Frequently Asked Questions
Invisalign® is a Clear Aligner Therapy (CAT) system that utilizes a series of clear aligners to straighten the teeth gradually. In this technique, there is no metal or clear braces and wires. Therefore many limitations of traditional braces will no longer exist.
How Invisalign® treatment works?
The same orthodontic rules, as traditional braces, should be used in treatment planning of an Invisalign® treatment to achieve a healthy beautiful smile. Your dentist sends a very accurate impression or 3D scan of all your teeth to the manufacturer where a simulated treatment result will be drafted and send to your dentist.
At this stage, your dentist will use a software called ClinCheck™ to digitally design your treatment plan. Based on the different types of tooth movements your smile transformation might need and the severity of the malocclusion, a number of clear aligners will be made starting from aligner number 1 (N 01).
Every single aligner is a bit different from the very last one and in this way a very well controlled gentle force system will be applied to the right spots of the teeth to make them move to their new desired position.
After manufacturing of aligners, you will start with first pair of aligners (N 01) and wear that for one week or two and then switch to next one. After finishing a few aligners you will see your doctor. The dentist/Orthodontist will assess your smile and will do some adjustments and give your more aligners to wear. In this way your smile will be gradually transformed to the new healthy smile
Is Invisalign® clear aligners material safe to be used in the mouth for a long time?
According to the product specification, all Invisalign aligner and retainer materials are made of medically safe FDA approved thermoplastic plastics.
Invisalign aligners are classified as Class II medical devices by FDA and has been received the necessary 510(k) clearance from the FDA in 1998.
Like other medical devices, you should consult your doctor to get advice to use any medical devices.
When did the Invisalign® clear aligners come onto the market for the first time?
Align Technology, the manufacturer and founder of Invisalign® aligner was set up first in 1997.
Does Invisalign have different products?
Invisalign® aligners share the same quality and material, however; Invisalign® might use different name based on the number of aligners you need. The most difficult cases could be managed with “ Invisalign® Comprehensive” which allows your doctor to order as many as aligners you might need. This product is the most expensive Invisalign® product
What is the advantage of Invisalign® over braces?
Invisalign® clear aligners are the aesthetic alternative to metal braces. They are virtually invisible and people normally don’t notice that you are wearing aligners.
They are removable and you can take them out to drink and eat. That is, no limitation in your dietary habits. You don’t need to avoid hard or sticky foods such as popcorn or steak.
One of the most important benefits of Invisalign® treatment is that the oral hygiene could be easily maintained when it compares to braces. You can take them off to brush and floss and therefore multiple cavities and discoloration are rare in Invisalign® patients than the braces.
You barely need to book an emergency appointment when you are in Invisalign® treatment. Broken braces or wires and pokey wires frequently happen in orthodontic treatment with braces which can cause a delay in treatment and fixing them is waste of time and money for you and your doctor.
In Invisalign® treatments all the teeth are able to move simultaneously. This feature along with SmartTrack™ material could make the treatment even faster than braces if you wear your retainers 20-22 hours a day.
How is Invisalign® treatment different than other clear aligners?
Invisalign® started in late 90s and since then it has been developing consistently. Treating more than 6 million smiles, lots of research and innovations and the most advanced manufacturing facilities have made Invisalign® the first choice of most of dentists/orthodontists who offer clear aligners to their patients.
After one of their recent game-changing innovations in the clear aligner material, SmartTrack, Invisalign® is now able to move the teeth faster and more predictable.
The other difference would be the Invisalign® optimized attachment system. Attachments are small temporary tooth-colored bumps on few teeth that act as handles to apply a very meticulous force system to the teeth. Invisalign® uses customized attachments for every single smiles. This technology makes your doctor able to design a more efficient treatment for you.
Invisalign® has been developed over two decades and substantial investment has been made for its research and development. Theses days, Invisalign® treatment works for more than 60 percent of patients; from simple to complicated malocclusions.
Teens as well as adults can benefit from Invisalign® treatments. Book a complimentary consultation appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
Is there any age limitation for Invisalign® treatments?
