What Exactly Is Invisalign, and How Does It Work?

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Invisalign before. Even if you don’t know someone who’s used clear aligners personally, you’ve probably seen ads in magazines and on television. If you’re considering straightening your teeth, you may wonder how, exactly, Invisalign differs from traditional metal braces and whether it’s an option for you. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Invisalign?

Traditional metal braces straighten your teeth using brackets and wires. The wires are attached to your brackets; and as the wires are tightened, bent, or otherwise adjusted, your teeth are pushed and pulled into the positions planned by your dentist or orthodontist.

Invisalign, instead, uses a series of clear plastic aligners to move your teeth. A 3D model is created of your teeth and jaw; and a series of aligners are created, each with the position of your teeth moved slightly. Most patients receive 20 to 30 sets of aligners, with the first set looking much like their teeth now and the very last set featuring straight teeth and a correct bite. Progressing through each set of aligners moves your teeth gently, predictably, and gradually.

Benefits of Invisalign

There are many reasons why patients choose Invisalign over traditional braces. The most common reason is because they’re virtually invisible. Many adults and teenagers feel self-conscious about having metal braces, but Invisalign is discreet. 

That’s not the only reason to choose Invisalign though. Because Invisalign aligners can be removed, you can continue to eat all of your favorite foods and brush and floss as usual – this means less bad breath as well!  They’re also more comfortable than braces without the bulky brackets, poking wires, and sometimes painful adjustments. 

Although Invisalign is very different from traditional metal braces, they straighten teeth and correct bites just as well. In fact, in some cases, Invisalign can do the job faster.

The Invisalign process

The process of getting Invisalign is simple. We’ll use a special camera to take “digital impressions” here in our office so we can create a 3D model of your smile. This allows us to create a treatment plan and show you a preview of how your teeth will move as you progress through your aligners. Instead of having to sit through uncomfortable traditional impressions made with messy impression material, we’ll use highly accurate digital images from our new iTero camera to scan your smile quickly and comfortably.

Your aligners are fabricated using 3D printing and you’ll wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day, switching to a new set of aligners every few weeks as instructed. Most Invisalign treatment plans take between nine and 18 months, depending on the extent of correction needed. Every six to eight weeks, we’ll have you come in for an office visit so we can examine your teeth, make sure your treatment is right on track, and make adjustments if needed.

Once the Invisalign treatment is complete, you’ll be given a pair of retainers to help you maintain your results for a lifetime.

Learn more about Invisalign

Is Invisalign right for you? Contact us today at 212.685.4730 to schedule an appointment for a consultation here in our conveniently located Midtown Manhattan office.