What Does Invisalign Mean? The Straight Truth About Invisalign Clear Aligners


An honest look at the pros and cons of Invisalign.

While braces are one of the first features you’re likely to notice about someone, Invisalign lives up to its name and easily goes unnoticed by the people around you. Invisalign uses revolutionary technology to take 3D models of your teeth, design a unique treatment plan for you detailing each step of the process, and straightens your teeth using a series of clear plastic aligners you can switch out on a schedule at home.

The clear aligners that result from this process eliminate many of the downsides of braces and earn praise from dentists and patients alike, but no treatment is perfect. If you’re considering getting Invisalign, you probably want an honest look at what it’s like before you commit to it. We’re providing a detailed, honest look at Invisalign—from its best aspects to its biggest downsides—to help you make a confident, informed decision about your orthodontic treatment.

Invisalign can treat the majority of issues that braces can—but not all of them.

Despite their many differences, Invisalign and braces both use gentle, gradually increasing pressure to move your teeth into the correct position over time. Invisalign can treat almost every dental issue that braces can, including misaligned bites, gaps in your smile, and overcrowded or crooked teeth. Unfortunately, Invisalign isn’t right for everyone simply because the aligners do have their limits; major dental issues will likely still need to be treated with traditional braces.

They help you stay confident throughout treatment.

There’s no getting around the fact that braces are incredibly noticeable—even from a distance. This often results in an awkward phase during treatment where teenagers and adults alike are self-conscious of their smiles. Since Invisalign is clear and often difficult to notice unless you’re actively looking for it, you can skip the awkward phase entirely and remain confident in your smile throughout your treatment. The clear aligners also give you a better view of your teeth as they begin to straighten, so you’re able to appreciate and enjoy the difference in your smile right away.

Invisalign’s removability has positives and negatives.

Another of the attractive qualities of Invisalign is that the aligners are easily removable. This feature allows you to continue eating all of your favorite foods throughout your treatment, from corn on the cob to caramel. It also grants you amazing flexibility since you can remove the clear aligners temporarily for an important event, such as a musical performance or engagement photos. While the aligners shouldn’t get in the way of such events, some people simply feel more confident removing them—and that’s great in moderation! This feature is often the deciding factor for people who are considering Invisalign, but keep in mind that the aligners must stay on your teeth for at least 22 hours a day if they’re going to do their job properly. You should make sure that you don’t take them off too often and make a habit of putting them back in as soon as you can.

Additionally, while it’s pretty difficult to misplace braces, it’s entirely possible to lose your aligners. If you do lose your aligners, however, it’s not the end of the world—simply contact Dr. Tomasik. If you’re close to switching to a new set of aligners anyway, he may tell you to simply put the new set in a few days early, but otherwise you may have to go back to your previous aligners while replacement aligners are made. This will set your treatment timeline back a little, but it shouldn’t be an issue unless you lose your aligners regularly. You may need to come up with a system for storing your clear aligners when you’re not wearing them or even consider getting braces instead if you lose similar items, such as your glasses, frequently.

Invisalign is more comfortable and convenient than braces.

Invisalign allows you to switch to a new set of aligners right at home, but you’ll still have to check in regularly to ensure that your teeth are moving the way they’re supposed to. Your appointments will be shorter, however, since Dr. Tomasik won’t have to make any adjustments during the appointment. The aligners also lack wires that might snap, so you’ll also avoid emergency dental appointments to repair damaged braces. Additionally, while braces consist of metal wires and brackets that are uncomfortable and run the risk of cutting or scraping the inside of your mouth, the aligners are made of smooth plastic and designed to fit your unique mouth perfectly, making them much more comfortable.

They’re a breeze to care for, but neglecting them has consequences.

Since you can easily remove your aligners, brushing and flossing your teeth is just as easy as ever. Invisalign clear aligners stain easily, however, so you need to remove them before every meal or snack, avoid drinking staining beverages like tea while wearing them, and brush your teeth before putting them back in. It’s a good idea to start carrying around a portable toothbrush so you can brush your teeth on the go. You should also brush the aligners themselves with lukewarm water and a soft-bristled toothbrush once or twice a day. Never use hot water or toothpaste to clean your aligners, as they can damage the plastic.

They’ll take a little getting used to.

Although Invisalign is comfortable and nearly invisible, the aligners do take some getting used to. Just like when you get braces, they’ll feel a little strange in your mouth at first and you may lisp for a week or two as your tongue gets used to forming words against the new, smooth surface. Additionally, your teeth will be a little sore right after you change to a new aligner—just like they would be right after getting the wires of your braces tightened at the dentist. This is because each new set of aligners does exactly that, exerting a bit more pressure and shifting your teeth a little closer to their ideal position.

They’re usually covered by insurance.

If you’re worried about the cost of Invisalign, you don’t have to worry too much; most insurance companies cover Invisalign exactly the same way they cover braces, by paying a set dollar amount or percentage of your treatment costs. Nowadays, the prices of Invisalign and braces are a lot more competitive, but your expenses depend on your individual treatment needs. As a result, Invisalign can cost less than, more than, or the same as braces. Dr. Tomasik can estimate the cost of your treatment when you visit our office for a consultation.

Invisalign isn’t a perfect treatment, but it allows you to straighten your teeth without the hassle of metal wires and brackets, helping you to remain confident in your smile and keep eating the foods you love. If you’d like to know more about whether Invisalign is right for you or get an estimate on how much it will cost, you can call our office any time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tomasik.