- What is Invisalign®?
- Invisalign® Candidates
- Invisalign® vs. Braces
- How Does Invisalign® Work?
- Invisalign® Treatment Length
- Invisalign® Teen
- Invisalign® Cost
- Invisalign® Alternatives
- Choosing an Invisalign® Dentist
What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® clear braces can be an inconspicuous way to straighten misaligned, crowded, or unevenly spaced teeth. Often considered an alternative to traditional metal braces, this cosmetic dentistry option allows you to discreetly improve the appearance of your smile and can ultimately help you maintain better oral health. Invisalign® patients generally benefit from less tooth decay because unlike traditional braces, Invisalign® aligners are removable. You can take them out while you are eating and also brush and floss normally. Designed for both teens and adults, Invisalign® can help you achieve a straighter, healthy-looking, beautiful smile.
Am I a Candidate for Invisalign®?
Invisalign® can address a majority of the orthodontic cases traditionally resolved by metal braces, such as tooth misalignment and biting (occlusion) issues. Generally speaking, Invisalign® can successfully treat the following concerns:
- Gapped teeth— extra spaces between teeth
- Crowded teeth— teeth do not fit properly within the upper or lower arches due to lack of jaw space
- General misalignment— inconsistencies in tooth positioning that compromise an even, uniform smile
- Crossbite— failure of the upper and lower jaws to properly align
- Open bite— when the upper and lower teeth do not meet
- Underbite— the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth
- Overbite— the upper teeth close over the lower teeth
At the end of your initial examination, our cosmetic dentist—Dr. Jeffrey Schultz—will discuss whether Invisalign® is the best option for you. If you are a good candidate, he will then create a custom-tailored treatment plan and take an impression of your teeth.
Invisalign® vs. Braces
Perhaps the most prominent difference between Invisalign® and metal braces is that the sophisticated clear aligner system can gradually straighten teeth without obstructing a patient’s smile. Treatment is designed to be as discreet as possible. With this in mind, Invisalign® can be ideal for patients who want to improve the alignment of their teeth without the inconvenience of bulky metal braces. Most patients also find Invisalign® much more comfortable than traditional braces because there are no wires or brackets pressing against their gum tissue or irritating the inside of the mouth.
Since the Invisalign® aligners are removable, patients can remove them while eating and enjoy an unrestricted diet. Furthermore, Invisalign® cancels the inconvenience of food getting stuck between metal wiring and can allow individuals to brush and floss their teeth with ease. When compared to metal braces, many patients can achieve their desired results with Invisalign® in twelve months or less. In fact, Invisalign® can even be less expensive than traditional braces, depending upon the patient’s unique circumstances.
How Does Invisalign® Work?
The process consists of a series of custom-fabricated, clear aligners. Using the latest advances in 3D computer dental technology, Invisalign® carefully translates Dr. Schultz’s instructions into a series of precisely customized aligners. You will then be instructed to wear each set of aligners for about two weeks, which will gradually move your teeth – week by week, millimeter by millimeter – until the intended result has been achieved: straighter teeth. Generally, you will need to visit Dr. Schultz no more frequently than you would with traditional braces, and the length of treatment is comparable as well.
How Long Does Invisalign® Take?
For some patients, Invisalign® can address their orthodontic concerns in a faster treatment time than metal braces. The length of time required to achieve straighter teeth will depend on the extent of your needs. For example, small misalignments and minor fixes are typically corrected faster than biting issues and cases involving jaw realignment. In general, Invisalign® can yield the desired result within 9 to 15 months, with the average treatment time taking around 12 months. This can vary depending on the age of a patient and the frequency with which one wears their aligners, but rest assured that Dr. Schultz will inform you of every step of your orthodontic plan in person. Keeping aligners in place for at least 20-22 hours a day can usually provide the best results and prevent a prolonged treatment period.
