Feeling uncomfortable with your smile and oral health can have far-reaching effects, especially if your line of business requires you to interact with your clients and colleagues constantly. Using Invisalign is a perfect method to achieve the picture-perfect smile. Invisalign consists of clear aligners customized for your teeth and barely invisible and non-invasive than braces, making it a popular orthodontic treatment among many patients. The seasoned orthodontists at The Whittier Dentist can design the treatment plan of your desired teeth position and appearance before making your customized aligners using state-of-art equipment and world-class technology.

Everything You Should Know About Invisalign

Invisalign is a type of braces that uses tray aligners. They are made of Invisalign's plastic blend and manufactured in their facility based on the patient's mouth mold. The clear aligners are solid plastic robust enough to insert pressure on given parts of the teeth to move them to the desired position gradually.

The dentists can use Invisalign for numerous dental issues, including:

  • Open bites — A patient will experience open bites when a couple of teeth fail to touch their teeth on their opposing jaw. Open bites can cause speech challenges and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) pain. Therefore, it is essential to address it early with orthodontic treatment.
  • Underbites and overbites — An underbite occurs when your bottom teeth protrude further than your top teeth. On the other hand, an overbite happens when your top teeth protrude more than your bottom teeth. The orthodontist can recommend another treatment like a jaw expander in severe dental cases but can use Invisalign in the final treatment stages.
  • Crossbite happens when a tooth bites against your opposing tooth's inside. If not properly addressed, it can lead to bone loss or tooth wear.
  • Crowded teeth — If the teeth are too large or the jaw is too tiny, your teeth will look overcrowded and crooked. As a result, the dentist can remove some teeth from your jaw before straightening the remaining teeth with Invisalign.
  • Gap teeth

Invisalign is an effective orthodontic option for almost anyone desiring to improve their smile and straighten their teeth.

  • Children — The aligners can assist in correcting a lot of misalignments in children's teeth, helping them realize a glowing smile and improve their dental health. It is particularly beneficial for teenagers fraught with self-consciousness.
  • Adults — Most adults today choose orthodontic dental work and take control over their health. The dental process is perfect for adults who want a flexible teeth alignment process that improves their smile without using visible metallic braces.

You do not qualify if you want corrective dental work on your back teeth.

Please consult the competent dental team at The Whitter Dentist to check your eligibility for Invisalign.

How Invisalign Dental Treatment Works

Once your dentist determines that you qualify for Invisalign, the initial step involves creating customized trays for the teeth. Once your trays are ready, you should pick them up from the dental health specialist. Then they will guide you on how to wear them and take them out.

To realize the optimal outcome, you should wear your Invisalign trays for at least 22 hours a day.

You must remove the Invisalign before eating your meals and brushing your teeth. Food particles can build up in your aligners or damage them so that they are no longer effective. Just recall wearing your aligners once you are done eating or brushing.

While a patient can drink water while putting on their Invisalign, they should take them out before drinking other beverages to avoid exposing their teeth to sugar and avoid staining their aligners.

All sets of Invisalign gradually push the teeth into the preferred position. You will change to another set of Invisalign every two weeks throughout your treatment period. You should have a dental appointment with the orthodontist every six weeks so that they can monitor the progress.

Each patient has unique dental health, and the dentist will recommend how long you should use the trays during your initial consultation. Many adults should use their Invisalign for approximately a year, whereas children should wear them longer. If a patient has previously used braces and requires a touch-up to straighten their teeth, they will use Invisalign for less than six months.

If you want to straighten your teeth quickly, you should be attentive about using Invisalign for the recommended 20- to 22 hours per day.

