Common Questions Asked by Patients About the Invisalign Clear Aligner System
On this page, we answer common questions we hear from our patients about the Invisalign technology. To learn more about the process, visit one of the following pages:
How do the aligners straighten teeth?
The aligners straighten the teeth by applying pressure from the specially designed plastic aligners, encouraging the teeth to move into a slightly different position each aligner at a time.
Sequentially, one aligner at a time, the teeth move from crooked to straight teeth by applying the pressure on the teeth.
It is important that the aligners are worn 20 -22 hours per day to allow the pressure to result in movement of the teeth.
Compliance with wearing the aligners is the most important factor in the success of your Invisalign clear aligner treatment!
How long will treatment take?
It depends on the severity of each case. Minor crowding or small gaps may take only 7 aligners and if the aligner is worn for 7 days each, the treatment can take as little as 7 weeks!
Relapse cases for people that have already had braces when they were teenagers and did not wear retainers often need only small corrections and these can be resolved in just 7 weeks!
Severe crowding can take anywhere between 20 to 50 aligners.
We offer a Free Smile Assessment and our doctor can assess your situation and advise on different options that mat resolve your concerns and give you some idea on how many aligners you may need to correct your crowding or spacing problems.
What are the primary benefits of Invisalign?
Comfort. Most patients who have had both normal braces as well as Invisalign treatment report that the Invisalign clear aligners were much more comfortable than the braces, and it was their treatment of choice for orthodontic movement.
Flexibility. Because the aligners are removable, patients can eat whatever they choose and live life as normal because they can remove aligners at any time, for short periods of time or for special occasions like wedding days.
Aesthetics. Clear aligners are nearly invisible and patients love the fact that most people do not even know that they are wearing something that is actually straightening their teeth. Going on a holiday wearing aligners, taking photos… is no longer an issue with Invisalign clear aligner orthodontic treatment.
Is Invisalign better than traditional metal braces?
According to many patients that have had both treatments for orthodontic teeth movements, the answer is a definite YES!
The reason the patients prefer the Invisalign clear aligner treatment instead of the traditional metal braces is because of the the benefits described above.
What are aligners made of, and what do they look like?
Most people think an aligner looks like a retainer or like teeth whitening trays. These are all made out of plastic, however, even if they look similar, the properties of the plastic material is what makes the difference in what it is used for and how effective it is at what it is supposed to be doing.
Too soft or too hard, each property has its use.
Therefore beware that all clear aligners, even if the clear plastic looks similar, they are NOT the same!
The Invisalign clear aligners are made out of a patented plastic material called SmartTrack®. After testing 260 different materials, Align Technology, Inc. claims their SmartTrack® material on average enables faster treatment*, which means it is the material of choice if you want to get the smile you want even faster.
SmartTrack® is also more comfortable and fits better than other plastic aligner materials**, making Invisalign clear aligners easier to put on and take off when compared to other clear aligner materials, and this is important because comfort is one of my patients main concerns.
The SmartTrack material is specially engineered for the Invisalign system and is based on 8 years of research and development, 260 materials tested and decades of expertise in biomechanics and material science. The plastic itself is a USP Class VI medical grade, Bisphenol-A (BPA) free multilayer of aromatic thermoplastic polyurethane/copolyester resins.
When an aligner made with SmartTrack material is stretched, its elastic properties allows the aligner to return more closely to the programmed aligner shape. The improved elasticity of the SmartTrack medical grade plastic results in the tooth following more closely the programmed movement designed by the dentist.
There are many “copycats” on the market, but do not be fooled. Aligners may all look the same, but the force that the material provides on the tooth is not the same, they can distort significantly and may not regain their shape after taking them on and off for a period of time, making the aligners less effective at working on the tooth movements.
I believe Invisalign’s SmartStage™ technology and the SmartForce® features are unmatched by any other of Invisalign’s competitors and it is what makes the Invisalign clear aligner system the most advanced system when it comes to clear aligners.
This directly relates to the results patients achieve. I found inferior clear aligner products give inferior results, even if they all look the same.
