Invisalign® FAQs

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Invisalign treatment is a solution to unaligned teeth without bearing the pain and look of typical metal braces. It is an unconventional approach to teeth alignment while staying virtually invisible. Invisalign clear aligners are known for their hygienic values. SmartForce Technology, which comes with Invisalign treatments, allows the customization of removable clear aligners unique to your teeth.

The Invisalign system is a series of clear aligners used to straighten teeth.

Will Invisalign treatment fit my lifestyle?

  • Time for a snack? No problem. Take out your aligners to eat or drink whenever you want.
  • You can remove your Invisalign aligners so you can brush and floss regularly, and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • You can occasionally remove your Invisalign aligners to enjoy a special night out.
  • There’s no need to change a thing. Continue your day-to-day activities while still straightening your teeth.
  • Be yourself with Invisalign aligners. Since they are clear, you don’t have to hide your smile while going through treatment.
  • With Invisalign treatment, it’s easy to make your smile picture-perfect for that special occasion.
  • Invisalign treatment appointments work with your schedule. Most visits are in and out, with a quick progress check once every six weeks.

What is the Invisalign system?

The Invisalign system is the virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth and achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Invisalign treatment uses advanced 3D computer imaging technology to depict your complete treatment plan, from the initial position of your teeth to the final desired position.

Then a series of clear aligners are custom-made for your teeth — and your teeth only — to move them little by little. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks before being replaced by the next in the series until the final position of your teeth is achieved.

Your Invisalign treatment time will be determined by your doctor based on your specific needs.

What are the primary benefits of Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign aligners are clear, which makes Invisalign treatment a seamless fit with your lifestyle and day-to-day interactions with others. Invisalign aligners are also removable. Unlike braces, you have the flexibility to eat and drink what you want during treatment simply by removing the aligners when you eat. You can also remove the aligners to brush and floss as you normally would for fresh breath and good oral hygiene.

Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign treatment does not use metal brackets or wires that could cause irritation to your mouth. In addition, you’ll spend less time in the doctor’s chair and scheduling appointments, and more time out doing the things you love.

Lastly, Invisalign treatment technology allows you to view your virtual results and treatment plan before you start your treatment, so you can preview how your straight teeth will look once your treatment is complete.

How many patients are in Invisalign treatment?

More than 5,000,000 patients worldwide have been treated with Invisalign aligners. The number of Invisalign smiles grows daily. At your next appointment, we can answer any questions you might have, and get you started on the smile you’ve always wanted.

Invisalign and the Invisalign logo, among others, are trademarks of Align Technology, Inc., and are registered in the U.S. and other countries.

How Does Invisalign Work?

As the name suggests, Invisalign is a virtually invisible form of teeth aligner. These are transparent and removable custom-made trays that fit over your teeth. Invisalign steadily pushes the teeth using a mild pressure comparable to metal braces. Invisalign aligners are an effective alternative to conventional metal braces. However, there are certain situations where it doesn't work as effectively. What you want to treat, and the severity of the problem are the most significant determinants of whether or not you are a suitable candidate for Invisalign. Invisalign works effectively for mild teeth misalignment. For severe cases, you need even more advanced orthodontic treatment.

Invisalign aligners are custom-made devices tailored to each patient's unique dental condition, making them suitable for achieving more optimal results. They are not painful but pose a little bit of discomfort. But this discomfort signifies that your Invisalign aligners are working. Invisalign treatment span is generally the same as conventional metal braces. Patients must wear Invisalign aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day. The average recovery time for mild dental flaws is between 6 to 12 months. Your dentist might direct you to wear the trays for up to 18 months if you have a complex dental problem involving severe misalignment of teeth.

Am I a Good Candidate for Invisalign?

In most cases, if traditional braces work for you, then Invisalign aligners would work for you too. Outlined below are the characteristics that make you an ideal candidate for Invisalign:

  • You don't have a severe dental issue that requires more advanced orthodontic treatment.
  • You are willing to follow the instructions and hold tight to the post-treatment guidelines. Using Invisalign aligners is so easy. It only needs the commitment to wear it for an extended period and remove it before eating.

