What To know About Invisalign Before Your Start - 123Dental

What To know About Invisalign Before Your Start

Invisalign is a virtually invisible, effective way to straighten teeth, making it one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments.

I talk with many patients who are interested in Invisalign treatment. In this article, I’ll cover some of the questions I hear most.

I’ll explain what to expect with Invisalign, if Invisalign hurts, and how long Invisalign treatment lasts.

From the most important things to know, to some of the smaller details that my patients found surprising about Invisalign treatment, I’ll go over everything you need to know about Invisalign treatment.

  • Invisalign clear aligners are almost invisible and an effective alternative to traditional braces
  • Invisalign trays are custom-made for your teeth and work by gradually shifting your teeth into the desired position
  • Many people report that Invisalign is less painful than traditional braces
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during Invisalign treatment (this includes caring for the aligners as well)
  • Invisalign treatment generally takes between 12 to 18 months but treatment time depends on the individual
  • To achieve the best results, patients must wear the aligners for the recommended number of hours every day
  • You may notice subtle changes when you first start wearing aligners, such as a slight lisp or a dry mouth
  • Proper maintenance and wearing retainers are key steps in maintaining results 
  • A consultation with your dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for  Invisalign treatment

women inserting invisalign

What Is Invisalign Treatment Like?

  1. Initial Consultation – At the initial consult, we will: 
    • Confirm you are a good candidate for Invisalign
    • Discuss your smile goals
    • Complete digital scans, X-rays, and a thorough evaluation of your oral health
    • Create a customised Invisalign treatment plan
  2. Aligner Molding – The next step involves a digital molding process to create your custom Invisalign trays. These are created using digital images, X-rays, and 3D scans to ensure they fit your mouth.
  3. Fitting the First Trays – Once your aligners are manufactured, you will attend an appointment where your dentist will ensure they fit your teeth appropriately and securely. I like to use this appointment to make sure my patients feel confident about the treatment process, know what to expect, and understand how to care for their aligners and how many hours to wear them each day. 
  4. Follow-Up Appointments – Every few weeks, you will receive a new set of aligners. These appointments also give me a chance to monitor the straightening process and answer any questions you have. 
  5. Your Straighter Smile – By following the Invisalign treatment process and maintaining good oral health, you’ll be enjoying your new smile within a matter of months! 

Will Invisalign Hurt?

“Does Invisalign hurt?” is probably the question I hear most regarding Invisalign treatment.

The good news is that most of my patients tell me that Invisalign is gentle and comfortable overall. The initial consultation and creating and fitting the aligners is often described as “painless”, “easy”, and “comfortable”.

You will likely experience some minor discomfort when you switch to a new set of aligners. This is because each new set of aligners will be slightly different than the last and create a subtle shift in your teeth.

Each new set of aligners will shift your teeth closer to the final result. Patients report slight discomfort or tightness during the first day or two of wearing a new set of aligners. Overall, Invisalign treatment is considered mostly comfortable and easy to complete.

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How Long Does Invisalign Take?

The length of your Invisalign treatment will depend on several factors, such as your age and your alignment issues. Severe alignment issues or failure to comply with the treatment plan will result in longer treatment times.

In general, I tell my patients to expect Invisalign treatment to last between 12 to 18 months. More complex cases can take up to two years to treat.

To make sure your teeth shift according to the treatment schedule, it is important to wear the aligners for the recommended hours a day. Usually, this is between 20 and 22 hours.

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

The length of your Invisalign treatment will depend on several factors, such as your age and your alignment issues. Severe alignment issues or failure to comply with the treatment plan will result in longer treatment times.

In general, I tell my patients to expect Invisalign treatment to last between 12 to 18 months. More complex cases can take up to two years to treat.

To make sure your teeth shift according to the treatment schedule, it is important to wear the aligners for the recommended hours a day. Usually, this is between 20 and 22 hours.

invisalign retainers

How Do I Get the Best Results With Invisalign?

When my patients begin Invisalign treatment, I let them know exactly how many hours they’ll need to wear the aligners every day to get the best results.

Along with wearing the aligners for the recommended amount of time every day, I also give my patients these Invisalign tips for best results:

  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene by removing your trays to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day
  • Do not eat or drink while you have your aligners in (this can damage or stain your trays)
  • Avoid or limit acidic or sugary foods
  • Drink enough water (you do not need to remove your trays to drink water)
  • Do not drink hot water while wearing aligners as it can warp them
  • Do not smoke, vape, or use tobacco products 
  • Attend all scheduled dental checkups during and after Invisalign treatment
  • Wear your Invisalign retainers once you finish treatment to maintain your results
  • Contact your dentist immediately if you experience issues with your aligners

You May Also Like: Invisalign Aftercare Guide

Can I Undergo Other Dental Treatments at the Same Time as Invisalign?

