Invisalign—or what most people know of as clear braces or clear aligners—is an alternative treatment to traditional metal braces. Invisalign is most often used to address spacing problems, such as crowding or gaps in people’s teeth, or uneven bites, such as underbites or overbites.
People who need their teeth straightened often opt for Invisalign over braces because the clear trays used in the Invisalign system are more comfortable and are aesthetically more subtle than braces. Invisalign can be used by people of all ages. However, Dr. Zubrow says it is particularly popular with adults.
Because Dr. Zubrow is a general dentist, her patients have the convenience of getting Invisalign updates in the same office they go to for regular cleanings and checkups. She offers Invisalign as a standalone treatment, and she can also incorporate it into broader treatment plans for patients who also need restorative or cosmetic dentistry done. And with the help of brand new, cutting-edge scanning technology, she is able to show patients exactly what their smile will look like at the end of treatment.
- What are the benefits of Invisalign?
- Is it as effective as braces?
- Who is a good candidate for this?
- What is the process like?
- What if I need restorative or other cosmetic work done too?
- What is the benefit of this scanning technology?
- How long does Invisalign take?
- Is it painful?
- Is it covered by insurance?
Common Questions about Invisalign
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
There are several factors that differentiate Invisalign from traditional metal braces. First, the clear trays used to straighten teeth are virtually invisible. Most people also find that Invisalign is more comfortable than traditional braces. In addition, the trays can be taken out temporarily, which makes brushing your teeth much easier.
Is Invisalign as effective as braces?
Invisalign is just as effective as conventional braces. Neither treatment is better or worse in general. The most effective treatment depends on the patient, their starting point, and their end goals. The primary thing Dr. Zubrow tells patients is that the more they wear the Invisalign trays, the better their results will be.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?
The majority of cases Dr. Zubrow treats tend to be people who had braces when they were younger but whose teeth have shifted a bit since then. Many people who had braces as teenagers no longer wear their retainers. But since teeth can keep moving over the years, those people might start to notice their teeth getting crooked again in their twenties, thirties, and beyond. When that happens, Invisalign is a great option for making those small adjustments to get your smile looking great again.
However, plenty of patients have never had orthodontic work before, and Invisalign can work well for them too.
What is the process like?
Dr. Zubrow begins by making sure a patient’s mouth is healthy, that they have an updated set of x-rays and cleaning, and that all cavities and other issues have been addressed.
Once you’re good to go, Dr. Zubrow will take photographs and a digital scan of your mouth. These will be sent to the team of dentists and orthodontists at Invisalign, where they’ll create a map of how your smile will look when treatment is done.
When you’re happy with that plan, Dr. Zubrow will order your first few sets of trays. She will put small attachments on your teeth that keep the trays in place; these attachments are completely reversible and are removed at the end of the process. You will come in every six weeks or so for quick, 15-minute appointments to make sure your trays are fitting properly and to pick up your next set. For regular patients, Dr. Zubrow will combine these visits with your ongoing dental cleanings and checkups.
What if I need restorative or other cosmetic work done too?
Dr. Zubrow can incorporate many types of dental work into one streamlined process. Patients often come in and say they want to improve their smile; they know something is off and want to change it but don’t necessarily know what that means. When you talk with Dr. Zubrow, she will listen to all your concerns—beyond simple alignment. If you have other things you want to address, including the shape, size, or color of your teeth, she will incorporate these into your overall treatment plan. She uses a combination of photography and advanced digital-scanning technology to simulate what the result of a patient’s orthodontic treatment is going to look like.
What is the benefit of this scanning technology?
The Itero Element 2 is a brand new, cutting-edge digital scanner that few dentists in the area have. It uses a treatment outcome simulator that shows what the patient’s mouth will look like at the end of treatment. Sometimes, people think they just need crowns or veneers or only Invisalign, when in fact they might need a combination of these treatments. Using the scanner, she can figure out exactly what the patient is looking for—without them having to make any payments or commit to treatment ahead of time.
Another benefit of this device is that it doesn’t require taking classic impressions, which means there’s no need for that goop-filled tray many people have problems with. It’s also a helpful tool for people who grind and clench their teeth. This scanner can scan teeth once, then again 6 or 12 months later, and it can quantitatively show how much of the person’s teeth have ground down in that time.
How long does Invisalign take?
The length of time people use Invisalign varies. The simplest cases typically take about six months, and the most complex take two or three years. During her consultation, Dr. Zubrow will be able to give you an estimate based on your situation and your goals.
Is Invisalign painful?
Invisalign doesn’t hurt. You may experience some general soreness in the first few days after switching to a new tray. But it is not as uncomfortable as having the wires tightened on metal braces.
Is Invisalign covered by insurance?
Insurance coverage varies from plan to plan. Some people’s dental insurance includes orthodontic coverage, which can cover a portion of the treatment. Dr. Zubrow’s office offers payment plans and will work with their patients to come up with a payment arrangement that suits their needs.