Invisalign is a modern alternative to conventional metal braces. This technology is made of plastic and is formed as a removable tray customized to fit the mold of a patient’s mouth. Because the aligners are made from transparent material, most people do not notice when someone is wearing Invisalign which makes it appealing. By utilizing patented technology called SmartTrack and SmartForce to predict the movements of the teeth during treatment and make a better fitting flexible removable tray, Invisalign has been used in millions of cases and is backed by clinical research.
Invisalign is effective because the patented technology shifts the teeth into proper position over time, gently without the use of metal or wires. The aligners are changed frequently based on your orthodontist’s treatment plan and total scope of work needed for the desired result. It is critical to choose the right orthodontist to treat your case because they will use their skills and knowledge to best design your mold and maintain it throughout the treatment plan.
What are the types of Invisalign?
There are four types of Invisalign: Invisalign Full, Invisalign Lite, Invisalign i7, and Invisalign Teen.
- Invisalign Full is the most commonly prescribed treatment as it can be used for complex cases and will include several aligners throughout the course of the treatment. Most practices prefer and recommend this type because it can treat the most severe and complex cases. Furthermore, an unlimited number of aligners are included in this option making it the best value.
- Invisalign Lite is best suited for mild to moderate cases that will benefit from treatment with clear aligners perhaps combined with crowns. This type is not as highly recommended because of the limited number of aligners provided with this option. I recommend getting the Full option instead since it provides the patient with a better value and doctor with unlimited possibilities to treat any case. The cost difference is minor but the benefits are great.
- Invisalign i7 is a newer development that shortens the time of treatment for patients with minimal orthodontic needs, such as one crooked tooth or a setback in orthodontic treatment. Being a relatively new product, it is costly and provides limited benefits. I do not recommend this product.
- Invisalign Express only provides 10 aligner trays which is usually not enough to treat a case. Therefore, I also don’t recommend this product due to its limitations.
- Invisalign Teen is a great option for young adults because of the constant shifting of their teeth as they grown and develop. This treatment includes six complimentary replacements for dental aligners. This type of Invisalign also includes tooth eruption tabs. I recommend this product as highly recommended as the Invisalign Full because the unlimited aligners provided to orthodontists allowing them flexibility and complete control over the treatment.
The best type of Invisalign for you should be discussed with an orthodontist who will walk you through each option and explain how they can help your particular case. Every patient is different, so it is best to speak to a knowledgeable professional.
Pros and cons of Invisalign
Invisalign and braces have similar results, but their pros and cons do vary. Invisalign and braces both will straighten teeth and effectively treat medical issues, such as problems with bites, spacing, and crowding. An experienced orthodontist can help you make the decision that is best for you taking into account your goals for treatment, cost, and willingness to comply with treatment.
Invisalign is made of plastic removable trays which allow the patient to eat any type of food such as chewing gum and popcorn which is not possible with braces. Invisalign also has the advantage of being invisible which means that peers usually won’t notice it. Another advantage of Invisalign is that brushing, whitening, and flossing the teeth as normal is possible since the trays are removable allowing for optimum dental health. Furthermore, these plastic trays are more comfortable and require no changes to lifestyle, such as avoiding certain foods.
One of the cons of Invisalign is higher cost due to expensive lab billing that adds to the total cost and length of treatment time. Not infrequently, Invisalign treatment takes more time than braces treatment and, in some difficult cases, it is not a good option and only fixed braces will work. Furthermore, a patient must be compliant and wear their Invisalign 22 hours a day. If the patient is constantly removing the trays and forgetting to place them back in, the treatment will be delayed. And if the trays are lost or broken, an additional cost will result and treatment may take longer.
How to choose an orthodontist
Choosing an orthodontist is the next step after you have decided that you would like to consider Invisalign as a treatment method for your teeth. This is the most important step in your decision. Invisalign is just a tool in the hands of an experienced orthodontist. If the doctor is not experienced, the Invisalign treatment may not work, resulting in time and money being wasted.
The benefit of using an experienced orthodontist is that you will be choosing a doctor who has excelled and committed themselves to this practice. It’s important to realize that only the top performing graduates of dentistry school can continue to orthodontic residency. These students will complete an additional two or three years of training on specific medical conditions regarding orthodontics. In short, always choose a doctor that specializes in treating your needs instead of a general doctor who does not have experience with the full scope of your condition.
Confirm the office you want to visit is an orthodontic specialist and not a general dentistry with an orthodontic doctor on staff. This option assures you that in the case your doctor relocates or is out for the day, you have the choice of using a coworker instead of waiting for the doctor to be available. If everyone on the staff is board certified and experienced with Invisalign, any questions or concerns can be addressed immediately and correctly.
A good orthodontist will want to meet you for a consultation and discuss the options available to you. The doctor should thoroughly address every question you want to ask and should also help you establish a payment plan for your treatment.
How to avoid pitfalls when choosing orthodontists
It is common for people to skip the research and trust Google or Yelp to find an orthodontist without checking their credentials and experience. Avoid putting your smile in the care of an amateur or a general dentist by asking key questions.
The best method of finding a trained professional for your smile is to visit www.Invisalign.com and click the link for “find a doctor”. Next, a zip code and mile radius should be entered to find the most qualified provider in the immediate area. There is an advanced filter option that will help you identify the VIP or Top 1% providers in your area. These are providers will have the highest rated service, the most successful testimonials, and a significant number of patients they have treated with Invisalign. It’s important to visit a few orthodontists and practices before making a final decision. Each office will be different and it is important to choose the one that makes you the most comfortable.
During a consultation with the doctor make sure to ask questions about their education, including continuing education, as well as their orthodontics residency program. This is an important factor in ensuring that your doctor has performed all of the requirements of the board of orthodontics.
Ask for a detailed explanation of what maintenance and post treatment follow-ups are to be expected. Furthermore, ask about payment arrangements and what is included in the payment arrangement. For example, inquire about retainers and if they’ll be included in the price of the treatment and ask about what type of retainer is being offered. The most recommended type of retainer is bondable as it will protect the teeth from moving post-treatment. A certified and professional orthodontist should happily answer these questions with detail, patience, and ensuring that you as a patient understand all the information. Be sure that you get an overall feel of the practice and its staff, the customer service you’ll receive can vary from place to place so make sure you’re experiencing the kind of service you want.
When choosing Invisalign, you’re choosing to invest in your smile for a lifetime. Invisalign may be covered by insurance plans but it’s best to discuss with a financial advisor at your orthodontist office to help you find an arrangement that works best for your circumstances. The cost with retainers can vary from $4,500 to $10,000. If you have a health savings account, it may be possible to allocate pretax dollars towards the treatment. Speak to a financial representative at your orthodontist about low or 0% interest financing options—most offices offer payment arrangements for up to 24 months.