What Exactly Is Invisalign and How Does It Work?

What Exactly Is Invisalign and How Does It Work?

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Known as “the clear alternative to braces” since the 1990s, Invisalign has recently exploded in popularity. If you are considering straightening your teeth with Invisalign, you may have some questions about what to expect. Here are the answers to some Invisalign frequently asked questions.


Invisalign vs Braces


Historically braces were the only treatment of choice for crowded teeth, crooked teeth, underbites, overbites, and other orthodontic issues. They are still frequently used today, but they do have some significant drawbacks.

Made from metal brackets and wires, braces have sharp edges that can easily scratch, poke, or cut the sensitive tissues of the gums, tongue, and cheeks. They can also de-mineralize the teeth, causing dark spots and increasing the risk for future tooth decay. Braces are placed and adjusted by your orthodontist, and they are constantly in the mouth throughout treatment. This means that you cannot eat certain foods and must learn a whole new way of caring for your teeth. Orthodontic visits using braces are typically more frequent than when using Invisalign which can be viewed as a positive when using Invisalign.

Invisalign has the most advanced technology in the world. It consists of smooth, clear, removable, medical grade aligners to gently shift your teeth. There are no rough spots to irritate your mouth, and there are no wires to pop or break. You can take out your aligners to care for your teeth as normal, and to eat whatever you like. You will only need to see us once every eight to twelve weeks for progress monitoring, where the visits for patients using braces are typically every four to six weeks.

Invisalign aligners used for teens have sensors to let parents and the orthodontist know if you are wearing the aligners as directed. The package also includes six free replacement aligners in case yours are lost or broken.

Invisalign was once much more costly than braces, but this is now changing in the practice of Park Avenue Orthodontics. In our office we do not discriminate in price when using Invisalign or braces. Instead, we charge the same exact fee for either. Our fee is comprehensive and includes all aligners and retainers at the end of treatment so there are no hidden fees. Many dental insurers now cover Invisalign as well. Our office staff will help you understand what you need to pay and how you can be reimbursed by your insurance carrier. We will even submit the claims to your insurance carrier for you!


Treatment Planning


Invisalign treatment starts with 3-D digital modeling of your current smile. Dr. Stoess-Allen will virtually move your teeth from the starting point to an ideal finish providing optimum function and esthetics. Once she has accomplished the goals set forward between particular patient desires and her functional and excellent esthetic result, she will then feed it into the customized Invisalign software to create your personalized series of aligners. Each aligner will then move your teeth little by little to achieve an optimum and beautiful result and smile.

If you currently have braces and would like to switch to Invisalign, we must first remove your braces. You will wear a plastic retainer for approximately two-four weeks, until you receive your first set of customized aligners.


Starting Invisalign


When your first set of aligners is ready, we will place small tooth colored attachments on your teeth. Many people feel a bit of sensitivity and discomfort for a few days, but those who have had both report that it is minimal compared to the pain of new braces.


Living with Invisalign


Living with Invisalign is a breeze. You can remove your aligners to eat your favorite foods and to brush and floss your teeth as normal. Some people do report that at first, it can be tough to get into the habit of wearing them. However, that is typically short lived and the aligner wear will ultimately become a routine.


Changing Aligners


You will change aligners at home every week to two weeks or as instructed. Try to remember to change them on time, as each set of aligners brings you closer to your beautiful new smile. There should be little or no discomfort with each new set of aligners, as they are designed to gently shift your teeth. If you do have any problems, please let us know right away.


Treatment Completion


Since you will be able to monitor your smile throughout your treatment, Invisalign does not provide the “big reveal” that occurs at the end of braces treatment. Instead, you will be ready to move on with your life with the confidence of knowing you have a winning smile. And you can actually see a movie of how your teeth will move over the course of your treatment.

At the finish of active Invisalign treatment, you will receive Invisalign retainers that will need to be worn every night to avoid undoing your brilliant new smile. Retainer wear is critical and is the same with any type of tooth movement, whether using braces or Invisalign. Teeth will shift if retainers are not worn as directed.


Ready to Get Started?


If you are looking for a Manhattan orthodontist who is highly skilled and experienced, with a passion for helping others, please contact Park Avenue Orthodontics today at 212-452-2777 to schedule your first appointment.