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Getting your teeth aligned is a big decision. It often means that you’ll be wearing metal braces for several years. An Invisalign treatment is a great alternative solution.
However, you have to consider the costs. Does Invisalign work for those with underbites, overbites, or other dental issues? If you’re trying to decide between metal braces and Invisalign, keep reading on.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a dental technology that is used to straighten crooked teeth or reduce the spaces between each tooth. It uses three-dimensional (3D) digital technology to plan the treatment plan for misaligned teeth.
It is a popular alternative to metal braces because they are transparent and removable. There are no elastic rubber bands or wires. This makes them more aesthetically pleasing than traditional braces.
The technology was invented in 1997 by two Stanford graduates. The pair started selling Invisalign to orthodontists in 1999. Over 2.5 million people across 45 counties have used Invisalign.
How does Invisalign treatment work
Invisalign is a type of clear braces that works using detailed scans of your teeth. This special technology consists of three-dimensional scans that are used to determine the final results. The aligners are made of transparent molds that are made with Bisphenol A (BPA) free material. These aligners sit over the upper and lower teeth.
Slowly, these Invisalign clear aligners will move your teeth a week at a time. Your teeth continue to get aligned by slightly different shaped aligners.
All of your teeth are addressed with this treatment. These Invisalign braces are basically plastic replicas of your teeth. Invisalign aligners should be worn 22 hours a day or as prescribed by your orthodontist.
Invisalign aligners are each worn for one to two weeks. After that, you must move on to the next set. Your teeth will reach the ideal places over time.
The total number of aligners that you will need for this process will vary. Some patients may need follow-up retainers. Invisalign treatment can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months.
How long does Invisalign take?
Treatment with Invisalign will vary for people. Some patients may finish their treatment in as little as 6 months. For others, it could take a couple of years.
A few different factors could increase how long treatment takes. These include factors with spacing and crowding like:
- Gap – Having large spaces between your teeth
- Crowding – You have a smaller jaw, which causes your teeth to become crooked or crowded
- Underbite – Your lower teeth go past your upper teeth
- Overbite – Your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth
Your orthodontist can provide a better estimate of how long your treatment will take.
Another factor that affects how long you will need your Invisalign braces is age. It’s easier to realign your teeth when you’re younger. That’s why middle and high school students will typically have braces.
That doesn’t mean that Invisalign only works for teenage patients. It simply means that adult patients may have a longer treatment plan.
Benefits of Invisalign
Clears aligners are a great alternative to traditional metal braces. The most obvious advantage of this treatment only is the aesthetics. For many, wearing metal braces is not attractive. Traditional metal braces can also make some people feel awkward.
Invisalign braces allow you to fix your teeth without it being obvious the majority of the time. The clear aligners are mostly invisible, other times when light hits them a certain way.
There are other benefits of using Invisalign for your treatment plan:
- Easy to remove – Your clear Invisalign aligners can be taken out and cleaned in the Invisalign tray without any issue
- Less discomfort – These invisible aligners work slower than traditional braces which makes the treatment process from comfortable
- No mouth sores – Fixed brace brackets can cause sores when they run against the soft tissue in your mouth. These invisible aligners won’t cause this.
- Easy oral hygiene – You can remove your Invisalign aligners before eating or drinking; You can brush and floss as you would normally do without worrying about food particles being trapped in your metal braces.
- Might have a shorter treatment time – This varies from patient to patient, but it’s possible your treatment time be faster
- Can treat a variety of issues – Crossbite, open bite, deep overbite, excessive overjet, and gaps between your mouth are all orthodontic issues that can be treated with Invisalign
How much does Invisalign cost?
The cost of Invisalign will vary by many factors. You can expect to pay between $3,000 and $7,000.
Traditional braces have roughly the same cost range.
Factors that can cause cost to be lower or higher
Your costs could be more or less than others due to a few variables. Be sure to shop around to find an orthodontist or dentist that best fits your budget. Here are the three most common factors that affect costs below.
Difficulty of treatment
The complexity of your treatment plan will cause the cost to be higher or lower for the Invisalign system.
Generally, it is more expensive to get Invisalign in urban areas over rural areas.
Dentist cost and their experience
A dentist or orthodontist who has more experience will charge more for those who have less history with Invisalign. You can find out how much experience your provider has by looking for their Invisalign experience level. Bronze tier dentists have done the least amount of work with Invisalign while Diamond Plus tier dentists have done the most.
Invisalign vs braces cost
The cost of braces and Invisalign are in the same range of $3,000 to $7,000. This is comparable if you are also considering Lasik eye surgery. Since the actual costs will vary from patient to patient, it’s best to compare the two options for your specific case.
Are there monthly payment plans for Invisalign?
Some orthodontists offer their patients a payment plan for Invisalign. To find out what options are available, contact your provider’s office.
Depending on if you qualify, you might pursue a LendingPoint virtual card or personal loan. Keep in mind that these options will charge interest, adding to the overall cost of this orthodontic treatment.
Does insurance cover Invisalign?
Most insurance plans cover Invisalign, just like braces. But some plans have these clear aligners
in the cosmetic procedures category and won’t cover them. Check your insurance plan for more details.
Is Invisalign Worth It? Pros and cons of Invisalign
Should you choose Invisalign over traditional braces? Considers the pros and cons.
Pros of Invisalign
- FDA approved
- Can be removed
- Easy to clean
- More discreet
- No broken brackets or wires
- Less discomfort
Cons of Invisalign
- Might not be an option for some complex issues
- If you have bridgework, it might not work
- Must remove aligners when eating or drinking
- Must wear them for a minimum of 22 hours a day
- Can lose or misplace aligners
- Younger patients may need parental oversight
Want to know more about the Invisalign system? Below are some of the most common questions that patients have about the removable aligner.
How noticeable is it?
Since these are clear aligners, Invisalign is largely not noticeable to others. If light happens to hit them a certain way, they could become visible. When you compare it to metal braces, Invisalign is the clear winner.
Was the treatment painful?
Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign is less painful. The level of intensity will vary by patient. Invisalign can cause some pain, discomfort, or soreness. Generally, people experience this pain or discomfort when they start using Invisalign or switch to a new aligner tray.
How many hours per day do I need to wear Invisalign liners?
In most cases, you will need to wear your Invisalign liners for 22 hours. Your orthodontist or dentist may have another recommendation in your specific situation.
Alternatives to Invisalign
Invisalign is just one of the options for clear aligners out there. Others include:
- Smile Direct Club
Be sure to do your research on these potential options. Some of these treatments don’t require a dentist or orthodontic.
If you’re only needing minor corrections, Invisalign Express might be an option. It’s a faster treatment plan that might be more affordable. Instead of the full treatment of 20 aligners, Invisalign Express has 5-,7-, and 10-aligner treatments.
How to find an Invisalign Provider
Although some dentists may be able to offer you treatment options, an orthodontist is generally better trained and experienced. When looking for the right Invisalign provider, here are some things to look at:
- Has proper accreditations and certifications
- Offers a free consultation
- Has good reviews from past patients
- Is located nearby (you could potentially have to drive every 8-10 weeks for new trays)
- Offers flexible payment options
- Has experience will many different aged patients
- Has a specialization in Invisalign treatments
- Offers a guarantee
- Uses 3D digital scanners to take impressions of your teeth
- Is upfront about all the treatment costs
Invisalign could be worth it, depending on your situation. Consider the pros and cons that we discussed here. If you decide to look at this treatment option, find a reputable orthodontist to get an honest evaluation. They will be able to recommend the best solution for your teeth.