teen girl holding dental aligner

How Does Invisalign Work?

Are you considering Invisalign treatment? Marketed as “the clear alternative to braces”, this teeth straightening therapy can achieve many of the same results as braces through a different method. Invisalign was born out of a need for patients who wanted straighter teeth without the appearance and discomfort of traditional braces.

How does Invisalign work? Here’s an overview of the treatment process.

Straightening Teeth in More Subtle Ways

Invisalign straightens the teeth using a series of clear plastic aligners that fit over the teeth. These aligners gently shift the teeth into proper alignment. You wear each aligner for about 2 weeks, then switch to the next one. Once you complete the series, your teeth will ideally be in the desired position.

The aligners are clear to the point of being almost invisible. They are made of smooth, flexible plastic that fits snugly to the teeth. The aligners can be removed to eat and brush your teeth, but should be worn as much as possible for the remainder of the day and night for effective results.

The Invisalign Treatment Process Step By Step

Your orthodontist may provide you with a flossing needle. This needle is made of plastic and is not sharp, but it has an eye on the end to thread your floss through. The flossing needle makes it easier to get the end of the floss under the archwire each time. You can leave the floss threaded through the eye of the needle while you wrap the floss around your fingers. This method can save you time and effort when it comes to flossing with braces.

The Superfloss Method

Here’s a step by step description of how the typical Invisalign process works from start to finish.

  1. You have a consultation with a certified Invisalign provider. During this consultation, an orthodontist will evaluate your teeth and bite pattern to determine whether or not you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign.
  2. If you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign and you decide to go through with this treatment, the next step is to get a digital scan of your teeth. Your orthodontist uses advanced technology to scan your teeth and create a 3-D model.
  3. The scanned image of your teeth is used to create a treatment plan using computer software. You can watch a computerized image of how your teeth will shift and move to the desired arrangement.
  4. A 3-D printer is used to create a series of aligners that will gradually shift your teeth into the position portrayed on the computer screen. Your aligners are created in a printing lab and shipped to your orthodontist’s office. You may need to wait a few weeks to receive your aligners.
  5. You go to your orthodontist for a fitting of your first aligner and receive the rest of your aligners that you’ll need to complete your treatment. You wear each aligner according to your orthodontist’s instructions, switching to the next one on the recommended schedule.
  6. Visit your orthodontist for periodic monitoring of your progress. Your orthodontist may advise you to wear certain aligners for a longer or shorter period of time according to the way your teeth respond.
  7. When the process is complete, you will need to wear retainers to keep your teeth from shifting back out of alignment.

Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign treatment has many benefits over other teeth straightening treatments, such as:

  • Less visible. The clear aligners are nearly invisible. They can only be seen if you look closely or if you know someone is wearing them.
  • More comfortable. Smooth, flexible plastic is more comfortable than sharp, metal brackets.
  • Convenient. Your aligners can be removed to eat and care for your teeth.
  • Comparable cost. Invisalign is comparable in cost to braces in most cases.
  • May take less time. In many cases Invisalign treatment takes less time than braces, although that may not be true for everyone. Average treatment time is 6 to 18 months for Invisalign, rather than 1-3 years for braces.
  • Invisalign Teen option. Invisalign Teen includes some added features to make the treatment more compatible with teenagers, such as tools for monitoring aligner wearing accountability and built in replacement aligners.

Interested in Invisalign? Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics is a Certified Provider

If you think Invisalign may be the right treatment for you or your teen, Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics is a certified Invisalign provider. We can evaluate your teeth and determine whether or not you would be an ideal candidate for Invisalign, and if so, provide you with the full range of treatment. We will monitor your progress along the way and when you’re finished you’ll have a brand new smile.

Contact us today at any of our 3 convenient locations to schedule a consultation:

Minnetonka: 952-938-1443

Excelsior: 952-474-0288

Wayzata: 952-473-1993