Different Advantages of Aligners

There are several advantages of wearing Invisalign for you to consider, including:

  • Aesthetics — You can prefer Invisalign to braces if you do not want the metallic appearance in the mouth. Many adult patients feel the same. It could be why the American Association of Orthodontists reports a high record of adults seeking the orthodontic option.
  • They are removable — Since you can take off your Invisalign at any moment, you can eat your favorite meal and practice proper oral hygiene.
  • Comfort — Generally, the Invisalign feels more like the natural teeths' texture than metallic braces. Conventional braces can rub on your chews, making them feel raw.
  • Seamless teeth cleaning — When using traditional braces, removing plaque and food particles at your gum lines and around the brackets is demanding and time-consuming. On the contrary, when you have aligners, you can take them out and practice your routine oral hygiene. Oral hygiene is essential for your treatment's success.

Cons of Invisalign Treatment Option

While wearing aligners is suitable,  comfortable, and convenient, it can take a while to get accustomed to them. Many patients have difficulties recalling to take them out before meals and putting them on after eating. You can remind yourself by setting alarms after and before planned meals. You can also set reminders on a smartphone, so you do not forget to change into the next set of aligners every two (2) weeks.

Additionally, you can find your speech sounds abnormal when you first have Invisalign. You will experience difficulties pronouncing sounds like “th” and "s." Practicing saying hard words in your home's privacy can help you master speaking clearly with the aligners.

You should also adjust to carrying the aligner case. You can have cases at work or in the purse, bag, or motor vehicle, so you always have one whenever you want to remove your aligners.

After removing the aligners, you can also experience tooth soreness, limiting your food choices. You should avoid hard foods.

A Comprehensive Guide on Invisalign Process

Although the Invisalign process varies with different patients, here is an in-depth treatment experienced by most patients.

Initial Consultation

During your initial consultation, you will have one-on-one discussions with a well-experienced and trained dentist. You and your dentist will discuss your treatment, whether you are eligible, how it works, expected costs, and pros and cons. That way, you can make informed decisions.

Photographs and X-rays

Once you have decided to have Invisalign, your dentist will take photos and x-rays of your face, teeth, and mouth from different angles. It will assist them have detailed images of the mouth that they can base the dental treatment on.

Sometimes, the dentist can also take a lateral cephalometric x-ray. It is a form of diagnostic imaging commonly used by dental experts because it gives clear photos of the link between the cheekbone and jaw. It helps them prepare how to go about teeth alignment for your intended dental goal.

Preparation Work

Some people will require tiny composite patches applied to every tooth to aid the Invisalign to grip onto every tooth and move them. Generally, the patches are made from the same composite material as the fillings and can be easily removed without discomfort once the dental work is over.

Another preparatory work that varies with patients is the amount of interproximal reduction. The procedure involves creating spaces between teeth if your mouth is crowded. Your dentist will sand away enamel with discs, freeing up your tooth for enhanced, less limited future movements.

The Initial Fitting

You can receive your initial feel of the clear aligners during the same dental appointment as the preparation work. Your Invisalign is modeled from the impressions and will feel strange when you first wear them. They should be tight and robust to start the teeth realignment procedure.

If you experience discomfort or pain during your first fitting, speak with the orthodontist.

You Will Experience Changes in the Mouth

When a patient first uses Invisalign, they will experience peculiar and strange changes in the mouth. It is normal. Braces have identical side effects.

You will first experience discomfort, like aching as the teeth are forced into the new position. It will stop within a couple of days after the tray change.

You can also experience teeth sensitivity. While it should stop after a while, toothpaste tailored for sensitive teeth can mitigate the nuisance. Request your experienced dental expert for recommendations.

Some patients experience speech challenges in their initial weeks of putting on trays. The Invisalign takes up room in your mouth, and the tongue does not have the same space to move in. The speech challenge should stop after a few weeks with the practice of complex words.

Changing the Invisalign

Typically, it would help if you change your Invisalign every two weeks. If the teeth have not moved to their desired position, the dentist will extend the duration.

Your dentist will design every new aligner for your next teeth movement phrase, inducing the teeth towards your intended teeth alignment goal.

If you experience severe discomfort or pain between your visits, please immediately contact your dentist.

