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Invisalign: The Invisible Treatment

Consumers today have multiple options to choose from when selecting orthodontic braces. In addition to metal braces, a relatively new orthodontic product called Invisalign can be used in orthodontics to align and straighten teeth. Orthodontic patients should consider all of their options before choosing an orthodontic treatment to correct their smile. Learn more about the Invisalign treatment process and see if it is right for you.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign refers to a series of transparent and removable teeth aligners that can be used instead of traditional dental braces. Invisalign evolved as a response to the demand for finding a suitable alternative to traditional metallic braces. The invisible braces are removable pieces of transparent plastic trays that are undetectable once they are worn. By simply wearing the aligners over their teeth, the patient’s teeth gradually shift into place. The invisibility, convenience, and comfort of Invisalign have made them a popular alternative to traditional braces, which have uncomfortable metal brackets and wires that irritate the mouth. Invisalign braces are designed, manufactured, and marketed by Align Technology, Inc., who pioneered the invisible orthodontics market with the introduction of the Invisalign system in 1999.

Invisalign Process

The Invisalign treatment involves the replacement of invisible braces approximately every two weeks to accommodate shifting of the teeth. The process of manufacturing the customized Invisalign begins at the dentist’s office, where they take dental impressions, photographs, and x-rays of the patient’s teeth. At Align Inc, the dental impressions are put through a scanning system to create a computer generated three dimensional model. Software then creates an evaluation of the different stages of the treatment and creates customized models for each stage. After the orthodontist reviews each stage of the process, each Invisalign is shipped to your orthodontist and given to the patient.

Types of Invisalign Treatments

  • Invisalign Full is the foundation treatment option that straightens and aligns teeth with a full spectrum of treatment options.
  • Invisalign Express 10 & Invisalign Lite are lower priced solutions for less complex orthodontic cases. The two options differ slightly: Invisalign Express 10 uses up to 10 sets of aligners while Invisalign Lite uses up to 14 sets.
  • Invisalign Teen includes everything provided by Invisalign Full plus additional features that address the unique orthodontic needs of teen patients, such as wear indicators and six free replacement aligners.
  • Invisalign Assist was designed with built-in features that provide doctors with additional clinical guidance, such as treatment planning assistance, progress checking, and staged shipment of aligners.


Invisalign Treatment Timeframe

  • Invisalign braces should be worn approximately 20 hours/day and dental check-ups are required every 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Minor Adjustments: 20 weeks.
  • Major Adjustments: Process time may vary.


How to Get Invisalign

Potential orthodontic patients should begin by scheduling a consultation with an orthodontist to assess which type of orthodontic treatment is most appropriate. If Invisalign is recommended, the orthodontist will move forward with the appropriate set-up to begin treatment.

Choosing an orthodontic treatment is not a decision that should be made without careful consideration. To learn more about the Invisalign treatment, please visit the blog for the top pros and cons of Invisalign braces.

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