During consultations some adult patients tell me “I can’t have any kind of braces, not even clear braces.” In these cases I recommend Invisalign, which is a set of clear aligners that are removable. These clear aligners should be worn for 22 hours per day, including while sleeping, only being removed for eating and for drinking anything apart from cold water – and of course when cleaning the teeth.
Unfortunately, Invisalign is not suitable for everyone. To see whether you are suitable for the clear aligners, I recommend that you come in for a consultation. Most patients are suited to this treatment as an alternative to braces, and occasionally it can be a faster treatment option.
To achieve the optimum result from this orthodontic treatment, two key factors apply.
The first involves the treatment plan being done correctly. This is why it is important to understand the difference between the experience and expertise of a specialist orthodontist and those of a general dentist. As a specialist orthodontist, I perform just one type of treatment every day: the alignment of teeth. On the other hand, a general dentist may treat only a handful of orthodontic cases per month or even per year. Invisalign is a product, not a treatment plan. It is up to the practitioner to tailor the treatment plan to each patient’s individual needs. I guarantee you that I, as a specialist orthodontist, will ensure your treatment plan is right for you.
The second factor is patient compliance. Invisalign needs to be worn as prescribed, or the desired result will not be achieved. Some of my patients are able to wear the aligners for 23 hours per day. Others find it difficult to reach even 20 hours of wear. Therefore, as an overall treatment option, it can be slower than braces, especially if the patient cannot wear the aligners as required.
There are two main types of Invisalign. One is Invisalign Full, suitable for most patients who come in with a particularly complex condition, such as severe crowding or spacing, or perhaps needing jaw surgery. This offers maximum flexibility, meaning if the plan needs to change for whatever reason during the treatment, this can occur at no extra cost to the patient. The shorter version is called Invisalign Lite, which is most suited to patients who have recently finished orthodontic treatment (perhaps braces) and were not good at wearing their retainers, so have noticed a slight shift in their teeth. Invisalign Lite does not offer the same flexibility in planning as Invisalign Full. The majority of patients will require Invisalign Full.
As for the cost, some people assume that it is significantly higher than for braces. This is not the case, or at least not in our practice. Invisalign Full is the same price as clear braces – currently $8,200. Invisalign Lite costs less as it has a shorter treatment time. If you need only single-arch treatment, then the fee will be further reduced. To determine whether, and which kind of, Invisalign is suitable for you, I recommend you come in for a consultation. I will advise you whether or not you are a candidate, and which type will achieve the best result for you. I look forward to meeting you soon.