How Does Invisalign Work?

Curious about how Invisalign works? This article covers everything you need to know about Invisalign, from the process of shifting teeth with clear aligners to the average treatment time and factors that may affect it. Discover if Invisalign is the right choice for you and how to maintain good oral hygiene throughout the treatment.
How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign has become a popular alternative to traditional braces for those seeking orthodontic treatment. The clear aligners offer a more discreet and flexible option for straightening teeth without the discomfort and inconvenience of metal wires and brackets. However, one common question remains: how long does Invisalign work? It's essential to understand the duration and factors that can affect the effectiveness of Invisalign treatment to make an informed decision about your dental health. In this article, we will explore the lifespan of Invisalign and why it's crucial to learn more about it before starting treatment.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign uses a series of custom-made clear aligners to gradually shift teeth into their desired positions. The aligners are made of a smooth, BPA-free plastic material that fits snugly over the teeth and is virtually invisible.

Before starting Invisalign treatment, a 3D scan of your teeth is taken to create a digital model of your mouth. Based on this model, your dentist will create a treatment plan that outlines how your teeth will move during each stage of treatment. Each set of aligners is designed to move teeth by a small amount, and you'll switch to a new set of aligners every one to two weeks.

To ensure the best results, it's essential to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours per day, only removing them when eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. It's also important to follow your dentist's instructions for cleaning the aligners and maintaining good oral hygiene throughout treatment. Regular checkups with your dentist will allow them to monitor your progress, make any necessary adjustments, and provide you with new sets of aligners as you progress through treatment.

How Does Invisalign Move Teeth?

According to Clear Smile, invisalign aligners work by gently capturing the forces of tension and compression and gradually repositioning teeth over time. This process involves the resorption of bone and cementum before movement occurs, followed by the deposit of new bone to support the new tooth position.

Both Invisalign and traditional braces are orthodontic methods that work to move teeth into their desired positions. However, the way they achieve this goal is different. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners that apply pressure to teeth to gradually shift them over time. On the other hand, traditional braces use brackets and wires that are attached to teeth to apply force and shift them into the desired position. So while both Invisalign and traditional braces can effectively move teeth, they do so in different ways and have unique advantages and disadvantages that must be considered when choosing between them.

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

According to Your 88 Smiles, in as little as 12-18 months, most adults can complete Invisalign treatment and achieve straight teeth. In fact, some individuals begin to see noticeable improvements in just a few weeks after beginning the Invisalign process.

Here's a list of factors that could affect how long Invisalign takes and some details about each:

  1. The severity of your dental issues: If you have more complex dental problems such as overcrowding or bite issues, your treatment with Invisalign may take longer than someone with minor alignment issues.

  2. Compliance with wearing the aligners: For Invisalign to work effectively, it's crucial to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours per day as advised by the dentist. Failure to follow this instruction may result in delays in treatment.

  3. Patient's age: Adults' teeth tend to move slower than children's teeth, and this can impact how long treatment may take.

  4. Adherence to dental appointments: Regular dental appointments are necessary to check on progress and adjustments, and missing any of these appointments can result in delays in treatment.

  5. Oral hygiene: Good oral hygiene is essential to ensure the aligners and teeth remain clean throughout the treatment process. Poor hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues that can complicate the treatment process.

  6. Genetics: Genetics play a role in how fast teeth move and how prone they are to shifting back into their original positions after treatment. This means that some individuals may require additional treatment to maintain their results over time.

How To Clean Invisalign Retainers?

According to Healthline, it's important to note that cleaning and rinsing are two different things when it comes to Invisalign. While rinsing your aligners may give the appearance of cleanliness, it does not eliminate the unseen bacteria that can accumulate over time.

Below is a list of proper steps to clean Invisalign:

  1. Rinse the aligners with water every time you remove them to prevent saliva and plaque buildup.

  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and clear, fragrance-free antibacterial soap to gently brush the aligners inside and out.

  3. Avoid using toothpaste, colored soaps or any other abrasive materials while cleaning the aligners as this can scratch and discolor them.

  4. Soak the aligners daily in a specialized Invisalign cleaning solution or Retainer Brite solution to help remove bacteria and odors.

  5. Never use hot water to clean the aligners as this can warp or distort their shape.

  6. Keep your aligners in a safe place when not in use, such as the Invisalign case provided by your dentist.

By following these simple steps, you can maintain good oral hygiene and ensure that your Invisalign aligners remain clean and free from bacteria throughout treatment.

How Long Does It Take To Get Used To Invisalign?

According to Teeth First Dental Network, it is typical for patients to become acclimated to the sensation of wearing their Invisalign aligners within one to two weeks. Consistently using the aligners is essential to achieving optimal results.

Here's a list of factors that could affect how long it takes to get used to Invisalign and some details about each:

  1. Pain tolerance: Some patients experience more discomfort than others when adjusting to Invisalign aligners. This can affect how long it takes for them to get used to wearing the aligners.

  2. Eating habits: As Invisalign aligners are removable, it is crucial to remove them when eating or drinking anything other than water. Individuals who frequently snack or drink may find it more challenging to adjust to wearing aligners regularly.

  3. Speaking habits: Invisalign aligners can initially affect speech patterns. The duration it takes to adjust to speaking with aligners varies from patient to patient.

  4. Proper fit: If the aligners do not fit properly, they can cause discomfort and make it difficult to adjust to wearing them. Patients should consult with their dentist if they have concerns about the fit of their aligners.

  5. Oral care: Good oral hygiene practices can help reduce discomfort and irritation caused by wearing Invisalign aligners. Patients should regularly brush and floss their teeth to ensure that their aligners, and their mouths, stay clean and healthy.

  6. Length of wear: Wearing Invisalign aligners for prolonged periods can help speed up the adjustment process and reduce discomfort associated with aligner use.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Invisalign is a highly effective orthodontic treatment that uses clear aligners to gradually shift teeth into their desired positions. This method offers an alternative to traditional braces and is less noticeable and more comfortable. Patients can expect to complete treatment within 12-18 months on average, but this may vary depending on individual factors such as the severity of dental issues, age, oral hygiene, and compliance with wearing the aligners.

If you're considering getting insurance coverage for Invisalign treatment, it's essential to consult with a licensed dental professional who can help assess your needs and develop a customized treatment plan. Additionally, Coverage Guru can help connect you with licensed agents from top insurance companies and generate insurance quotes for you. This will enable you to make an informed decision about your dental health and budget and receive the necessary coverage for Invisalign treatment. Remember, proper oral care practices and adhering to your dentist's instructions are crucial to achieving optimal results from Invisalign treatment.

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