Typically there is no age limitation for Invisalign® treatments as long as you have a good oral hygiene and healthy teeth and gums.
Consult with your doctor to see if Invisalign® is a right choice for you.
Is Invisalign® an option to correct shifting teeth after an orthodontic treatment in the past?
Yes, Invisalign® clear aligners are considered as one of the best options in these cases. Patients usually cannot accept another treatment with braces years after their first orthodontic treatment with braces while getting Invisalign® clear aligners which look like clear retainers is an easy and more tolerable alternative to wearing braces again.
Could Invisalign® clear aligners be used for patients with existing Crowns and Veneers?
In many cases YES. You need to consult with your dentist/orthodontist. They will assess and discuss the options. It is recommended consulting with your Invisalign® provider dentist before getting any new veneers or crowns. In many cases, a limited phase of Invisalign® treatment could make the crown or veneer treatment results excellent. In theses case your doctor will start a 3-6 month Invisalign® treatment first then you can get your veneers or crowns done and a second phase of Invisalign® after these restorations will guarantee the best achievable results.
Will Invisalign® treatment still work with multiple Dental Bridges?
Regardless of technique, whether it is braces or Invisalign®, orthodontic treatments are able to move the teeth individually. You need to consult with your dentist/orthodontist if you have bridges. Sometimes a creative treatment planning can lead to a good result without the need for moving the dental bridge(s). If the bridge(s) is old and redoing is indicated, your dentist can separate the bridge in a way that you can use it during the orthodontic treatment and after achieving desired tooth movement you can get a new dental bridge done.
Is there any guarantee to achieve the treatment goals with Invisalign® clear aligners?
Every patient is unique and body response to all types of medical and dental treatments varies from patient to patient. In the consultation appointment, you need to share your concerns about your teeth with the dentist/orthodontist and an experienced treatment provider can say if Invisalign® is a right choice for you or not. It should be noted that Invisalign® treatment, like other treatment techniques, needs specific training and enough experience. That is why you need to make sure that your doctor is a certified Invisalign® provider with enough experience.
Can I get Invisalign® for my top or button teeth only?
Yes you can. However in many cases achieving a good functional bite requires movement of top and button teeth with a good coordination. It could be a question to ask your doctor during your consultation appointment.
Is that possible to switch to Invisalign® if I am wearing braces now?
Consult with your dentist/orthodontist first. In many cases, it is possible to use braces and Invisalign® concurrently to correct malocclusions and benefit from the advantage of both systems. An example is having partial braces in a limited area of the mouth for few months and use Invisalign® concurrently as the main treatment technique.
Removing all braces and starting Invisalign® would be an option, however, it might not be a good choice for some of the patients. Your doctor needs to do an assessment and based on treatment progress, type of needed tooth movement, etc. she/he will discuss pros and cons of switching to Invisalign® and you can make an informed decision thereafter.
Many orthodontists and dentists are certified Invisalign® provider but not all are. Doctors who offer Invisalign® treatment must complete special trainings and continuing education seminars. Like other aspects of dental practice experience and knowledge of your doctor will play an important role in a successful treatment.
What should I bring to my consultation with my doctor?
We highly recommend coming with your other family members, parents or whoever their opinion about your treatment is important to you. You might have a list of questions. Bring them all! The below questions might be helpful:
Is Invisalign® right for me?
Could Invisalign® address my dental concerns?
Does Invisalign® affect my speech and chewing function?
Could Invisalign® improve my jaw joint function?
How does Invisalign® affect my life style?
How long does the treatment take?
Do I need to wear retainers?
How much will the treatment cost?
Does the treatment cost include the records and first pair of aligners?
How much is the down payment?
Do you offer a monthly payment plan?
Do you work with a third-party financing firm?
Do you accept my insurance plan?
It is also helpful to bring your insurance card and any information you might have about your dental history.
What should I expect during the consultation?
During your consultation, your doctor will ask about your main concerns and treatment goals first. It is very important to share all your concerns with the doctor. Those might be cosmetic goals, functional concerns like TMJ issues and difficulty in chewing or both.
