What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that allows doctors to straighten teeth using a series of clear, removable, nearly invisible, plastic appliances called aligners.
How does Invisalign work?
The patient meets with an Invisalign-certified dentist or orthodontist who takes orthodontic records of the patients teeth, including impressions, and fills out an Invisalign treatment planning or prescription form and sends all the material to Align Technology.
At Align, a computer model of the patients teeth is created from the impressions. Align then uses its advanced, 3-D imaging software to generate a graphical representation of the doctors treatment plan almost like an animated movie of the way the patients teeth will move from the current position to the final desired position.
The doctor reviews and approves the rendering of his treatment plan (the 3-D movie) on a secure portion of Aligns website. Align Technology produces a series of clear, plastic aligners that correspond to the stages of tooth movement in the 3-D movie.
The patient wears each stage of aligners for approximately two weeks before switching to the next set in the series. Week by week, the patients teeth are straightened millimeter by millimeter.
Is this a new way to straighten teeth?
Doctors have successfully used removable appliances for years for very limited treatment. With the application of 3-D computer technology and mass customization, Invisalign can be used to treat almost anyone who wants straighter teeth.
Benefits of Invisalign
- Nearly Invisible: You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing
- Removable: You can eat and drink what you want
- Better Oral Hygiene: You can brush and floss normally to maintain healthy gums and teeth
- Comfortable: There are no wires, metal or brackets to cause mouth abrasion
Who can benefit from Invisalign?
Experienced doctors can use Invisalign to treat the vast majority of people who want straighter teeth. The only criterion is that the patient must have their second molars. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, two-thirds to three-fourths of American adults (between 136 and 154 million) have some sort of malocclusion (crooked teeth) and could benefit from orthodontic treatment.
How long does treatment take?
Like traditional braces, the length of treatment depends on the complexity of the case. Treatment time is about the same as conventional braces about a year.
Can any doctor treat patients with Invisalign?
Doctors must attend and complete an Invisalign certification seminar to treat patients with Invisalign. To date, more than 70 percent of orthodontists in North American have become Invisalign-certified, and Align is currently certifying general practitioner dentists. Align also provides doctors with many opportunities for continuing education and advanced Invisalign training.
How much does Invisalign cost?
Invisalign is priced by the treating doctor, not by Align. Several factors impact cost of treatment, such as complexity of the case, market price within the patient’s geographic area, etc. An Align survey of certified doctors across the country indicates that average fees for Invisalign range from $3500 to $5500.
Does insurance cover Invisalign?
Typically, an insurance policy that covers traditional braces also covers Invisalign to the same extent. In addition, many doctors offer financing through companies such as CareCredit as well as in-office financing.
How many people are in treatment with the Invisalign System?
More than 230,000 patients have entered treatment with Invisalign.
Is Invisalign FDA approved?
Invisalign has FDA clearance as a Class I device. More information is available at www.invisalign.com.