Several years ago, metal braces were the only way to straighten your teeth and correct any bite problems. And if you wanted to straighten your teeth discreetly, you were left with no choice but to have the uncomfortable lingual braces hidden behind your teeth.
Fast forward to 2022, Invisalign, the pioneer of a clear aligner system, is the world’s most innovative and discreet way to correct malocclusions (teeth alignment).
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a series of clear plastic removable aligners that gently move a patient’s teeth to their ideal positions. With approximately 13.5 million cases done worldwide, they are the most popular and widespread clear aligner solution!
There are downsides, however, and they include long commitment and price (up to $7,000 – $8,000 per treatment). You have to see a dentist or orthodontist frequently from start to finish, but unlike at-home clear aligners, Invisalign can correct simple to complex malocclusion cases.
It may be a disadvantage or an advantage depending if you prefer to work on your smile comfortably at home or be seen by a dental professional. According to a survey done by Olson, J. in 2019, 43.8% of respondents preferred orthodontists when asked about their preference in provider type, and DTC (Direct-to-Consumer aligners) placed second with 34.1%.
Here are the PROs and CONs of having Invisalign treatment.
PROs of Invisalign
- Utilizes innovative technology to deliver precise treatment every time for everyone.
- Can correct mild to complex bite problems.
- Your local dentist or orthodontist will do your initial consultation by taking scans, x-rays, and a thorough dental examination to ensure you are ready to receive clear aligner treatment.
- The same dentist will work with Invisalign to create a customized treatment for you.
- Your local dentist will be responsible for managing your treatment, answering concerns, and always being available if any problem arises.
- Invisalign aligners are removable.
- Promotes good oral hygiene because it’s easier to brush and floss as compared to having metal braces.
- More comfortable than metal braces because there are no metal components.
- Available in Invisalign Teen, which is specially designed for teens.
- Easy to find an Invisalign Provider since most dentists and orthodontists worldwide offer Invisalign.
- Some dental offices integrate Invisalign with DentalMonitoring, a remote monitoring app.
CONs of Invisalign
- Very expensive as compared to other in-office aligners available and at-home clear aligners.
- Even with a remote monitoring app, your dentist or orthodontist will have to see you in their office for check-ups.
- You will not be able to get all your clear aligners. Depending on your case, your dentist might give it to you in batches or one set at a time.
See our article: Why Can Teeth Become Yellow with Invisalign?
How Invisalign aligners work
Unlike most at-home clear aligners, you will need to visit a dental office for an evaluation, digital scans, x-rays, and thorough dental examination before starting Invisalign treatment. It shouldn’t be hard to look for an Invisalign Provider, as most local dentists and orthodontists offer Invisalign.
After your scans are taken, your orthodontist will coordinate with Invisalign, and they will create your customized plan. Once your orthodontist is happy with the treatment plan, a 3D animation of your treatment plan will be shown to you, including how your smile would look after the treatment.
Once your trays are ready, your dentist will give you your first set of aligners, and you will go back every month for a routine check-up and to track your progress. Throughout the course of your treatment, your orthodontist may place composite attachments and have you use elastics and some other auxiliary components that will help you achieve a straighter smile.
After your treatment, your dentist will place fixed retainers or provide clear retainers to keep your teeth from shifting back to their original position.
See our article: Can You Get Invisalign With Missing Tooth?
How long does treatment take?
Treatment duration varies from 6 months to as long as 2 years. You might see this as a disadvantage of Invisalign over the at-home clear aligners, which usually take 4-6 months. But, it is worth mentioning that the more complex your bite problem is, the longer you have to wear Invisalign.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to orthodontic treatments, so the duration depends on several factors like:
- the severity of teeth misalignment and bite problems.
- patient compliance in wearing Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours daily.
- patient’s age.
How much does Invisalign cost?
The cost of Invisalign treatment ranges from $3000 to $7000, depending on the severity of every case. Those with complex bite problems (i.e., overbite, overjet, crossbites) will require more time and more aligners to slowly move teeth to their ideal position. Thus, these cases are more expensive than those with mild crowding issues.
Does Invisalign really work?
Absolutely! Invisalign wouldn’t be around, loved by dental experts and patients since 1997, if it doesn’t work. As of June 2022, Invisalign has transformed 13.5 million smiles worldwide.
According to a systematic review on the effectiveness of clear aligner therapy that was published in the Journal of Craniomaxillofacial Research, Invisalign is the most popular aligner brand, which was used in 16 out of 18 studies. It also showed that the Invisalign system is more effective or offers more clinical advantages than other clear aligner brands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Invisalign offer discounts?
Invisalign doesn’t advertise discounts directly because your dentist or orthodontist determines the cost. Some dental offices may offer discounts, and you need to ask the dental office’s treatment or financial coordinator to learn more about promos.
Are Invisalign Aligners safe?
Invisalign clear aligners are completely safe and have been approved by the FDA since 1998. They’re made from medical-grade plastic and do not contain bisphenol-A, an industrial chemical better known as “BPA.”
Does Invisalign accept insurance?
If you have dental or orthodontic coverage on your insurance, partial or full Invisalign cost is most likely to be covered, especially if you are seeing a specialist orthodontist. Every dental office differs, too, so it’s better to discuss financing with them.
Does Invisalign fix overbite?
Yes, and this is backed up by several studies and research. A study published by Khosravi, R. in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics showed that Invisalign had corrected and managed 120 overbite cases relatively well.
Invisalign comparison to others
Invisalign is still the world’s most innovative and leading clear aligner system. However, many patients have doubts about getting Invisalign due to the cost. Invisalign is almost double the price of other in-office clear aligner brands and is 2-3 times more expensive than at-home aligners (i.e., Byte, Candid, NewSmile, SmileDirectClub, AlignerCo).
The closest competitor of Invisalign is Candid. Candid is a hybrid teleorthodontic system that requires you to see a dentist for assessment but continues the whole treatment remotely at home. Candid costs just a few thousand less than Invisalign, but most patients prefer Candid over Invisalign due to its convenience.
Nowadays, Invisalign Providers are utilizing DentalMonitoring or other remote monitoring equipment and apps to decrease the frequency of office visits while on Invisalign treatment. Although Invisalign will never go 100% remote like Candid, it is helpful for Invisalign patients with busy lifestyles or work schedules to let their dentist stay on track with treatment while having fewer visits.
Invisalign is still a popular option for people who want to straighten their teeth and feel assured that a dental specialist is able to look after them and is always available in case of emergency.
Moreover, Invisalign expanded its types of aligners to Invisalign First (for ages 8 to 12), Invisalign Teen (for ages 13 to 18), and Invisalign adults (for ages 18+) to specifically address the needs and preferences of these age groups. Aside from aesthetics, kids and teens love Invisalign for its superior comfort.
- Olsen, J., Comparison of Patient Factors Influencing the Selection of an Orthodontist, General Dentist, or Direct-To-Consumer Aligners for Orthodontic Treatment. Virginia Commonwealth University. (2019). Available online at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6855&context=etd
- Mortazavi,M., et al. An updated systematic review on the effectivity of clear aligner therapy: A review. Journal of Craniomaxillofacial Research. (2020). Available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349579223_An_updated_systematic_review_on_the_effectivity_of_clear_aligner_therapy