How will Invisalign effectively move my teeth?
he Invisalign system effectively moves teeth because of their outstanding technology in these 3 key areas, that are all equally important. The pressure the aligners place on the teeth to move the teeth is controlled to a certain extend by these 3 key elements:
1. SmartStage™ Technology allows the programming of each tooth movement in a certain sequence, at the right time, to achieve greater predictability and optimal outcomes. Invisalign’s Clincheck software is unlike any other and it allows patients to see the results and their new smile before they even get started. In addition, their iTero intraoral scanner (which we have in our clinic) allows outstanding visualisation capabilities and simulation of the possible end results within just 10 minutes! Just come in for a Free Smile Assessment and request to see your Outcome Simulation with our Itero and see what you new smile could look like instantly!
2. SmartForce® Features such as attachments and other features designed into the Invisalign clear aligners allows the aligners to deliver the precise forces when needed, to achieve more predictable tooth movements. The Invisalign system is the only system in the world with features such as Precision Cuts, Bite Ramps, Power Ridges etc. to help make your tooth movements more predictable and therefore more effective than any other clear aligner systems on the market. This means better and faster results with the Invisalign Clear Aligner treatment. Most other aligner systems do not offer these, especially the ones such as the “over the counter” or “order online systems” like the Smile Direct Club, so be aware of you are getting… because in my opinion, without these features, most aligners do not work as effectively, and patients DO get disappointed and dissatisfied.
3. SmartTrack® Material is Invisalign’s patented plastic aligner material that moves teeth faster than other plastic aligners*. SmartTrack allows the aligner to engage with the tooth, and the active surface of the attachments to create the right force system to make the tooth movements most effective. SmartForce® Features together with SmartTrack material are clinically proven to improve control of tooth movements and achieves 75% more predictable tooth movement than with other clear aligner materials**. This is the reason we stick with the Invisalign clear aligner system.
Can Invisalign close the gap between my front teeth?
Definitely. Invisalign is very effective at closing gaps. Please see our photo gallery to see some of the results.
Can Invisalign make my smile wider?
Definitely. We correct a lot of the crowding by expanding the maxillary and mandibular arches, which is what makes the smile look wider.
How long will treatment take? How many aligners straighten teeth?
It depends on the severity of each case. Minor crowding or small gaps may take only 7 aligners and if the aligner is worn for 7 days each, the treatment can take as little as seven weeks!
Relapse cases for people that have already had braces when they were teenagers and did not wear retainers often need only small corrections and these can be resolved in 7 weeks!
Severe crowding can take anywhere between 20 to 50 aligners.
We offer a Free Smile Assessment where our doctor can assess your situation and advise on different options that mat resolve your concerns and give you some idea on how many aligners you may need to correct your crowding or spacing problems.
How often are my appointments?
A common misconception is that just because you change your aligners weekly or fortnightly, you need to see the dentist just as often. This is NOT the case. We give our patients a number of aligners to take with them, they change them weekly or fortnightly at home and we will check on how they are tracking with their Invisalign treatment a few times during the course of the treatment but generally appointments are only necessary every 8 weeks.
Will Invisalign treatment be painful?
Most patients experience pressure rather than pain the first two days of starting the Invisalign treatment.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the worst has been reported as 4 out of 10 and only for the first two days the first aligner is worn. This is because the teeth have not been used to pressure being placed on them prior to wearing any aligners.
Patients that have been wearing both traditional braces and then experienced pressure from the aligners always say that the aligners are much less uncomfortable than the traditional braces, and they can handle the pressure with ease in comparison with their previous treatment.
Most patients do not feel discomfort or pain with the following aligners as they get used to it, and as the teeth start moving the pressure becomes unnoticeable.
Can I just wear the aligners while I sleep?
No. We recommend aligners to ideally be worn all the time except when you eat or drink (except water).
This should be 20 -22 hours per day. Anything less than that will not allow adequate time for the orthodontic tooth movement to occur and you will not get predictable results.
