Both adults and adolescents can sometimes be wary of orthodontic treatment because of the potential aesthetic and functional effects that braces or other appliances can have on their smile. Invisalign® offers an advanced alternative that can serve as a discreet and more comfortable way to correct what may have been lifelong orthodontic concerns. With Invisalign®, our cosmetic dentist in Bayside, Dr. Sameet Sheth, can help many individuals straighten their teeth, improve their bite, and successfully renew the appearance of their smile.

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a state-of-the-art orthodontic treatment that utilizes a system of clear plastic aligners to address mild to moderate degrees of teeth misalignment and malocclusion. Instead of metal braces that are fixed in place, Invisalign® involves a series of custom-designed, removable aligners that can progressively move the teeth into a more desirable position. This technique can be effective for misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, spaces and gaps, and for bite irregularities. The Invisalign® aligners are made of a flexible, translucent material that is virtually unnoticeable to others, making the treatment process much more discreet.

Invisalign® Vs. Braces

Invisalign® and braces share a number of common functions, and they can both achieve many of the same goals. With that in mind, they utilize very different methodologies to correct orthodontic concerns, which can make one more ideal than the other in certain cases. Traditional braces are composed of brackets and wires placed on the teeth to correct misalignment or bite irregularities. While these brackets can be made of metal, ceramic, or clear materials, they are nevertheless fixed in place on the teeth for an extended period, and are often quite noticeable during the treatment process. In addition, braces can require many follow-up office visits for maintenance. By contrast, Invisalign® uses a completely different technique to address many of the same types of orthodontic concerns. Invisalign® does not involve brackets, wires, or fixed appliances. In fact, the Invisalign® technique uses a clear plastic aligner system that can progressively shift the teeth into a new position over time. Unlike braces, Invisalign® does not require any dietary restrictions or special oral hygiene regimens since the aligners can be removed while eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Plus, patients who have Invisalign® do not have to be self-conscious about their smile while taking pictures or attending social events—the aligners are virtually invisible on the teeth. When compared to braces, Invisalign® ultimately offers a less invasive and more discreet treatment process, and typically requires fewer follow-up office visits for maintenance. In many cases, Invisalign® is also able to achieve the desired results in less time than would be necessary for traditional braces.

With all of the advantages offered by Invisalign®, it is important to note that Invisalign® is not always the right treatment option for every patient. Braces may be the better alternative for individuals who have more severe cases of misalignment or bite irregularity. Dr. Sheth will perform a comprehensive oral evaluation during the initial consultation and talk with you about your needs and goals. If Invisalign® is the best option, he will create a customized treatment plan designed to meet your expectations.

Treating Malocclusion with Invisalign®

Invisalign® can be a good option for patients who have certain degrees of malocclusion (irregular jaw and/or teeth alignment). Overbite, underbite, crossbite, teeth crowding, and other conditions can result from malocclusion, leading to both aesthetic and functional problems that can have an effect on one’s livelihood. For some patients, Invisalign® can serve as an effective alternative to address these concerns. Dr. Sheth will examine your teeth and jaws during the initial consultation to determine whether Invisalign® or another technique will be more appropriate to correct malocclusion conditions.

What Does the Invisalign® Process Entail?

The initial steps of the Invisalign® treatment process involve comprehensive x-ray imaging of your teeth and oral structures, followed by a digital impression. The impression will create the foundation for the development of your clear aligners. The first customized series of aligners will be produced at the Invisalign® laboratory and delivered to you here at our office. Each set of aligners is to be worn for the recommended amount of time—typically about two weeks—and then changed out with the next aligner in the series. By design, no two sets of aligners are the same. Each one includes slight modifications from the aligner that comes before it to allow for precise, gradual movement of the teeth into a better position. Every now and then, we will ask you to return to the office for a follow-up visit just to monitor your progress.

Does Invisalign® Hurt?

Invisalign® is well-known for its level of comfort when compared to traditional braces. Since Invisalign® does not utilize brackets and wires, there is no danger of scratching soft oral tissues and no need for periodic “tightening” treatments. With this in mind, there is a bit of an adjustment period when first wearing the aligners. It’s not uncommon to feel a certain amount of pressure or soreness, but this should dissipate as your mouth gets used to the appliance, and over-the-counter medication is typically all that will be necessary to relieve discomfort until then.

How Long Does Invisalign® Take?

In many cases, Invisalign® can produce the best results in about 12 to 18 months. Some individuals may achieve their goals in even less time, and some patients may need to wear the aligners for a slightly longer period. Ultimately, the total duration of treatment will depend on factors such as the severity of the concerns being addressed, individual goals, how quickly the teeth are progressing into the desired position, and how consistently the patient is wearing the aligners. Patient compliance with the Invisalign® protocol is one of the most important aspects of the treatment. Each Invisalign® tray should be worn as often as recommended—this is typically a minimum of 22 hours each day. By keeping the aligners on the teeth as much as possible throughout the day and during sleep, the chances of achieving successful results in the quickest amount of time are greatly increased. While removing the aligners for eating, drinking, and performing daily oral hygiene routines is encouraged, it’s also important to make sure the aligners are placed back on the teeth immediately afterward. Patients are also encouraged to contact us in the event that an aligner has been damaged so that any interruptions in the treatment process can be minimized.

How Do I Clean and Care for Invisalign® Aligners?

The daily care and cleaning process for Invisalign® aligners is simple and easy. All that’s really required for proper care is a good scrubbing with an ordinary toothbrush under lukewarm (not hot) water. Also, remember to at least give the aligners, as well as your mouth, a thorough rinse after eating foods or drinking beverages that may leave stains.

Are There Alternatives to Invisalign®?

Invisalign® can be the ideal orthodontic solution for many individuals; however, it may not be the best choice for all patients. Fortunately, an Invisalign® alternative that may be worthy of exploring for those who have teeth misalignment is a porcelain veneer procedure. Porcelain veneers are cosmetic restorations that do not necessitate extensive orthodontic treatment. In fact, these options typically require only a couple of office visits. Porcelain veneers involve the creation and placement of durable, custom-designed restorations that can serve to “hide” gaps, spaces, and other mild forms of misalignment. They are made to look just like natural teeth and can last for decades with the proper care. For patients who need treatment for malocclusion (bite irregularities), sometimes a restorative option such as dental crowns may be effective. For milder forms of malocclusion, strategically-placed dental crowns can be a successful alternative to other orthodontic treatment options, depending on each patient’s needs and goals.

During your consultation with Dr. Sheth, he can talk with you about the treatments that offer the best solutions for your individual needs.

What Does Invisalign® Cost?

On average, the cost of Invisalign® typically ranges from between $3,000 and $8,000, depending on individual needs and goals. Since Invisalign® treatment is customized for each patient, the price is not the same for everyone. Factors such as the complexity of your orthodontic concerns, the number of aligners that will be necessary for optimal results, and the overall estimate of how long the treatment will take to achieve your goals will all be taken into account. Once your treatment plan is designed, a member of our team will calculate the total projected cost of your Invisalign® treatment and talk with you about payment options. Many dental insurance policies offer some level of coverage for orthodontics, and Invisalign® typically falls under that category. We can help you determine whether your insurance covers your treatment. Our practice also accepts a range of convenient payment methods, and we work with reputable third-party lending agencies that offer qualified applicants an array of budget-friendly dental financing plans.

If you have questions about Invisalign®, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sheth to find out if this treatment is right for your needs, please contact us today.