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The Lowdown On Invisalign

Thanks to modern technology, many people are now able to say goodbye to the days when straightening teeth meant filling your mouth with a set of bulky metal braces. Instead, they can have their teeth straightened with Invisalign, a set of almost invisible clear aligner trays that fit snugly over top of one’s teeth.

A typical Invisalign aligner tray.
A typical Invisalign aligner tray

This popular system is perfect for those who want to improve their smile without being obvious about it. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Invisalign, and how it can possibly give you the smile you have always imagined.

So, What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a teeth straightening system that gradually shifts teeth using pressure, much like traditional braces do. However, Invisalign comes in the form of a series of hard plastic trays, or aligners, as they’re commonly called, which are much like thin mouthguards. They are form-fitted to your mouth by your dentist to address your specific teeth alignment issues.


One of the biggest advantages to the Invisalign system is that the trays are almost completely transparent, and therefore difficult to detect while worn. Invisalign trays are much more comfortable than traditional braces as they are created out of a smooth material that won’t irritate tissues in the mouth.

The trays can also be taken out at anytime, such as while eating to avoid having food stuck to them, and while brushing and flossing. Over time, teeth will be straightened and you will have the smile of your dreams.

Will Invisalign work for me?

Invisalign can help a very broad range of dental issues including crooked, protruding, crowded, or gapped teeth as well as open bites, overbites, crossbites, and underbites.

For complex orthodontic work, regular metal braces are often still the best choice to do the heavy lifting.

Because the aligners are created to suit your specific needs, Invisalign can address and fix a myriad of oral problems. However, in some cases extreme structural issues of the mouth and jaw may require other courses of action, such as surgery or using the more old school wire braces for a time. As always, consult your dentist about the best options for your oral health.

One of the most amazing features of the Invisalign straightening system is that before you commit to it, your dentist can show you how your smile will look after the treatment is complete using digital 3D imaging. This allows you to make an informed decision about whether or not using Invisalign will be worth it to you.

How do Invisalign trays work?

invisalign aligner fitting dentistInvisalign trays are formed to your teeth and, according to the areas in your mouth that need adjustment, apply an even pressure on certain teeth in order to gradually straighten them. Your dentist will create multiple trays for you, each one slightly different, to accommodate your slowly shifting teeth.

Each Invisalign tray should be worn for about two weeks before moving on to the next tray, and regular check ups with your dentist should happen approximately every six weeks to ensure the aligners are fitting properly. The graduating forms allow for single teeth to be moved at a time, making for a more comfortable straightening process, and providing more controlled pressure against teeth. In some cases elastics can also be worn in combination with Invisalign trays to rectify more extreme bite issues.

Are Invisalign trays painful?

Initially, the Invisalign aligners can feel uncomfortable – similar in that regard to traditional braces – as your mouth will not be used to them and there will be unfamiliar pressure on certain teeth. After a few days of wearing the trays however, you will become accustomed to how they feel in your mouth and they will no longer feel painful or as uncomfortable.

Eventually, wearing your Invisalign trays will become second nature and you will likely not notice them nearly as much.

When do I wear the Invisalign trays?

It is recommended that the Invisalign trays be worn for a minimum of 20-22 hours each day. This means that they should be worn all day and all night while sleeping, only to be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing.

Failure to wear the aligners for the minimum amount of time recommended will yield diminished results and may cause problems with the treatment schedule. You should be willing to commit to wearing the Invisalign trays for the length of time needed to gain the results you are looking for in the quickest way possible.

How are Invisalign trays made?

Invisalign trays are formed out of a clear and extremely strong BPA-free medical grade plastic. To create the trays, your dentist will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth in order to make a digital 3D model of your smile.

Your dentist will then identify the areas of your mouth that need adjustment and will design the Invisalign trays accordingly. You will receive a series of Invisalign trays, each one accommodating your shifting teeth, and designed to apply pressure in different areas.

How much does Invisalign cost?

The cost of Invisalign is very similar to the cost of traditional metal braces. The cost depends on various factors including how severe your teeth adjustment needs are and how long you will need to continue to wear the aligners.

In general, the Invisalign system costs upwards of $1,500, and additional costs for dentist visits, consultations, and lab fees may apply on top of that. If the cost is a significant concern for you, be aware that many of our 123 Dentist member clinics offer monthly payment plans which can help out immensely. Also, dental insurance and certain government health coverage rules may take a bite out of costs, especially for teenagers.

Be sure to talk with a dental professional and your insurance provider about costs and coverage.