People with cavities and gum diseases should go through a restorative treatment before going for Invisalign. Additionally, your Invisalign aligner won't fit properly if you have dental bridges, dental implants, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder in the middle of invisalign treatment. In that case, you need corrective measures for these issues prior to going for the Invisalign treatment plan, or getting metal braces might be the right choice.

The ideal candidates for Invisalign are the ones with crooked teeth. Invisalign, like conventional braces, puts mild and controlled pressure on your crooked teeth and moves them to a desired position. Even minor crookedness can be fixed with Invisalign.

Teenagers and young adults make the best candidates for Invisalign because their bodies are still in the developmental phase. It's easy to reposition their teeth with mild pressure. Teeth can shift quickly and efficiently without using metal wires inside the mouth. However, Invisalign can be used for adults, also. But, it takes more time to show significant results because their bodies have been developed already.

The Invisalign treatment depends solely on the discipline and commitment of the patient to the aligners because Invisalign is removable, and the patient is in complete control of it. A good candidate for Invisalign is the one who wears it as and when needed and removes it before eating and brushing for a total of no more than two hours a day. The best way to know about your candidacy for Invisalign is to consult our expert team today and explore your options. We will perform your thorough oral exam and check your medical history to plan the best smile treatment. If we find you suitable for Invisalign, you can embark on your journey immediately.

The Invisalign Treatment Process

Doctor Rodriguez at My Dentist San Francisco has compiled an easy step-by-step guide to understand the Invisalign treatment process. Read on!

Your Invisalign journey to straight and beautiful teeth begins with a mandatory consultation with your dentist. In an in-depth consultation, your dentist will get a scan of your teeth and ascertain whether you are a suitable candidate for Invisalign. They will talk through your options, desired outcomes, and payment plans. Thanks to cutting-edge 3D digital technology, you will have an opportunity to foresee what your smile will look like.

Designing of aligners
Once the scans and records are complete, your dentist will send scans of your mouth along with detailed instructions to Invisalign to design a series of bespoke aligners (also called trays) that would fit over your teeth down the Invisalign journey. Your dentist will develop a complete treatment plan from the existing condition of your teeth to the desired outcomes with the help of 3D computer-aided design. There is a 3 to 4 weeks gap between taking impressions and receiving aligners.

Wearing Invisalign
The patient must wear each Invisalign set for 1 to 2 weeks. The model teeth in the Invisalign tray are slightly straighter than your natural teeth. Wearing these aligners pushes teeth with gentle pressure, and teeth move and reposition to match the aligner with time.

Follow-up visits
Regular visits to your dentist will determine when you need to change your aligner. The treatment completion time varies from person to person. Once you have finished the treatment within 12-18 months, it's time to celebrate your new smile with retainers. Retainers are used to retain the position of your new smile. By wearing retainers as directed, you can lock your sweet smile in place.

Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign, well-known for hygienic clear aligners, offers multiple benefits over other teeth alignment options. A few are discussed below:

Easy to clean
We all know that traditional braces are made of a metal framework inside the mouth that is a hassle to clean. Using Invisalign, it's easy to remove the aligner tray. You can brush them gently with toothpaste and rinse them with warm water before stowing them back in your mouth.

Eat whatever you want
Unlike metal braces, you can eat or drink anything of your choice with Invisalign aligners. Be sure to remove the trays before eating or drinking and brush your teeth before wearing the aligners back.

Looks better
Few people, especially adults, feel embarrassed to show their teeth or smile with metal braces. Metal braces are highly noticeable in your mouth. In contrast, Invisalign trays are virtually transparent, and no one knows you are wearing them unless you tell them yourself.