At this stage, your doctor needs to examine your smile to find out and explain how your smile could be improved with Invisalign®. In many cases, there would be more than one option to achieve the teeth straitening goals. Your doctor will discuss all these options and their pros and cons. Treatment time, cost and payment options will be discussed as well.
Before starting the treatment, if you are not a regular patient of the office, your doctor will recommend booking a dental cleaning and checkup with your own dentist to make sure that your gums and teeth are healthy.
What is the treatment process of Invisalign®?
After the orthodontic consultation, if you are a good candidate for Invisalign® treatment, your doctor and the clinic staff will explain the treatment plan and other aspects of your treatment including treatment time, costs and payment plan.
Following your consent, an accurate impression or a digital 3D scan of your teeth will be submitted to Invisalign®. In a 1-2 week process, your doctor and Invisalign® technicians work together to map out your final treatment plan.
Based on the type of tooth movements and the severity of the problem, your doctor will order fabrication of a number of aligners; that could be from 5 to even 50 pairs of aligners. It takes 4-6 weeks from scan or impression day to have all your aligners ready.
At the first appointment, your doctor and his/her certified assistants will put your attachments on. Attachments are one of advanced features of Invisalign, which makes Invisalign totally different from other aligners. They are small tooth coloured bumps on few teeth that allow your doctor to design a very accurate 3D force system on the teeth. They do not show and are temporary. Dr. Shirvani usually delivers 4 aligners in the first appointment to wear each for 2 weeks. You will start with aligner number 1 (N01) and after 2 weeks you need to switch to the next pair of aligners.
Your next appointment would be after 8 week for a checkup, some adjustments, if needed. If you wear the aligners as prescribed you will receive 8 more aligners to wear one week each. This numbers are average and could be different from patient to patient.
You are supposed to wear aligners 20-22 hours a day which means full-time wear except when you eat, drink, brush or floss your teeth. On special occasions like your birthday party or a wedding ceremony you can take them off and leave them at home.
On average the treatment takes 12-18 month; however your doctor will give you a better estimate when she/he evaluates your smile. If you don’t wear your aligners enough the treatment takes longer and in poor compliant cases the treatment goals might not be achieved.
What Do I have to expect in the first Invisalign® start appointment?
Typically the first Invisalign® start appointment is the longest one. It might take up to an hour. Your doctor and his/her team will explain you how to use the aligners and how to take care of them.
In this appointment your doctor and the team will add attachments on a few teeth. Attachments are small tooth-coloured bumps that allow your doctor to design a three-dimensional gentle force system on some of the teeth. They are temporary and will be removed before finishing the treatment.
What are the “Attachments”? Do I need them?
Attachments are small tooth-coloured temporary bumps that are attached to your teeth. They are designed to make your Invisalign aligners able to apply the right amount and direction of force to your teeth. There is lots of science behind them and SmartForce attachments are one of the most sophisticated advantages of Invisalign® aligners. If you need them, your doctor will bond them to your teeth at the beginning or during your treatment and remove them when you don’t need them anymore. Your aligners fit well around the attachments and they are barely visible.
How often do I have to see my doctor? What do I have to expect in recall appointments?
Typically you need to see your doctor every 6-8 weeks; however different doctors have their own recall protocols. If you feel that the Invisalign® aligners do not fit well and the treatment is off-track, you have to book an appointment ASAP. Do not wait until your next appointment if such things happen.
In recall appointments, your doctor will assess the treatment progress. She/he might need to do IPR or to do some adjustments. If you have some aligners left unworn, you have to bring them with you next time.
It is very important to share any obstacle you face that is affecting the aligner wear. If your dentist does not know about your compliance the treatment won’t be successful. It is a big investment on your healthy beautiful smile. Take the most advantage of it!
What is the IPR? Does it hurt the tooth?
IPR stands for “Inter-Proximal Reduction”. Inter-proximal is the area where two neighbouring teeth have contact with each other. IPR is a technique to shape this area with specific calibrated instruments.
