The cost of your specific treatment will depend on how extensive the issues are that you want corrected, how long the treatment will last, and how many aligners are needed. Typical Invisalign costs begin at $3,500, with a national average of $5,000. Dental insurance may or may not cover Invisalign. In most cases, Invisalign treatments are covered to the same extent as conventional orthodontics. If you're concerned about cost, most doctors offering Invisalign can set up an affordable monthly payment plans. If patients do not wear the aligners as required, the next aligner may not fit, and a new set of aligners may need to be created, adding to the cost.
Am I a candidate for Invisalign?
Invisalign is appropriate for those who have lost all of their baby teeth and have their second molars. Most teens and adults can undergo Invisalign treatment. Commonly, Invisalign is chosen over traditional metal braces by patients, especially adults, who want to straighten their teeth without the look of metal braces.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a series of clear plastic removable aligners worn to correct the position of the teeth over time. Invisalign can correct many common tooth alignment issues, including:
- Crowded teeth
- Widely spaced teeth with gaps
- Crooked teeth
The first step in the Invisalign process is an initial consultation, followed by dental impressions and x-rays which are sent to Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign aligners. These records are used to create an individualized set of aligners, usually 20 to 30, to gradually correct the position of the teeth. Like traditional braces, Invisalign aligners move teeth through the application of controlled force.
Invisalign aligners are most effective when worn 20-22 hours per day, removed only for eating and brushing. You will schedule appointment approximately every month to ensure that the treatment is progressing as planned. The average treatment takes about 12 months, with each appointment lasting less than an hour. Following the last aligner, a retainer may be recommended to keep your teeth from moving back towards their original position.
Invisalign Recovery and Healing Steps
Once the first Invisalign aligner is placed in your mouth, you may experience a slight lisp for a day or two as your tongue adjust to the feeling of the aligners in your mouth. Some people will experience temporary discomfort for the first few days after switching to the next aligner in the series. Often described as a feeling of pressure, it is a sign that the teeth are moving. Any discomfort can be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers.
During the Invisalign treatment, you can eat or drink whatever you want, because the aligners are removed while you're eating. It is important to brush your teeth after eating and prior to re-inserting the aligner. Smoking is discouraged during Invisalign treatments because it may discolor the clear plastic.
Invisalign Side Effects and Procedure Risks
Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners can be removed, allowing you to brush and floss as you normally would, avoiding the risk of increased tooth decay. Other than slight discomfort and a temporary lisp, the only reported complication is a rare allergic reaction to the plastic used for the aligners.