Fixes dental problems
Invisalign is used to address the same issues as addressed by metal braces. The problems include

  • Gap between teeth
  • Open bite
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Misaligned teeth

Comparatively comfier
Even if you have never worn metal braces, the discomfort and tension caused by them are evident. Metal braces need wires, brackets, and other holding equipment inside the mouth, creating excessive tension and soreness until the tightness settles.

Invisalign can be removed when required, especially before eating, brushing, or flossing. Also, it decreases the discomfort and pain caused by scraping brackets against the internal lining of the cheeks, tongue, and gums.

Invisalign Recovery and Aftercare

The results of Invisalign treatment primarily depend on the condition of your teeth at the start and how disciplined and committed you are to the treatment.

Once your Invisalign trays are in, you must wear them for almost 22 hours daily. Wearing them for this long helps teeth move to their new desired position.

One interesting fact about our teeth is that teeth tend to move back to their initial position once a consistent force is released. To prevent this from happening after an assiduous treatment, patients must wear retainers to maintain the results and lock their teeth in their new place. Teeth retainers are a mandatory part of the recovery period. They need to be worn at night for the rest of your life

Food and certain drinks must be avoided while wearing Invisalign aligners because food particles and colored drinks sit inside the gaps between your teeth and aligners, resulting in staining both teeth and aligners. However, one can consume light-colored juices and beverages with aligners on them. Even tough, hot food can distort the plastic trays.

Just because Invisalign is invisible doesn't mean it doesn't need cleaning. You must clean the aligners every morning before wearing them and every night before going to bed. If not cleaned properly, bacteria start breeding inside the aligners resulting in foul odor, poor oral health, and overall poor experience. Moreover, placing aligners atop dirty and unbrushed teeth results in tooth decay. Therefore cleaning both the aligner and teeth is necessary to maintain desired outcomes.

Alternatives to Invisalign

Invisalign is an incredibly popular 'in-office' treatment as it can address multiple issues like bite-size, crowded teeth, or misaligned teeth under an experienced orthodontist’s supervision while keeping a much lower profile than conventional braces. But unfortunately, the treatment is very costly. It is not a friendly treatment option for people on a budget.

Invisalign and Orthodontic Treatment for Children

Metal braces are no longer the first choice while treating malalignment issues in children's teeth. Invisalign First® is specifically designed to correct complex teeny-tiny smiles. It can treat mild to complex straightening issues for children aged 6 to 10. In 2016 alone, 4.3 million patients aged 17 or younger were treated with Invisalign because permanent metal braces don't offer this level of convenience.

Here are a few facts about Invisalign for kids, backed by our expert dentists at My Dentist San Francisco:

Eat everything! Be strong! Live long!
Life is too short to restrain yourself from your favorite food. With Invisalign aligners, your child will not have to keep themselves from the food they have a weakness for. They can consume all the stuff that metal-mouthed kids can't, be it nuts, gums, or popcorn. All they need to do is show some discipline and remove them every time before eating or drinking.

Convenience all the time
Metal braces are the food traps. Hygiene with Invisalign is far better than that with metal braces. These removable trays can be removed and washed anytime. Remember to place them safely after removing them.

Best for athletes
The risk of oral injuries in athletes with metal braces amplifies multiple times due to the metal brackets inside their mouths. Even a light thrust on the mouth can cause bleeding lips or cheeks. Invisalign is a great option for kids playing different sports. Not only it reduces the risk of injury, but it can also be exchanged with mouthguards while doing sports.

Invisalign — A confidence booster
Metal braces come with their peculiar social concerns. Sometimes kids feel embarrassed to show off their metal-mouthed smile to the world. Invisalign eliminates the social stigma of having braces. Your child can take on and take off with their ease.

Moreover, your child can eat anything or everything publicly without fearing having food stuck in their braces. They can get a straight smile that boosts their confidence.

Discipline is a must!
Usually, most children show a wishy-washy and forgetful attitude. They lose their aligners once they take them off. It makes the treatment expensive. However, many dentists offer cheaper rates for replacement aligners because they understand that even adults can lose their aligners, let alone kids. But it is not a solution to irresponsible behavior. Your child must practice discipline and commitment to the treatment. If not, metal or ceramic braces can be a great alternative.

