The Ultimate FAQ Guide to Invisalign
If you’re looking to change your smile, without the use of traditional braces, then Invisalign is the go-to treatment for you. It’s innovative system of clear aligners creates many happy patients all around the world, every day. Of course, such a great system comes with lots of questions, so lets see how many we can answer in our ultimate FAQ!
Invisalign uses a series of clear, plastic retainers to move your teeth over a matter of months. Each retainer is made using a vacuumed plastic over a 3D printed model of your teeth, and is slightly different to the one before. This means that pressure is being applied to your teeth to move them in the desired direction.
Having Invisalign treatment is a big commitment that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. You have to wear each aligner for at least 23 hours a day for it to be able to work properly. It should only be removed for eating, drinking certain drinks and brushing your teeth at night. You will need to wear each aligner for up to 2 weeks, occasionally longer.
You may also need to have little pips put on your teeth. These small, tooth coloured attachments made of composite, will help the aligners move your teeth into their new positions. They’re only temporary and will be taken off at the end of treatment. Usually you may not need as many pips as pictured below, but these may be necessary during treatment. You will be advised as to whether you need any during the Clincheck stage of treatment.
The first stage is to take a 3D scan of your mouth. This can also be done via impressions, but with a 3D scan, the images are sent straight to Invisalign, instead of having to wait for them to be delivered by post.
Once Invisalign have received the scan, they will create what is called a Clincheck. This is where they have detailed all stages of your treatment, and sent it back to the dentist to review. At this point, your dentist will work with Invisalign to create any adjustments they feel necessary, before showing you the final result. You will end up with a short video like this:
Once you are happy with the Clincheck, we will give Invisalign the go ahead to make all of your aligners. They will then be shipped to us, and we can start treatment.
After wearing all the aligners for the required time and making sure you are happy with the results, we will make you a retainer. We have 2 options for the retainers, which I will detail below. Once your retainers are fitted, your treatment will be complete.
One thing about teeth is that they love to try and get back into their original positions. It can take years sometimes, and a lot of patients we see have had Invisalign when they were younger.
So, we always have to advise patients that after orthodontics, you will have to retain your teeth for life. By this, we mean using something in the mouth that stops your teeth from moving.
We offer two types of retainers: fixed and removable. A fixed retainer is a small, thin appliance that is attached to the back of the teeth with composite. You can’t see it, as it is behind your teeth, but it’s there to stop your teeth from moving. A removable retainer is much like the Invisalign retainers, and you can take it out.
We always recommend having both.
Fixed retainers are great because you don’t have to worry too much about them. They just sit there and do their job, but occasionally, one part of it may become detached from the tooth. They follow the same rules as when you break a tooth… it’ll happen when you’re away or on a weekend, or generally when you can’t get to a dentist. Which is why we recommend having the removable retainer as well, as a back up.
Once you’ve finished treatment, your teeth will still be ‘setting’ into their new positions, which means if they’re not held in place, they can start to move pretty quickly, and I mean within a day. So if your fixed retainer fails, you’re going to want that removable one to sit over it, if it comes loose.
So although the Invisalign treatment is relatively short, bear in mind that you will need to use some sort of life long retention if you don’t want your teeth to move back.
The cost of Invisalign varies from practice to practice, and in different areas of the country. It will also depend on whether you are having one arch (upper teeth/lower teeth) or both arches treated. You should expect to pay from around £2950 for a single arch, up to what could be around £6000 for both arches. However, please take a look at our fee guide for our prices.
If the position of your teeth bother you enough to be on this FAQ and researching orthodontics, then it will definitely be worth it. You can always take a look at our Smileview software if you are still on the fence about treatment. It’ll show you a simulation of what your teeth could look like after treatment.
Invisalign is quite a commitment, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, the results will be amazing. Simple cases can be completed in around 6 months, with some more complex cases taking as long as 24 months. On average, we say to expect treatment to take 12 to 18 months, but if you require refinements at the end, this may be a little longer.
Refinements are usually suggested at the end of treatment if say, one particular tooth isn’t in the correct position, or the teeth haven’t moved quite as expected. Obviously, we do extensive planning towards all Invisalign treatments, but as with anything, occasionally things won’t go quite to plan, and we will need to carry on treatment a little longer. That’s not to say you have to have them, but as Invisalign is a money and time commitment, we say you may as well get the result you wanted from the start.
The last stage is to have your retainers fitted. And then you’re good to go!
We recommend regular check ups with your dentist, just to keep an eye on that retainer. Other than that, you should be good.
Treatment can be as short as 6 trays for very mild cases, to as many as 30+. But on average, you’re looking at about 20ish trays. It does vary though, and will only be confirmed after a Clincheck from Invisalign.
They will unless you retain them, as detailed above.
They can, unless you are very strict with your retainers.
Each individual case will have pros and cons towards Invisalign. The biggest pro is that treatment is almost invisible whilst you’re having it done, which is why most people chose Invisalign over all others. The biggest con is probably that you have to wear each tray for 23 hours a day for the treatment to work. But you just have to remember that it’ll be worth it at the end of treatment, and it is only temporary!
Tooth movement will be anywhere between 0.3mm and 0.5mm with each tray. Small changes will make a big difference at the end!
Your trays shouldn’t need soaking at all. Each tray will be worn for about 2 weeks, in which time, a simple scrub with a damp toothbrush should suffice. If you find your trays are going yellow before you finish wearing them, then please ask your dentist who will advise you on what you can soak them in if needs be.