There are different reasons for doing IPR:
To have a better anatomy and tooth shape.
To open up some space to make the teeth aligned.
To make the black triangles smaller.
To have more stable treatment results.
Using the specifically designed instruments, IPR is a safe procedure. It does not need any freezing and your doctor might use only some topical numbing gel for the gums only. Many studies showed that it is safe and does not hurt the teeth in the presence of a good oral hygiene.
How often will I change my aligners?
At your start day you doctor will talk to you about this. In may cases you need to switch to the next aligner after one or two weeks. There are some devices that can be helpful to accelerate the treatment. “Accelerated orthodontics” is using these devices or techniques like Propel ™ to speed up the treatment course. These devices utilize a source of energy to stimulate the tooth movement. Acceledent ™ (a vibrating device), Orthopulse ™ (a low power light therapy device) are being widely used in North America.
How many hours per day should I wear the aligners?
Best results can be achieved by wearing the aligners full-time; which means all day and night except when you are eating and dirking or brushing and flossing. In other words you need to wear the aligners 20-22 hours a day to achieve the best results.
How long will treatment take?
It depends on many factors including the amount of tooth movement, body response and patient’s compliance. You doctor will give an estimate based on the average time that similar treatment might take. In many cases, treatment won’t take longer than 12-18 months if your wear your aligners almost 20 hours a day.
Do I need to wear rubber bands (elastics) with Invisalign® clear aligners?
In some malocclusions your doctor will prescribe you rubber bands or elastics. If it is the case, your compliant will be very important to achieve the best results. Luckily, elastics are tooth colored and easy to wear.
What is “Chewie”? Why do I have to use them?
Chewies are small 1.5-inch cylinders made of spongy plastic material that help you to make your aligners seat correctly on the teeth. When you put on your Invisalign® aligners you are supposed to bite on a Chewie to make it fit. Biting directly on the aligners is not a good idea at all as it can deform and break the aligners.
Chewie is an aligner seater. It is very important to know that if the aligner does not fit well it cannot apply desired forces on the teeth and good results could not be achieved. There are electric vibrating aligner seaters on the market as well. VPro is a commercially available electric aligner seater. You can ask your doctor about VPro.
What should I do if I loose or break one of my Invisalign® aligners?
Don’t worry and let your doctor know ASAP. There are few solutions in this situation. Your doctor may ask you to wear the very last pair of aligners, switch to the next one or order a replacement for you.
It is recommended keeping the very last used aligners. Clean the used aligners make them dry and keep them in their original package. In case of loosing aligners or if you feel that the current aligners do not fit well, the doctor may advise to step back and wear the first or second last pair of aligners for few days more. It could be very helpful if you can bring the few last aligners when you have an appointment for your Invisalign® treatment.
Is that possible to order replacement aligners directly from the Invisalign® company (Align Technology)?
Invisalign® clear aligners are considered as medical devices and should be ordered by your doctor only.
Since I started the treatment I think some of my teeth are a bit loose. Is that normal?
Yes. It is usually normal and is a sign of tooth movement. It happens with braces or Invisalign® aligners. After finishing the treatment and in retention phase, this minor mobility will go away and your teeth look normal very soon.
If you have any concerns in this regard you have to see your doctor.
How does the doctor remove the attachments?
It is very easy and straightforward. The doctor or his/her certified team member will use safe burs to clean the teeth. These instruments cannot cut the enamel and they are designed to remove the composite dental fillers only. You don’t need to get freezing. If your teeth are sensitive to cold, you need to let your doctor know so they can use instruments without cool air for sensitive areas.
It is always recommended having a cleaning and dental checkup after finishing the Invisalign® Treatment.
One of the distinct advantages of Invisalign® clear aligners over traditional braces is that it has the least effect on your personal life.
Invisalign® aligners are removable appliances that allow to take them out when you want to eat and drink or to floss and brush your teeth. On top of that, they are virtually invisible and easy to use in an active social life. In special occasions likes job interview, wedding photo shooting,… you can take them off and leave it at home for few hours.
