Dental braces have been around for centuries. In fact, both Hippocrates and Aristotle had ideas about straightening teeth. The ancient Romans came up with a device made of gold wire that served as a rudimentary step towards the braces we have today. Numerous mummies have even been found with metal bands around their teeth.

Today, it’s estimated that 75 percent of the population needs some form of orthodontic correction. Overbites, underbites, cross bites, crooked teeth, and crowded teeth are more than cosmetic concerns. Not only do misaligned teeth affect confidence and self-esteem, but they contribute to digestive problems and poor oral health.

Keep reading to learn about Invisalign’s revolutionary approach to treatment.

What Is Invisalign?

Clear aligners are a popular alternative to conventional metal braces because they are invisible. Most patients also find them more comfortable.

There are several newer brands to choose from, but Invisalign has been the tried and true method for almost 20 years. The manufacturer, Align, carefully researched and tested plastics for quality, safety, and comfort before finalizing their design. Using cutting-edge technology, Align developed unique software to digitally map each patient’s treatment plan months in advance.

Invisalign’s few competitors are far behind in terms of experience and accuracy of treatment. It’s no wonder that Invisalign has helped more than 5 million patients.

How Does It Work?

Traditional braces are made with metal brackets and wires. Initially, the brackets are glued to the teeth and threaded together with wires to hold them tightly in place. Tiny rubber bands may be used to keep the upper and lower jaws aligned. Worth noting, metal braces are irremovable during treatment, impeding eating, speaking, and drinking.

Invisalign is designed to be virtually undetectable. The aligner trays, made of clear plastic, are worn over the teeth and gently correct tooth alignment over several months. These trays are easily removable, and this is a valuable trait as you must remove your aligner trays when you eat, brush and floss.

Your trays will be designed especially for you after your orthodontist creates 3-D digital images of your teeth. They may also make molds to help create more accurate trays. Your orthodontist will create new trays as your teeth move in each stage of treatment. Patients will typically switch aligners every two weeks, and the average treatment time is about 13 months. It could be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of your case.

Invisalign is not just for kids. Many adults who never had orthodontic treatment as children feel less self-conscious wearing Invisalign than they would wearing metal braces. Some who wore braces as kids find that their teeth are moving again and choose Invisalign for minor corrections.

Here are some things to know about metal braces:

  • Irremovable during treatment
  • Worn an average of two years
  • Requires regular cleaning of brackets and wires
  • Some pain and discomfort from movement of the teeth
  • Possibility of tooth discoloration or breakage
  • Distorted speech until patient gets accustomed to wearing braces

And here’s how they compare to Invisalign braces:

  • Made of clear, BPA-free plastic
  • Must remove for eating or drinking
  • Worn for 6-18 months depending on needs
  • New trays required every two weeks
  • Requires brushing and rinsing aligner trays
  • Mild discomfort from movement of the teeth
  • Little or no distortion of speech

As you can see, Invisalign trays have many advantages over traditional braces. They don’t show, they’re removable for eating and drinking, and you can thoroughly clean them with ease. Best of all, treatment is generally faster and more comfortable.

If you have the discipline to wear your Invisalign trays for at least 22 hours a day, you may be an ideal candidate for this alternative treatment.

How Much Does Invisalign Treatment Cost?

What you pay depends on the extent of your problems, how long treatment is required, and your orthodontic insurance coverage. Most patients can expect to pay anywhere between $3,000 to $8,000. Most insurance plans cover up to $3,500 just as they do for metal braces. If you’re looking to save some money, you can also apply up to $2,550 of your flexible spending account to treatment. Additionally, most doctors offer affordable, convenient payment plans for Invisalign treatment.

How Do I Set Up a Consultation?

First, you must find an Invisalign provider in your area. Your insurance provider may be able to compile a list of providers in its network.

During the first visit, the doctor will do a thorough exam to evaluate your needs. A digital scanning system will create precise 3-D images of your teeth. The doctor might choose to make molds that same day. A treatment plan will then be mapped out according to your needs. You’ll even be able to see a preview of your future smile.

Nearly all cosmetic orthodontic issues can be corrected with Invisalign. If you’re still not convinced, just ask anyone who has chosen Invisalign. They’ll tell you that it was worth it.