations
- Average cost is higher than conventional braces
- New trays cause pressure, tenderness, and pain on the teeth and gums
- New trays every 2 weeks means more frequent periods of oral tenderness and pain
How much does Invisalign Cost?
Invisalign cost is not stagnant. Not all Invisalign providers will offer the treatment for the same price. Cost of Invisalign treatments rely on many factors such as the location of the practice, level of experience the doctor has, and the length/complexity of the case. To have a better understanding about how much an Invisalign treatment will cost you, call and inquire about a consultation with Dr. Frank DiCicco to establish what dental corrections need to be made specifically for your teeth.
Average cost of Invisalign
New York City average: $5,500
National average: $5,000
Does insurance cover Invisalign?
If you have a dental insurance plan, it is best to contact your insurance provider to see if they cover all or a partial cost of your Invisalign clear braces. Many dental plans cover a portion of the cost, offering anywhere between an average of $500-$1,500 toward your total bill.
How to care for and clean Invisalign braces and retainers
Taking proper care of your Invisalign trays correlates with a committed hygiene routine, both win inside and outside of your mouth. Sanitation is key in the Invisalign cleaning process. When the aligners are ready to be placed back into the mouth after eating/drinking, the teeth must be thoroughly brushed and flossed. This prevents any staining of both the teeth and trays as well as speeding up the decaying process. When the trays are placed into an uncleaned mouth, the trays actually serve as a barrier keeping food particles stuck in your teeth and gums. This immobile food debris begins to decompose without being able to move away from the teeth. Cleaning Invisalign trays when they are not in the mouth is also very necessary in order to prevent bacteria from entering the mouth. There is an Invisalign cleaner called the Invisalign Cleaning System, which basically contains safe sanitizing crystals that thoroughly disinfect the trays. Cleaning trays is not depended on this solution however and can be cleaned manually. As a secondary method, brushing your aligners with toothpaste and running them under lukewarm water is enough to sanitize them. Knowing how to clean Invisalign aligners are extremely important to their overall effectiveness.