How to Clean Your Invisalign

One vital part to recall about your Invisalign is cleaning them. Please read this section to learn the best practices to clean the aligners.

Please note that there is a difference between rinsing and cleaning. While rinsing can make Invisalign clean, you have not addressed the unseen bacteria that can build up.

Below is the basic cleaning process:

  1. Rinse the aligners with water every night (Refrain from using hot water to clean your trays)
  2. Brush the clear aligners using gentle, clear liquid soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush (different from the one you brush your teeth with) to remove food particles and debris that have accumulated during the day
  3. Rinse thoroughly
  4. Store in a protective case whenever you are not using your Invisalign

Cleaning Accessories

Invisalign sells a "Steraligner" product with a tray. Its ingredients include sodium bicarbonate (a natural antiseptic) and rubbing alcohol. Please place the aligner in the tray and soak for three (3) minutes when cleaning them. Then rinse the sterilizing solution off before brushing with warm water.

Additionally, Invisalign sells a product known as cleaning crystals that dissolve in water, and you can soak the aligners in.

The crystals contain cleaning agents, like sodium sulfate. The ingredients are identical to products used to clean retainers if you want an affordable and more accessible alternative.

How Often Should You Clean the Clear Aligners?

It would help if you cleaned your Invisalign at night, typically at the same time you floss and brush your teeth. It removes all build-up bacteria, food particles, and debris that accumulated during the day.

Moreover, you should clean the aligners when they look dirty, like you accidentally drank a beverage that is not clear while putting on them or if you wore too quickly following a meal.

On top of extensive cleaning measures, you should rinse the aligners every time you remove them.

Although you will change the aligners after two weeks, you should clean them carefully. Otherwise,

  • Your aligners will discolor,
  • Can result in bad breath, and
  • Expose your teeth to bacteria build-up

Cleansers to Avoid

Some cleansers are damaging or too harsh to use on Invisalign. Common examples include:

  • Mouthwashes containing alcohol
  • Toothpaste
  • Scented soaps that can quickly begin to taste bitter
  • Denture cleaners

Avoid using cleansing soaps that have added dyes, including green, red, or blue soaps. They can easily stain the Invisalign.

Using a coarse bristle toothbrush can also be too harsh on the aligners.

How Much is Invisalign?

If you are contemplating Invisalign treatment while trying to stick to your budget, you are in the right place. In the section below are different factors affecting the orthodontic treatment cost and ways to save on the clear aligners.

The aligner has no exact cost because the price depends on the total number of dental appointments and the condition the aligners address. You can also ask your loved one the amount they paid for the treatment, but it can be different from what you pay because your dental health is unique. The best way to estimate your individualized treatment plan is to consult with your skilled orthodontist.

Generally, the average cost for Invisalign ranges between $3,000 and $8,000.

Factors that Affect the Orthodontist Treatment Price

The Invisalign cost is founded on numerous factors, including:

     a) The Condition's Seriousness

The clear aligners in question can treat a broad spectrum of jaw misalignments. Dental appointments allow dentists to design the treatment and enhance the Invisalign with attachments facilitating teeth movement.

Nevertheless, more severe conditions require more resources and time, costing more money. In other words, the more serious the disease, the higher the overall cost.

     b) Your Dentist's Expertise

Like most other professionals, skilled and experienced dentists charge high prices.

     c) Aftercare Retainers

Once individuals have their Invisalign, they will have a sparkling smile, and their teeth will look straight and beautiful. The patient should initially wear retainers all day and then overnight to maintain this improved appearance.

     d) Any Refinements

More often than not, this dental treatment will deliver your expected results. Regular dental appointments allow the dentist to monitor progress continuously and make necessary adjustments.

Occasionally, there can be challenges in your treatment plan. The teeth probably moved slower than initially anticipated or do not look like your original treatment plan. In this case, your dental expert can order a new set of customized Invisalign that improves your smile.

     e) The Dental Office's Location

If your dentist's office is in a high-end location, their rent and utilities cost more. Eventually, it can mean high costs for the patients.