Can I take my aligners off? How many hours a day am I supposed to wear my aligners?
Yes. Actually you need to take them off when you are eating, drinking, brushing or flossing. It is supposed to wear the aligners 20-22 hours a day, which means almost full-time including during sleep.
For special events like birthday parties, job interview, playing some of the wind musical instruments or contact sports, you can take your aligners off for few hours.
What food should I have to avoid when I have Invisalign® aligners?
You can enjoy any food you like with Invisalign® clear aligners. Invisalign® aligners are removable and you need to take them off for eating, therefore you are not going to have any food restrictions. This is one the advantage of Invisalign® aligners over the braces. With braces you need to avoid hard, sticky foods such as carrot, apple, popcorn, etc.
Is Invisalign® treatment painful?
Invisalign® treatment planning software allows your doctor to design a very well controlled and gentle force system to apply to the teeth. This minimizes the pain and discomfort of the treatment.
However, when you start wearing a new aligner, you might experience a mild pressure sense during chewing function. That is for a day or two and is a sign of tooth movement.
Continued pain and discomfort is unusual and if you have such pain or discomfort you need to see your doctor.
What if I wear my Invisalign® aligners just at night? Do they still work?
It might or might not. They don’t work well if you don’t wear them less than full-time (20-22 hours a day). If for any reason you are not wearing the aligners as much, you have to inform your doctor ASAP and your doctor might need to change the timing of treatment. We strongly recommend wearing the aligners full-time, as the treatment failure is quite likely in case of poor compliant.
Will Invisalign® aligners affect my speech?
Invisalign® clear aligners might affect speech for a few days. The tongue is very well adapted to these changes. If you want to make it faster you can read a book aloud for few hours and it helps you to get use to it faster.
A slight lisp is usually normal and anticipated for 2-3 days in the beginning of treatment and will disappear quickly. Excessive saliva is another temporary side effect of clear aligners that will not take longer than 2-3 days.
Will smoking discolour the Invisalign® aligners?
Yes. Smoking can discolour you aligners and we recommend avoiding smoking when you have aligners in.
Can I chew gum when I wear my Invisalign® aligners?
No. You should avoid chewing with aligners. Gum will stick to your aligners.
Can my Invisalign® aligners come out when I am talking or laughing?
Aligners fit very well around your teeth and it is unlikely that they come out when you are sleeping, talking or laughing.
What if I forget to take my Invisalign® aligners with me when I am out of town or on a trip? Will they fit?
It might or might not. You need to see your dentist/orthodontist to make sure that the aligners are still on-track. We recommend keeping the very 3-4 last worn aligners. Sometimes they might fit if you step back. You should see your doctor anyway to make sure that the treatment is not going to be affected.
How to clean my Invisalign® aligners?
You can use the Invisalign® cleaning system, available to purchase online at http://www.invisalignaccessories.com or from your doctor.
Using a hard brush like a “Denture Brush” with liquid dish soap could also clean the aligners efficiently. You need to rinse the aligners copiously with tap water afterwards.
Never use hot water as the aligners are made of thermoplastic material and they will be deformed in hot water. For the same reason soaking into hot water or putting them in the dishwasher machine could wrap the aligners.
Do I need to brush my teeth after eating before putting my Invisalign® aligners back on?
Yes. You have to brush your teeth and the aligners right after eating even after snacking. That can help you to avoid frequent snacking; An added bonus! The aligners could be easily discoloured if don’t brush after eating. It can cause tooth decays as well.
How can I clean my Invisalign® aligners if I dropped them in an unsanitary place?
It is very important to ensure that your aligners are clean. In this situation you can use Invisalign® Cleaning Crystals. You can order crystals online at http://www.invisalignaccessories.com or buy the from your doctor office. If you are not sure that the aligners are clean to place them in the mouth, consult with your doctor to see if you can switch to the next aligner or order a replacement. You need to take your next aligners with you if you are going to the doctor’s office for consultation. Never soak the aligners into hot water as they can be easily deformed.
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