“How does Invisalign work?” and “Does Invisalign really work?” are two important questions for anyone looking into an Invisalign treatment to ask. They can help you better understand the treatment and if it’s something you want to pursue.
There are also many “How-to’s” to consider with an Invisalign treatment:
- How to start Invisalign
- How to use Invisalign
- How to care for Invisalign retainers (trays or aligners)
- How to eat with Invisalign
Since Invisalign is relatively new and different from traditional braces, there’s still some unknown surrounding it. But even though Invisalign works differently from conventional braces, the Invisalign purpose is the same: fix tooth/jaw alignment issues and create a straighter smile.
If you’re wondering how Invisalign works or looking for some Invisalign instructions, we’re glad you’re here.
In this article, we’re answering some of the most common Invisalign questions and providing some clarity to many Invisalign “How-to’s.” Keep scrolling to learn more about the Invisalign treatment process.
3 Common Invisalign Questions
We’ll start by answering some of the most common questions people have about Invisalign. After answering these questions, we’ll share some best practices for Invisalign.
Here are three questions you may be wondering about Invisalign.
1. Is Invisalign Considered Braces?
Since Invisalign works similarly to braces, it’s become somewhat synonymous with braces.
But is Invisalign the same as braces? Braces and Invisalign have some similarities, but they are different.
The main similarity between Invisalign and braces is that they’re both tools orthodontists use to straighten teeth. They’re also both placed on/over your teeth. But that’s where the similarities end.
There are many more differences than similarities between Invisalign and braces:
- The metal brackets and wire that orthodontists permanently place in a patient’s mouth for traditional braces are very noticeable. Invisalign, on the other hand, is clear and nearly invisible to the naked eye.
- The metal brackets and wire for traditional braces stay in the patient’s mouth until the end of their treatment—they can’t be removed. Patients can remove Invisalign trays whenever they want (but it’s recommended only to remove them when eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth!).
- Traditional braces “push” teeth into correct alignment, while Invisalign uses trays placed over all your teeth to force your teeth into alignment gradually.
Even with all the differences, the braces and Invisalign purpose is the same: straighter teeth for a more beautiful smile.
2. How Does Invisalign Work?
Second, people like to know, “How do Invisalign aligners work?”
Invisalign uses a set of plastic mouthguard-like trays (also called aligners or retainers) that an orthodontist specially creates to fit over your teeth. These trays put pressure on your teeth and force them into the correct position.
Once you’re fitted for your trays and your orthodontist shares your treatment plan, they’ll start giving you aligners at a certain interval. Some orthodontists will give you 1-2 weeks of trays and have you schedule appointments to get new ones. Other orthodontists may provide you with 8-12 aligners at a time, meaning you’ll go back to your orthodontist every 8-12 weeks for new trays.
Regardless of your tray interval, it’s important that you follow all of your orthodontist’s Invisalign instructions throughout the treatment. This will ensure you’ll have the straight teeth and smile you were hoping for!
3. Does Invisalign Really Work?
Lastly, potential Invisalign patients want to know if Invisalign really works.
Yes, Invisalign does work!
Whether you’re a teenager or an adult looking for a straighter smile, Invisalign is an alignment treatment that provides straighter teeth.
There are some unique situations that Invisalign can’t fix, but Invisalign is a powerful tool that can help with:
- Crooked teeth
- Slight overbites
- Gaps in teeth
Ultimately, your orthodontist can tell you if Invisalign is right for you. But there are very few conditions that disqualify someone from receiving Invisalign.
The 4 “How-to’s” of Invisalign
Now that we’ve answered some Invisalign questions let’s dive into some of the practical aspects of Invisalign.
Here are four of the top “How-to’s” of Invisalign.
1. How to Start Invisalign
Your first step toward an Invisalign treatment is to schedule a consultation with a trained orthodontist.
During the consultation, your orthodontist will:
- Ask questions and look in your mouth to understand your oral situation
- Potentially take some photos or x-rays of your mouth
- Answer your questions and provide you with an Invisalign description
- Provide a treatment timeline
- Give you a cost estimate
After your consultation, you’ll have time to consider an Invisalign treatment further. If you decide to move forward with treatment, you can reach out to your orthodontist, and they’ll set you up for your first appointment.
Important Note: Some dentists provide Invisalign services, but they haven’t received the extra years of orthodontic training (the science of moving teeth and the jaw). It’s essential that you have an orthodontist provide and oversee your Invisalign treatment for best results.
2. How to Use Invisalign
Once you start the Invisalign process, your orthodontist will provide you with some Invisalign instructions.
Some of the recommendations your orthodontist will share may include:
- Wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours each day
- Cleaning your trays regularly
- Taking your trays out before eating or drinking
- Try to brush your teeth before putting your trays back in your mouth
Your orthodontist may have other unique instructions, but following all of their recommendations is the best way to ensure desired results.
3. How to Care for Invisalign Retainers
Caring for your Invisalign retainers (trays or aligners) is vital for the success of your Invisalign treatment.
Good aligner care includes:
- Washing them with a toothbrush or soaking them in dental cleaner every day
- Keeping track of them when they’re not in your mouth
- Taking them out when chewing or eating
Not caring well for your trays can result in:
- Damaged trays that need to be replaced and cost you extra money
- Increased risk for tooth decay or gum disease from bacteria that sticks to your trays
Taking good care of your aligners will help keep your Invisalign treatment and overall oral health on the right track.
4. How to Eat with Invisalign
Since you can remove Invisalign trays, there aren’t any dietary restrictions with Invisalign.
But there is one primary rule you’ll want to follow: always take your trays out before eating food or drinking anything other than water.
If you didn’t notice, we mentioned “taking out your trays” in the previous two sections—that’s how vital of a recommendation it is to follow.
Keeping your trays in your mouth when you eat can damage your trays. However, it’s not the food that harms them, but the pressure from chewing. So, even when you eat soft foods, it’s recommended that you take your trays out.
Additionally, you should take out your aligners before drinking anything other than water.
Sugary or colored drinks can stain your Invisalign trays. The sugar in these drinks can also get stuck behind your aligners and increase your risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Before you replace your trays after eating or drinking, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth or rinse them off with water.
Schedule Your Invisalign Consultation Today
Despite the growing popularity, there are still many questions about Invisalign.
In this article, we answered these three common questions:
- Is Invisalign considered braces? Invisalign isn’t considered braces and has many differences from traditional braces.
- How does Invisalign work? Invisalign uses a series of clear, plastic trays worn over your teeth that gradually force your teeth into position.
- Does Invisalign really work? Yes, Invisalign is an effective tooth straightening tool.
We also provided some Invisalign instructions and “How-to’s”:
- How to start Invisalign
- How to use Invisalign
- How to care for Invisalign retainers
- How to eat with Invisalign
But if you still have questions about Invisalign or aren’t sure about a particular aspect of your treatment, you can always talk to your orthodontist.
At Bates Orthodontics, we’re experts when it comes to Invisalign treatments. We’ve recently become a Diamond Invisalign provider, placing us in the top 1% of all providers in the nation. So whether you’re a teenager, college student, or an adult looking for that perfect smile, we’re ready and prepared to handle your treatment from start to finish!
Schedule your free consultation today to see how Invisalign can provide you with the smile you’ve always wanted.