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If you’ve ever considered straightening your teeth, you’ve probably heard the name “Invisalign®.” But it’s one thing to notice a friend’s clear aligners and another entirely to have aligners in your own mouth. You know that Invisalign straightens teeth, but how exactly does it do so?

Invisalign accomplishes the same goal metal braces do, but with different tools – clear plastic aligners instead of metal brackets and wires. And because of those different materials, treatment works a bit differently. Read on to learn more about exactly how Invisalign works. Educating yourself before starting treatment means there are no surprises ahead! Plus, keeping up with the necessary treatment steps helps you finish your straightening on track and on schedule – and reveal your gorgeous, healthy new smile.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign is a comprehensive straightening system that has been in use since the late 1990s. The system has treated more than 12 million patients since! Two Stanford students were the first to develop the patient. Invisalign was the first mass-produced clear aligner system in the US. It uses a few unique components to gradually move teeth without the need for metal braces. These include:

Specialized aligner material
Invisalign aligners are made from SmartTrack material. This patented plastic makes the aligners more comfortable and also easier to put on and take off, without sacrificing their effectiveness in moving your teeth. SmartTrack was specifically designed for Invisalign and has these benefits:

  • Applies consistent force where needed without causing moderate discomfort
  • Improves precise control of tooth movement to allow your orthodontist to deliver predictable, ideal results
  • Fits snugly around teeth without being too tight
  • Developed over 8 years through testing of 260 materials

SmartForce attachments
SmartForce attachments are small shapes that your orthodontist attaches to your teeth prior to treatment. They are tooth-colored and blend with your smile. These attachments help guide your aligners so that they can move your teeth in a controlled, efficient fashion. Not every patient needs SmartForce attachments, but they can be very helpful in some cases. Your aligners fit right over them so that they don’t bulk out your smile.

Gradual aligner adjustments
As you move through the Invisalign treatment process, you will switch to new sets of aligners. With each new aligner, there are slight differences to continue to guide your teeth into their new positions. You can expect the following:

  1. Feinstein will dispense your first few sets of aligners and provide details as to the schedule you should follow to switch to new sets. She’ll also ensure that your aligners fit comfortably and as expected.
  2. You’ll wear your aligners for at least 22 hours every day, taking them out only to eat, drink or brush and floss.
  3. You’ll have regular check-in appointments with Dr. Feinstein to ensure that your teeth are moving as planned and to receive your new aligners.
  4. Treatment typically takes at least 6 months. You’ll be able to see your teeth as they gradually move, getting a preview of your new smile within a few weeks of beginning the process.

Ongoing tooth movement

Invisalign applies gentle, consistent pressure to your teeth to guide them into new positions. The entire treatment process is mapped out digitally before you begin, with each aligner acting as another step toward your final smile.

Consistent daily wear

One of the most popular Invisalign benefits is the ability to continue eating your favorite foods – no need to cut out crunchy snacks or sticky candy! But you need to be sure to replace your aligners right after eating so that treatment can continue. You should wear your aligners at least 22 hours per day to stay on schedule. It’s crucial that you pop them right back in after you eat and brush your teeth so that they can keep doing their job. Plus, having them in your mouth makes them less likely to get lost.

Check-in appointments with Dr. Feinstein

You’ll have regular appointments with Dr. Feinstein to monitor your treatment progress. She’ll answer any questions you have and evaluate your teeth to ensure that you’re on track to your desired final smile. These regular check-ins ensure that your teeth are moving as planned. If any adjustments are needed, Dr. Feinstein will be able to take care of those right away.

Is Invisalign right for my teeth?

Invisalign is appropriate for a wide range of cases – but the only way to know for sure is to schedule a complimentary consultation. You’ll get to meet with Dr. Feinstein and learn more about what to expect. With the number of orthodontic treatment options we offer, there will be one that’s right for your teeth – and one that will fit what you hope to experience with treatment. Even if Invisalign isn’t right for you, we offer other subtle orthodontic options to help you straighten without metal braces.

Get in touch today to learn whether Invisalign could be a good fit!

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