What Exactly Is Invisalign, and How Does It Work?

What Exactly Is Invisalign, and How Does It Work?

Invisalign, known as “the clear alternative to braces,” has revolutionized orthodontics since its invention in the 1990s. An excellent choice for both teens and adults, Invisalign is still somewhat unknown to many people. Here is what you should know about Invisalign and how it works.

Invisalign vs Braces


Braces were long considered the treatment of choice for orthodontic issues ranging from overbites and underbites to crooked or crowded teeth. Braces are still popular today, but they have some significant drawbacks.

Metal brackets and wires are tough on the mouth. They can scratch, poke, or even cut the sensitive tissues of the cheeks, gums, and tongue. They can also lead to demineralization of the teeth, causing dark spots and increasing the risk for tooth decay. Braces put your dentist fully in charge of your care. All you need to do is remember your appointments. Braces cannot be removed at home, so you must avoid certain foods and learn a whole new oral hygiene routine.

Invisalign uses smooth, clear, medical grade aligners that are gentle on the mouth. There are no wires to break and no rough edges to irritate the mouth. Since the aligners are removable, you can brush and floss your teeth as normal and eat your favorite foods. You will change aligners at home, so you only need to come in once every four to six weeks for us to monitor your progress.

Invisalign used to be costlier than braces, but this is no longer always true. Upgrades such as colored metal, as well as the price of adjustments and emergency visits, can significantly increase the price of braces. Invisalign pricing includes all office visits. In addition, many dental insurance policies now cover Invisalign as well as braces. Our office staff will walk you through your out of pocket costs for both options.

Treatment Planning


While both braces and Invisalign involve extensive treatment planning, Invisalign uses a 3-D digital model of your smile to show you what to expect at each phase, including the results. We then use specialized software to create a customized series of aligners.

If you currently have braces and want to switch to Invisalign, you will need your braces removed. Then you will need to wear a retainer for roughly two weeks while your first set of aligners is crafted.

Starting Treatment


We will place small attachments on your teeth and show you how to insert and remove your aligners. A bit of discomfort is normal for the first few days, and your teeth may feel sensitive during this time. Most people agree, though that this is nothing compared to the pain of new braces.

Living with Invisalign


Life with Invisalign is simpler than life with braces. You can remove your aligners whenever you like to eat your favorite foods and brush and floss your teeth. The trickiest part is getting used to replacing your aligners when you finish, so some people like to set a phone reminder the first few times.

Changing Aligners


You will change aligners at home every two weeks or as directed. It is important to remember to change them on time, as each new set of aligners means you are one step closer to achieving your goal. There should be little or no discomfort with each change, as Invisalign is designed to be gentle. If you do experience any issues, call us right away.

Treatment Completion


Since you will closely view your changing smile throughout the treatment process, there is no “big reveal” with Invisalign as there is with braces. Instead, you will be ready to move on with your life with the confidence of knowing you have a winning smile. You might need to wear a retainer to avoid undoing your progress.

Ready to Get Started?


If you are ready to begin your dental journey with a compassionate, full-service dental practice, contact Smile Studio 87 today at 630-796-7417 to schedule your first appointment.