The Truth About Invisalign Clear Aligners

In the not so recent past, there were very few options available if you wanted to straighten your teeth or improve your oral health. Getting the smile you wanted could mean months or even years of uncomfortable metal braces. Thanks to advancements in orthodontic techniques and technology, this is no longer the case! Here at Thomas Kovacs Orthodontics, we offer a wide variety of exciting treatment options, including Invisalign clear aligners. 

As our most popular alternative to braces, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners to correct orthodontic issues instead of brackets, bands, and wires. Although we see more and more people using them every year, Invisalign is still considered a relatively new treatment option, especially when compared to traditional braces. They’ve only been in wide use for the last two decades, so many people aren’t sure exactly what the system is or how it works. 

If you’ve considered using Invisalign to straighten your own smile, it’s important to have accurate information before making the choice to move forward with a treatment plan. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the truth behind Invisalign clear aligners!

What is Invisalign? How do the aligners work?

The Invisalign clear aligners we know and love were developed in the late 1990s, but similar trays had been in use for years as post-treatment retainers. In the beginning, Invisalign was mainly used for simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. Over time, the design of the aligners has changed, and they are now able to correct many of the most common orthodontic issues just as effectively as braces.

The Invisalign system utilizes unique software and technology to move crooked and misaligned teeth in stages with a series of customized aligners. At the end of each stage, patients will replace their current aligner with the next in the series to keep up with the movement of the teeth. This usually happens every 1-2 weeks, depending on the specific treatment plan. 

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

Patient compliance is important regardless of the treatment method you’re using, but it plays an essential role in the success of Invisalign aligners. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, it’s up to the patient to wear them the recommended 20-22 hours a day throughout the course of treatment. Patients who fail to hold up their end of the treatment bargain won’t get the results they are hoping for and could face longer treatment times in general.

We’re often asked how long a patient will need orthodontic treatment. Since every smile is unique and every patient responds to treatment in their own way, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to that. Every case is different and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. In general, however, the average time spent in aligners is 9-15 months with 18-30 aligners worn during that time. The good news? This is actually slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!

Is Invisalign more expensive than traditional braces?

There are several factors associated with the overall cost of any treatment. If all things are considered equally, however, Invisalign tends to cost just about the same as traditional braces. We believe everyone should have access to high-quality orthodontic care and affordable treatment options. To that end, we offer a wide range of payment options for every budget, including financing with no initial payment and a monthly installment plan. If you have dental insurance that will cover orthodontic treatment, our team will work with you to maximize your insurance reimbursement for covered procedures.

Does Invisalign have any advantages over traditional braces?

Because they’re both clear and removable, Invisalign aligners give patients a bit more flexibility than traditional treatment methods. Take food restrictions, for instance. Patients in braces must avoid any crunchy or chewy foods throughout the treatment process in order to protect the brackets and wires. This is one of the toughest parts of treatment for many patients, but it’s not even an issue with Invisalign! The aligners are simply taken out before eating, then put back in when the patient is done. Not having any food restrictions makes the journey towards a straighter smile a lot more enjoyable.

Removable aligners make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, too. Cleaning around wires, brackets, and bands can be time-consuming, especially in the beginning. Invisalign aligners removed before brushing and flossing, so your routine is as easy as it’s ever been! Caring for the aligners themselves is also a breeze. There are special kits designed to clean them, or they can be gently brushed using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

Without any wires or brackets to get in the way, Invisalign’s removable aligners are also great for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. That’s not all! Since they can be removed for short periods, they’re also perfect for any special event when you want nothing but your natural smile to shine through, such as weddings and proms. 

What happens once Invisalign treatment is complete?

Whatever method of orthodontic treatment you choose, your teeth will always remember their previous places in your mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if nothing is there to stop them. That’s why regular retainer use is essential to achieving long-lasting results! Our office will provide you with a retainer once your treatment is complete. You should wear it as directed by Dr. Kovacs to keep your newly straightened smile in place for years to come.

Invisalign is the clear choice for a confident smile at Thomas Kovacs Orthodontics

While many orthodontic issues can be successfully treated with Invisalign clear aligners, some complex or severe cases may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. When you visit our Billings or Miles City office for your initial consultation, Dr. Kovacs will ensure you’re a good fit for the system before moving forward with treatment. If he feels another method may be a better choice for your smile, he’ll walk you through all the available options. You can always trust Dr. Kovacs to only recommend the treatment option that’s best for your unique smile! 

To learn more about the incredible things Invisalign can do for your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Kovacs.