Clear Invisalign braces are a great way to straighten your teeth if you have certain types of malocclusion (misalignment). At SF Dental, we have helped many patients successfully complete Invisalign treatment. Below you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions patients ask when they’re considering Invisalign. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask us!
How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign consists of a series of clear plastic aligners, which look similar to the dental retainers you may have used in the past. Most Invisalign treatments use about 20 different aligners, designed to progressively move your teeth into the desired position. You wear each aligner for a few weeks, allowing your teeth to adjust. Once your teeth have shifted, we swap in the next aligner in the series.
How long does an Invisalign treatment take?
The treatment time depends on how much your teeth alignment needs to change. We will discuss treatment length after the ClinCheck analysis has been done, but the average adult case takes about 12 months.
What situations is Invisalign best suited for?
Invisalign works best for mild to moderate orthodontic issues. In addition, it is best suited for a specific type of adjustment called a tipping movement. For more details, see Invisalign: Pros and Cons.
How often do I have to wear the aligners?
You will see the best results if you wear them for 20 to 22 hours per day. Ideally, remove them only when you eat and when you clean your teeth.
Do I wear the aligners while I’m sleeping?
Yes, you should wear them while you sleep.
Are there certain types of foods or drinks I need to avoid?
Since you remove the aligners when you eat, there are no restrictions on the types of food or drink you can enjoy. However, it is important to brush your teeth after every meal to prevent bacterial growth that could cause cavities or other problems.
How do I clean my aligners?
Brush them with your toothbrush and rinse with water, as shown in the video below. If you prefer, Invisalign also sells their own specialized cleaning system.
Will I need a retainer after treatment is finished?
Yes. It is best to wear a retainer following any orthodontic treatment, whether you choose Invisalign or more traditional braces, because retainers help reduce the chances of relapse. We will discuss post-treatment retainers as part of your Invisalign treatment.
I’ve had braces before. Can I still do Invisalign?
Certainly! Many Invisalign patients are people who had braces earlier in life but whose teeth have since shifted. Invisalign can be a good way to move the teeth back into position without resorting to metal braces.
I have bridges or veneers. Can I still do Invisalign?
These types of restorations can cause complications for Invisalign treatment. In certain cases treatment is still possible, but we will need to assess your situation before proceeding.
- Kravitz, N.D. et al. (2009). “How well does Invisalign work? A prospective clinical study evaluating the efficacy of tooth movement with Invisalign.” American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.
- Wong, B.H. (2002). “Invisalign A to Z.” American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.