After treatment is complete, you can wear retainers while you sleep.
Will wearing Invisalign aligners affect my speech?
Initially yes, your tongue and lips will need to adapt their function to the aligners being now present in your mouth, however, the human body is amazing and it usually adapts within 2 weeks or less. Remember many patients who wear dentures speak perfectly ok, and get used to the dentures quickly, yet dentures are much thicker and bulkier than aligners.
Are there restrictions as to what I can eat while in treatment?
Not really. You do not need to change your diet at all during the Invisalign treatment.
Will smoking stain the aligners?
Yes, and although you can use Aligner Cleaning Tablets to clean your aligners we do not recommend smoking with aligner on or smoking at all. Starting Invisalign may be a good incentive to stop smoking.
Can I drink while wearing my aligners?
Yes, for water only.
No , for any other drinks. For any other colourful, hot or sugary drinks including tea and coffee we recommend removing the aligners to avoid staining of aligners or tooth decay.
Can I drink alcohol when wearing my aligners?
No, we recommend removing the aligners for any drinks other than water.
Can I chew gum while wearing aligners?
Definitely not. The gum can stick to your aligners. Remove aligners first before chewing gum, however this habit should not take more than a few minutes each day. Restrict chewing gum from 5 minutes to maximum 10 minutes each day.
How often must I wear my aligners?
The aligners must be worn every day, for 20 to 22 hours each day. Literally all the time, except when you eat, drink anything other than water, smoke or chew gum.
Can the aligners slip off while I’m asleep?
Unlikely. I have not had any patients report that for the Invisalign Aligners. The Invisalign aligners are made out of the SmartTrack material and very well fitted requiring a little pressure to remove them.
Do Invisalign aligners contain Bisphenol-A (BPA)?
Invisalign aligners do not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalate plasticizers. The Invisalign aligners are made with a Class VI medical grade multilayer of aromatic thermoplastic polyurethane/copolyester resins and it is Bisphenol-A (BPA) free.
What’s the best way to clean my aligners?
The best way to clean your aligners is with an aligner brush and luke warm water. Do not use hot boiling water on your aligners. There are specially designed cleaning tablets that you can soak your aligners in for 10 minutes daily to kill the germs and bacteria, prevent discolouration and odor of the aligners and clean and brighten the aligners.
Will I need to wear a retainer after treatment to prevent my teeth from moving again?
Yes. Most definitely. Retainers are for life and are usually worn at night time, during sleep. There are different types of retainers, some are permanently bonded to your teeth, but generally most retainers are removable and worn during the night. When you stop wearing the retainers you will notice relapse which means the teeth are starting to shift back and move into a crowded position again. The only way to prevent this is to wear your retainers.
Since having my braces removed, my teeth have shifted. Can Invisalign fix this?
Yes. Most definitely. Invisalign can fix this within just a few aligners, depending on how much the teeth have shifted.
I currently have veneers. Will Invisalign aligners work with them?
Yes, Invisalign aligners work on moving teeth that have veneers or bonding or crowns as long as they are in good condition.
I currently have bridgework on several teeth. Will Invisalign still work?
Yes, Invisalign will work but it will be up to the dentist to plan accurately which teeth can be moved and which can not. Bridgework and Dental Implants are not a contraindication for Invisalign clear aligner treatment and even if these false teeth can not be moved, the natural teeth around them can be. Our dentists can work out the best results and options possible using Invisalign’s Clincheck and SmartStage™ Technology prior to treatment so our patients can virtually see the outcome prior to starting the Invisalign treatment.
How much will Invisalign cost? are financing options available? how does my insurance work?
Depending on the complexity of the treatment Invisalign can cost anywhere from $2500 to $9000.
A number of Finance Options are available for payment of your Invisalign treatment with or without deposit being required.
Insurance companies that cover for orthodontic treatment usually have a lifetime limit that you may be able to claim towards your treatment. Depending on what insurance company they are, the level of cover you have and how long you have had the cover for, you may be entitled to claim anywhere between $500 to $4500 towards your Invisalign treatment.