Insecure about how metal braces will look in pictures or when going on a date? Invisalign® can be an excellent orthodontic treatment for teenage patients who wish to straighten their teeth with the least amount of intrusion into their daily life as possible. Capable of correcting all of the orthodontic issues that Invisalign® for adult patients typically addresses, Invisalign® Teen can offer a treatment option that is virtually undetectable. The removable aligners can also allow teenagers to keep enjoying their favorite foods, as well as play after-school sports and recreational activities, with less discomfort and more confidence.
How Much Does Invisalign® Cost?
Many patients consider Invisalign® to be an investment in their teeth. In our society, the appearance of the teeth can significantly impact our social interactions as well as our self-esteem – and most patients believe Invisalign® is well worth the financial cost.
Due to the fact that every person’s smile is unique, there is no one set price for the Invisalign® treatment. There are a variety of factors that are used to determine the cost of the clear braces system, including the severity of misalignment, the number of aligners needed to complete treatment, and the anticipated duration of the treatment. During the consultation process, Dr. Schultz will perform an oral exam, discuss your personal goals, and quote you an estimated price.
Dr. Schultz wants to make the goal of straight teeth and a beautiful smile available to as many patients as possible. To help all patients find a way to comfortably afford treatment with Invisalign®, Schultz Center for Dentistry offers a number of dental financing options. In addition to working with your dental insurance provider, we have partnered with an independent financing company called CareCredit® that can offer low monthly payments with low interest rates. The application process is fast, and many patients qualify for these benefits immediately.
Are There Alternatives to Invisalign®?
If Invisalign® is not the best treatment to correct your concerns, Dr. Schultz also offers other options in cosmetic braces that can straighten your teeth without sacrificing comfort or discretion. Similar to Invisalign®, ClearCorrect™ is an effective clear aligner system designed to gently guide your teeth into the correct positioning. The aligners are removable, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of an unlimited diet as well as the ability to clean your teeth and gums with ease. In many cases, ClearCorrect™ can be considered a more economical option than Invisalign®.
Dr. Schultz also offers Powerprox Six Month Braces®, which is an innovative orthodontic technique that can straighten some cases of misalignment and malocclusion (poor bite) in as little as six months. This system relies on a technology that can be described as “shape memory” to align teeth quickly and comfortably, meaning the clear, high-tech archwires utilized during treatment are designed to return to their original positioning regardless of how much they are bent or twisted. This gentle force works to encourage teeth into the proper alignment without the need to tighten the braces, which can actually prolong treatment time. Plus, the archwires are transparent and inconspicuous when compared to metal braces, allowing you to complete the process without the visibility of traditional orthodontic techniques. Dr. Schultz can help you determine the most ideal system to achieve your dream smile during a consultation.
Choosing an Invisalign® Dentist
As both dentists and orthodontists are able perform Invisalign® treatments, your results are ultimately dependent on how much experience your practitioner has working with the Invisalign® system. Our team has provided a few tips to help you find the best Invisalign® dentist for your unique concerns:
- Research professional memberships and ongoing education. Check to see whether your prospective dentist is part of any national organizations or participates in continuing education for cosmetic dentistry. This can demonstrate a special interest in aesthetic dental treatments, as well as a commitment to stay up-to-date with the latest, most effective procedures to achieve a patient’s dream smile.
- Ask how many Invisalign® cases your prospective dentist treats per year. This information can give you insight into the level of experience he or she has in treating a broad range of orthodontic cases with Invisalign®.
- See before-and-after photos. During a consultation, ask your prospective dentist to see the outcomes achieved with previous Invisalign® patients. Their portfolio can be a good indication of the results you can expect to receive after treatment, giving you the opportunity to weigh your cosmetic goals with their past work.
- Read patient reviews. While the quality of your final results is paramount to your overall satisfaction, the type of care you receive during the treatment process should also be a factor to consider when choosing a dentist. Peruse online reviews of a dentist, or their practice, to gain an idea of their reputation and the levels of patient care typically provided during treatment.
For more information about straightening your teeth with Invisalign®, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schultz, please contact our office today.