Patients often report that the first tray is the most painful, due to the fact that it’s started putting pressure on your teeth that they probably have never encountered before. We recommend stocking up on painkillers for the first couple of days, which are said to be the absolute worst. But it will get easier with the next aligner, as your teeth will be getting used to the pressure.
You should only wear your Invisalign aligners for the amount of time specified by your dentist. If you have been told to wear them for 2 weeks and then change them, please wear them for 2 weeks.
Trying to speed up movement of teeth, may cause irreversible damage to the tooth root, and cause your teeth to become loose. This is not what you want as loose teeth cannot be tightened again.
It can do! It depends on how much we are moving your teeth, or whether we are moving them backwards or forwards, as this can change how your lips sit on your teeth.
Chewies don’t speed up Invisalign, but they do help your aligners to seat properly in your mouth, making sure they’re doing their job properly.
You should avoid this if possible, unless you are using Chewies. Excess pressure may cause the aligner to snap or break, which could delay treatment.
20 hours isn’t really enough time to be wearing your Invisalign. You want to be getting as close to 23 hours as possible to avoid delays during your treatment.
This will help keep liquid away from your aligners, but it’s best to stick to just water whilst wearing them. Liquids that get caught between your aligners and teeth may cause decay of the teeth if left there too long.
Your dentist will be able to advise 100% on this, but usually, super severe misalignment that may require surgery, very large gaps (I mean, tooth sized gaps!) or if you still have baby teeth. These may need to be extracted prior to treatment.
Ideally, no. You’d be surprised how quickly your teeth can and will move back. This may mean that your current aligner no longer fits, and you may have to be refitted for the rest of the treatment, depending on how much your teeth have moved. So really, you need to keep your aligners in for the entirety of your treatment.
Yes. You take them out only to eat and brush your teeth.
The Invisalign aligners themselves will not yellow your teeth. However, if you eat and drink with them in, then you may see a difference in your teeth. Food trapped in your aligner may cause decay, as it will be sat next to the tooth for a long period of time. As long as you don’t eat or drink anything other than water with your aligners in, you should be fine.
Why would you want to cheat? If you’re spending all this money, and giving so much time and effort into changing your smile, why waste it on cheating?
If you’re thinking about cheating in the sense of using another system, then there are others available, and by all means, do some research. I don’t think Invisalign will judge you too much for it!
You should avoid anything fizzy whilst wearing your aligners, due to the liquid resting between your aligners and your teeth, and this may cause erosion. Water would be best to drink, as it contains fluoride, which is actually good for your teeth.
Invisalign is great for treating misalignment of the teeth across the board. It works really well on mild cases, but it can stand up to the test of a more severe case. Your dentist will be able to advise you more.
The aligners themselves will not damage your teeth. There is a small risk, as with all orthodontic treatment, of something called root resorbtion. This is when the teeth are moved too quickly, and the roots, which are nestled deep within your jaw bone (or mandible bone when talking about the upper jaw), start to resorb, or shrink. This is a rare side affect of orthodontic treatment but it can sometimes happen. It happens more when the teeth are moved too quickly, and this is one of the reasons we don’t advise you to try and speed up your treatment by wearing your aligners for a shorter period.
They all move the teeth to some small degree.
Invisalign is great because the aligners are soft and flexible, and won’t rub your soft tissues as much. As a regular brace wearer when I was younger, I can tell you that those bad boys tore up my cheeks something rotten in the first few months, and I ended up with a lot of ulcers due to the metal rubbing on my soft tissues. It’s a good job the mouth is the fastest healing area of your body!
It’s best to get a dental professional to remove them. They’re made of composite and will be pretty tough to get off on your own. If you do manage to ping one off, you’ll still be left with rough edges and residue, so it’s best to go to a dentist.
It will get as close as it can, if not better with the right course of treatment.
As long as your dentist has OK’d your treatment and gum health, and you keep up with your regular oral hygiene routine at home (brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and flossing once a day), you should be absolutely fine.
Some patients have reported losing weight due to not being able to snack whilst wearing Invisalign, so if you’re looking to lose weight, that’s a good side effect!
Yes, it shouldn’t interfere with kissing!
Just water whilst you have the aligner in your mouth. Hot drinks may cause them to warp, whilst coloured drinks could cause them to discolour.
Yes! Your tongue is just getting used to something foreign in your mouth. Give it a couple of weeks and you’ll be back to normal.
It’s not recommended to drink anything coloured or warm whilst you have your aligners in as you may damage them.
Yes. The attachments are made from composite, which is a material that is set hard whilst you are in the dental chair. So don’t worry about damaging them. If one does pop off though, please get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible as this may affect how the aligners are working.
This varies from person to person and severity of case. Your dentist should be able to give you a good estimation but it’ll be anywhere between 6 months and usually 18 months. To move your teeth any quicker could risk damaging them.
We recommend chopping it up first. The apple, not the attachments.
No, don’t eat anything with your aligners in as the food will get stuck and may cause decay in the long term. Take them out to eat, then brush your teeth and pop them back in when you’re done.
No, once a day should be fine.
It is as long as it’s retained afterwards.
I hope your questions have been answered in this ultimate guide. But if not, please use the form below to get in touch and we will be happy to help.
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