Invisalign treatment is the use of clear plastic trays to move and straighten teeth.
Invisalign uses advanced technology to show the complete treatment process from the initial position to the final planned position from which a number of custom-made aligners (trays) are manufactured. Each tray is used for 2 weeks and moves individual teeth.
Aligners are made of clear, strong medical grade non-toxic plastic that is almost invisible when placed over your teeth.
The duration of treatment depends on each individual patient’s orthodontic issues. Invisalign treatment can vary from between six months to two years with an average treatment taking around 11 to 15 months.
An Invisalign aligner moves teeth through the placement of controlled forces on the teeth like metal braces and ceramic braces which use brackets and arch wires . The main difference is that Invisalign not only controls forces, but also controls the timing of the force applied. With each aligner, only certain teeth are allowed to move, and these movements are determined by the orthodontic treatment plan for that particular aligner. Thus force can be applied efficiently.
The main part of the fee for Invisalign is based upon the consultations needed and the 3-D modelling cost. If your treatment requires one arch or two arches (i.e. treatment to your upper and lower teeth) the price will be almost the same.
Invisalign is a costly process due to the huge lab fee Invisalign charges dentists and orthodontists. As there is no way of lowering this lab fee most invisalign fees range from $7000 to $10000. On the odd occasion a dentist/orthodontist may be able to off a price less than the average range if very little tooth movement is required and they use the Invisalign Lite system which has a lower lab fee as there are less trays made. When investigating the Invisalign cost check whether the price includes the initial records and the final retainers.
Invisalign is different to traditional orthodontics, you can usually eat whatever you want while in treatment because you remove your plastic trays to eat and drink. There is no need to change what foods you eat.
It is recommended that you brush your teeth after each meal and prior to reinserting your aligners to maintain proper hygiene.
You should remove your aligners to drink anything else except water. Leaving aligners on while drinking anything other than water may stain the aligners; risk tooth decay if there is sugary fluid consumption; and if you are drinking hot water, this may distort the aligners.
Better not too, gum will stick to the aligners. Dentists recommend removing your aligners for all meals and snacks.
The recommended way to clean your aligners is by gently brushing and rinsing them in warm water. You can also soak them in white vinegar diluted with water if they are starting to smell.
Your aligners should be worn 22 hours a day. The only time the aligners should be removed is when eating, brushing and flossing.
A consultation to discuss your alignment requirements and any other relevant treatment issues. In this session the dentist/orthodontist will discuss with you your treatment options including the suitability of using the Invisalign clear braces.
Once the dentist/orthodontist has determined that Invisalign will suit your dental needs, they will create a full treatment plan, so that you understand each stage of the process.
Once you are happy with the plan, they will progress with taking some initial impressions of your top and bottom teeth including some x-rays and photographs. This is important to ensure they completely understand everything relating to your teeth and their positioning. This information is required for developing your set of clear customised trays.
Approximately one month after stage 1 they will book an appointment to view a virtual digital video of how your teeth and smile will progress over the treatment period.
The digital video will allow you to view the individual tooth movement as you progress through the treatment. Once you are happy with the planned treatment most dentists/orthodontists will require a deposit and for you to sign the standard Invisalign consent form.
At this stage, they arrange for your customised aligners to be manufactured. This is completed in the USA.
When they receive your box of aligners, they arrange an appointment to fit your trays. If the treatment plan dictates the dental professional will bond a small tooth coloured fitting to your teeth to further support the realignment process. Approximately every six weeks you return and are fitted with your next progressive aligner. Once your initial aligner is fitted, it’s essential each aligner is worn for at least 22 hours a day. This is vital to the success of the Invisalign treatment.
During the treatment period, the dental professional may recontour your teeth to improve their shape and gain spacing if required.
When the full set of Invisalign aligners have been worn, the dental professional will assess whether any “tweaks” are required. In most cases the predicted results will closely mirror your new straightened smile. However, if they feel further work is required they will discuss this with you, and look at ordering a few more plastic aligners for refinement. Refinement is part of the initial cost.
The final step is manufacturing a retainer for you to wear (often just a night-time retainer) to ensure you retain your straight smile and minimise relapse.