How to Save on Your Invisalign

Discussed below are different programs and strategies to spread the orthodontic treatment cost out over time or lower it. 

     a) Flexible Spending Account

A flexible spending account allows some pretax funds to be deducted from the salary and set aside to spend your healthcare costs later. An FSA is available through a boss offering the option. Most worker benefits packages include FSAs and are commonly used with debit cards attached to the account.

Since you cannot transfer your FSA funds to the following year, you should take advantage of them before the year ends.

     b) Payment Plans

Most seasoned dentists offer payment plans, so you do not have to clear the entire bill at once. During your initial consultation, inquire from your dentist the amount they estimate the orthodontic treatment will cost and whether their office offers payment plans.

     c) Health Saving Account

A health saving account allows you to take out your pretax money from the salary and set it aside for your healthcare expenses. However, the difference between an HSA and FSA is that you can transfer the money in your account to another year, and an HSA requires you to carry high-deductible insurance.

     d) Dental School

Some dental schools offer dental services at discounts. When you sign up for your treatment at a dental school, you allow a student to study by performing your treatment. Seasoned dental schools ensure that board-certified dentists oversee students offering the service.

     e) Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid

Minor children who receive government support for health coverage can qualify for assistance to cover their Invisalign costs. If the minor's need for orthodontic treatment hinders their overall health, CHIP can cover the aligners. Work with your healthcare insurance representative and orthodontist to make a case and have the juvenile's needs covered.

     f) No-Interest Credit Cards

When properly used, credit cards can finance dental treatment. You can be eligible for a credit card with zero percent annual percentage rate introductory rates. If you pay the required payments and clear the balance before your introductory rate elapses, you will create a flexible payment plan without paying more.

Be cautious of a credit card with deferred interest rates. A deferred interest rate begins collecting interest immediately after a person has a balance and requires them to clear the interest within a given duration. If they clear their outstanding balance with the promotional time, they do not have to pay the interest.

Use a credit card as the last resort since it can be costly if not properly used.

What to Do If Your Invisalign Aligners Cracks

While the trays are durable, they can crack or even break. It would be best to contact your dental specialist immediately if you notice the crack. They will advise you on the steps to take.

If the tray is broken or split to a level that it cannot hold its shape, you should stop using it. Its stiffness and shape are what straighten the teeth.

Since you wear every tray for two (2) weeks, the crack's timing is essential and determines your dentist's recommendations. If you are in the early days of putting on a new set of aligners, the dentist can advise you to use your previous set while replacing the broken one.

You can start using your next set if you are past day eight.

Some patients try repairing cracks in the Invisalign using strong adhesives. It is best to leave the repair work to the experts. Many adhesives contain toxic materials.

Are There Alternatives to Invisalign?

Invisalign is a household name for clear aligners. However, there are alternatives, including:

  • Lingual braces — If you are more concerned with your appearance, you can inquire from your dentist about lingual braces. They use clear, metallic, or ceramic brackets and are placed behind your teeth and cannot be seen whenever you smile. They are more pocket friendly than Invisalign.
  • Smile Direct Club is a cost-effective option and ideal for people who dread dental visits. You can make your mouth's mold and mail it to the Smile Direct Club. You will receive the aligner in your mail and install them as guided.

Find a Skilled Orthodontist Near Me

Invisalign is an innovative orthodontist method that uses removable, clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth gradually. They do not use brackets or wires, so nothing irritates or pokes your cheeks. They are also transparent, and most people will not notice when you have the aligners on, making them a discreet option to improve your smile and boost confidence. At The Whittier Dentist, we can customize your treatment plan and use world-class technology and state-of-art equipment to help you realize the straight and healthy smile you deserve. If you want to learn whether you are a fit candidate or more about Invisalign, please call us at 562-632-1223, Our dentists look forward to seeing you satisfied with your smile and oral health.