Certain dental treatments can be completed at the same time as Invisalign. This will depend on your oral health, alignment issues, and goals. 

If oral health issues are detected in your initial consultation, we will make sure to resolve these before starting Invisalign treatment.

During Invisalign treatment, one of my favourite complimentary treatments is professional teeth whitening.  With teeth whitening, you can finish your Invisalign treatment with a smile that is straighter and brighter. 

At your initial consultation, we can discuss your smile goals and determine any treatments that are suitable during your Invisalign treatment.

What Should I Know Before Starting Invisalign? 

Here are 10 things my patients have told me they found surprising about Invisalign. You may not notice all of these during Invisalign treatment, but it can be helpful to know what you may experience.  

  1. Your Teeth May Feel Slightly Loose – Some patients report that their teeth feel “loose” when they remove the aligner trays. This is normal and is a result of the teeth slightly loosening to shift into their new positions.
  2. No More Sipping Coffee or Long Lunch Breaks – While you complete treatment, you’ll need to make sure you wear your aligners for the full recommended time every day. This means that sipping coffee over the course of your morning or taking long lunch breaks will need to be skipped during treatment.
  3. Oral Hygiene Is More Important Than Ever – Eating a snack and putting your aligners back in without brushing can lead to poor oral hygiene. Food debris left on your teeth can allow bacteria to build up underneath the aligners. During Invisalign treatment, it is imperative to brush your teeth using gentle circular motions twice a day and floss every day. This will prevent plaque from building up beneath the aligners and leading to decay and cavities. You may also want to ask your dentist about mouthwash recommendations during Invisalign treatment. Overbrushing can be harmful to teeth, but I do recommend brushing and flossing any time you are putting your aligners back in after eating. 
  4. Oral Hygiene Applies to Your Aligners As Well – During Invisalign treatment, oral hygiene applies to your teeth, gums, and the aligner trays. You will need to keep your aligners clean just like you clean your teeth. Allowing bacteria to grow on your aligners and then leaving them in your mouth for 20+ hours a day can lead to oral health issues. The aligners can also become discoloured and stained if you do not care for them properly. I do not recommend brushing your aligners with toothpaste as it can be too abrasive. Rather, I recommend cleaners that are specified for Invisalign. Often, these are a cleaning solution you can soak the aligners in to get them clean. You can also try a mix of equal parts water and vinegar to soak your aligners in and keep them clean
  5. Your Treatment May Require Attachments – For some cases, attachments will be required for best results. These small “buttons” are tooth-coloured brackets placed on teeth to help shift the teeth.
  6. Your Mouth May Get Dry – You may notice your mouth seems more dry than usual. Or, you may produce more saliva than usual. As your mouth adjusts to the aligners, both of these changes are normal. If you experience consistent discomfort, be sure to bring it up with your dentist. 
  7. You May Want Privacy When Removing the Trays –  Removing the trays is easy and comfortable. However, there may be some saliva involved. The aligners are designed to fit securely, so popping them out can be a tad messy, especially if you are just getting used to having aligners. Many of my patients say they prefer to take the aligners out in a discreet place rather than in public.
  8. You May Notice a Slight Lisp – My patients tell me it takes a bit of practice to get used to wearing the aligners. Some of my patients report having a slight lisp when they first start wearing the trays. With time, it becomes easier to talk clearly and normally and a lot of my patients say they completely forget the aligners are even there. If you have an important meeting or phone call, such as a job interview, I recommend taking the trays out if it makes you feel better.
  9. It Takes Commitment – With braces, you have no choice but to wear them the entire day. Since Invisalign isn’t fixed to your teeth, it is up to you to make sure you comply with the treatment plan. Some of my patients find it takes some practice to get used to remembering to put the aligners back in after eating.
  10. You May Notice Results Sooner Than Expected – While total treatment time can take a year or more, you may be pleasantly surprised by how quickly you start seeing subtle changes in your smile. Many patients report noticing slight changes within several months of starting Invisalign.

Is Invisalign Right for You?

I love seeing the dramatic transformations that Invisalign provides to my patients. Invisalign is incredibly effective yet almost invisible, making it an ideal way to discreetly straighten your teeth.

If you would like to find out if Invisalign is right for you, we’d love to chat with you. Visit our Invisalign Perth page to learn more or contact us to book a consultation to find out if Invisalign is right for you.