Are you considering giving yourself the gift of a straighter smile but not sure how the Invisalign process works?
You have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to walk you through the steps of the Invisalign treatment plan. Although every Invisalign treatment process is individually tailored and individual treatment time can vary, the same overall steps are still going to be the same, from making the first appointment with the orthodontist to achieving and maintaining your new, beautiful smile.
If achieving straighter teeth is on your agenda this year, there are many good reasons to choose Invisalign. The primary reason is that Invisalign works and has a proven track record of helping thousands of patients across the globe achieve straighter teeth. Another appealing reason is that the Invisalign process is so much more discreet than traditional braces. Traditional braces are great at getting your teeth to move into a more aligned formation, but they are also extremely visible and can be very uncomfortable to wear. For example, you do not have the option of removing them before the treatment os complete, so you are bound to wind up spending a lot of time cleaning your metal ceramic or braces after every meal, whereas with Invisalign, you don’t have that problem as you can simply remove your clear Invisalign aligners when your eat.
You will still have to wear your Invisalign braces for 22 hours a day in order to achieve the results you desire, but that seems like a reasonable sacrifice to make, considering that the Invisalign process, on average, takes between 12 and 18 months, at the end of which you are going to end up with the beautiful smile of your dreams.
But what are the different steps and stages that are going to take you there? Without future ado, let us dive into the Invisalign treatment process and look at what each step involves.
Invisalign treatment step by step
It all starts with the decision, first of all to pursue your dream of a straighter smile and second of all to go with Invisalign rather than any of the other teeth straightening options on the market today. If you are still not sure whether Invisalign is the best choice for you, we encourage you to have a peruse of the INTDJC blog, where you will find an unbiased Invisalign review, as well as several articles comparing Invisalign with other clear aligner providers.
Having said that, this article is all about how Invisalign works, so let us get right to it.
The first step in the Invisalign process is to set up a consultation with an orthodontist trained in providing Invisalign treatment. While some dentists also provide Invisalign treatments, it is better to go with an orthodontist rather than a dentist, as only the former has the highest level of expertise when it comes to straightening teeth.
At the consultation, your orthodontist is going to determine wether you are a good candidate for Invisalign, as Invisalign aligners are only suitable for making mild to moderate tooth adjustments. If you happen to have extremely crooked or misaligned teeth, your orthodontist might find it necessary to recommend metal brackets instead, or to remove a couple of teeth before you become a good candidate for Invisalign treatment.
As well as looking at the medical side of things, your orthodontist will also help you look at the other practical considerations involved, including whether your insurance covers Invisalign aligners.
Your tailor-made treatment plan
Once your orthodontist has declared you a suitable candidate for treatment, and you have gotten your insurance or finances in order, the next step is for your orthodontist to take photos, X rays and moulds of your teeth.
All of this info is then sent to the Invisalign company along with detailed instructions from the orthodontist about how the teeth should move. Invisalign technicians are able to take all of this information and use it to generate a 3-D computer model of how your teeth should gradually move into their new and perfect alignment. Your orthodontist will be able to access this 3-D model via a computer in their own clinic, so that they can show it to you and discuss whether the results you are seeing on the screen are exactly what you had in mind. Sometimes a bit of adjustment is needed, but it typically does not take long before both you and your orthodontist are satisfied with the 3-D smile on the screen. Only when this point is reached does Invisalign set out to actually produce your first pair of retainers.
Your first pair of Invisalign aligners
You may need to wait up to a month before our new invisible braces are ready, but believe us, it is well worth the wait to get started on your treatment.
Your retainers will not be sent to your home address, but rather to your orthodontist’s office, where you can go in and pick them up. Your orthodontist will walk you through how to wear them and how to look after them.
If you have never worn a retainer before, they may feel tight and uncomfortable the first time you wear them. This is completely normal, and as soon as long as you persevere through the first few days, every day wearing your new clear braces is going to feel a little more natural until you are able to pretty much forget that you are wearing them.
New aligners every two weeks
It is worth mentioning that you will receive all of your retainers at once, rather than getting a new set sent as and when it is needed.
Each pair is meant to be worn for two weeks, and as the weeks go on you will notice that each new set of aligners brings your teeth into an increasingly straight and well-aligned formation.
You will need to wear your retainers for approximately 22 hours ever day throughout the entire teeth straightening process. This is to make sure that you achieve the best results within a reasonable timeframe. You can cheat, of course, by wearing your new retainers less, but if you do you will only be cheating yourself by prolonging your treatment plan and jeopardising your results. The best way to make sure that your aligners are in for 22 hours is to only take them out to eat, and when you need to brush and floss your teeth.
Monitoring your progress
Your orthodontist will be monitoring your progress, and by the time you have been wearing your last pair of aligners for the recommended two weeks, he or she might decide that there are still a few final adjustments that will need to be made before your smile is absolutely perfect. If this happens to you, don’t worry, it is completely normal and happens very frequently, as some teeth can be unexpectedly stubborn to move.
If necessary, your orthodontist will get back in touch with Invisalign, who will provide a few more refinement trays for those last, pesky stragglers. It is worth noting that there is no additional charge for any refinement trays – they are included in the original plan, and just like in the beginning, when you and your orthodontist kept adjusting the 3-D version of your new smile until you both agreed that it was perfect, your orthodontic and Invisalign technicians will keep working with you until your smile lives up to your expectations.
Achieving and maintaining your new smile
Invisalign does not only help you straighten your teeth, but will also be looking after your new smile after the treatment is complete.
It can sometimes the bones in your jaw quite a bit of time to set around your new teeth alignments – keep in mind that when you shift your teeth into new positions, you are also shifting, to a mild degree, the structure of your jaw into a more perfect formation. To maintain the new teeth positions, you should be wearing Vivera trays for a few hours each week, to ensure that your teeth are not shifting back towards their previous placements.
Vivera trays are also produced by Invisalign. They are clear retainers which look very similar to the bi-weekly Invisalign aligners, only they are made from a more sturdy and rigid material and are not meant to be switched out bi-weekly, as their job is to maintain your smile, rather than change it.
The Invisalign process FAQ
What are the stages of Invisalign?
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How does the Invisalign process work?
Provided that you are a suitable candidate for treatment, your orthodontist will take x rays, photos and moulds of your teeth and send these back to Invisalign, where technicians will make a 3-D version of what your new smile is going to look like. Once you have approved your new smile and agreed to start treatment, Invisalign will produce a series of clear aligners, each of which you will have to wear for two weeks until your treatment is complete. Sometimes, a few teeth can prove to be extremely stubborn, in which case Invisalign will produce a few extra refinement trays for you to get them moving. Finally, you will have to maintain your smile by wearing clear Vivera aligners (also by Invisalign) now and then, ideally for the rest of your like to avoid your teeth slipping back towards their original positions.
Invisalign simply works, and the level of service and attention to detail accounts for why Invisalign has literally thousands of happy customers all around the world.
When you decided to embark on an Invisalign treatment, you can be sure that you are in expert hands, and that you are going to receive the highest quality of orthodontic care. And now that you know what the steps are, there is no reason to hold your treatment off any longer. Indeed, why not set up your first consultation with a skilled orthodontist trained in providing Invisalign treatments today?