Invisalign and Eating and Drinking

There are a few simple rules for eating and drinking with your Invisalign trays

Always remove before eating
The most significant advantage of Invisalign over metal braces is that it is removable. Always remember to remove your Invisalign trays before eating or drinking. Not removing aligners damages them and disrupts your treatment timeline.

Water only!
Not drinking anything with your aligners on doesn't preclude water from the list. You can drink only water with Invisalign on. Drinking beverages, coffee, or tea with these transparent aligners tampers with the aligners' material. Also, it causes discoloration of aligners making your teeth look stained.

Clean your teeth after every meal
Brushing or flossing your teeth after every meal before wearing your aligners is vital to keep both your teeth and aligners clean.

Plan your meals
Avoid eating foods that keep your aligners out of the mouth for a long time, for example, gums.

Invisalign and Sports and Physical Activities

People wearing Invisalign might have some trepidation about playing sports with their aligners on.

Since Invisalign is removable, it allows you to do your favorite sports activities. The great rule of thumb is to exchange your aligners with mouthguards while doing sports. However, different sports pose different levels of risk of mouth injuries.

Invisalign aligners are not traumatic enough to cause severe injury or dental damage upon blow or jarring. Some light sports that can be played while wearing the braces are:

  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics
  • Cycling
  • Tennis

There are a few sports that involve a potential risk of trauma. Invisalign should be exchanged with the mouthguards while playing the following sports (although you can't use them interchangeably because both serve different purposes):

  • Wrestling
  • Boxing
  • Martial arts
  • Hockey
  • Football

How Often Do You Need to Wear Invisalign

Invisalign is not a 'one size fits all' treatment. The entire treatment time and how many hours you need to wear Invisalign a day depending on many factors.

It is a general rule that adults are required to wear aligners more often than teens. It is because children's bodies are still in the developmental stage. It's easier for their teeth to move and reposition. In contrast, adults whose bodies have developed already need to wear them more rigorously and religiously to reposition their teeth and lock the new smile.

It's not possible to keep wearing your aligners every single minute of the day because, of course, you have eating, drinking, and brushing needs. However, Invisalign should only be kept out of the mouth for a maximum of 2 hours daily. Ignoring this advice can delay the finish time of your treatment.

Invisalign vs SmileDirectClub

Invisalign and SmileDirectClub both offer the same results — straightened teeth using gradual, gentle pressure. After buying either of the products, you must commit to the following requirements:

  • Wear your aligners
  • Take out your aligners
  • Keep the aligners clean
  • Swap out the trays
  • Wear retainers

However, there are a few primary differences that set them apart. The fundamental difference lies in their process. SmileDirectClub is applied remotely at home. In comparison, Invisalign is applied in the dentist's office. Here is the ultimate showdown between the two products that will help determine which product is better than the other:

Treatable conditions
SmileDirectClub can address mild issues. In contrast, Invisalign addresses mild to severe malalignment issues or is used in conjunction with complex cases.

How it works
After an initial in-office scan, you can mail-order your SmileDirectClub aligner kit at your address. In contrast, Invisalign is a step-by-step procedure performed under your dentist's supervision.

For treatment with SmileDirectClub, you'll have online access to your prescribing dentist throughout the procedure. In comparison, you'll meet your dentist for follow-ups and get a new set of Invisalign aligners.

SmileDirectClub is a cheaper, more convenient, and fast process that can be done easily at home. On the other hand, Invisalign is used to treat more complex problems and offers full-time supervision of the dentist.

Does Invisalign Take Longer Than Braces

No, Invisalign doesn't take longer than braces. Generally, the treatment time with Invisalign is 12 to 18 months, same as the braces. It's worth mentioning that the time taken for any treatment to deliver the desired results largely depends on individual health conditions, choices, and the extent of the problem. Those with severe crowding and misalignment of teeth can expect a prolonged Invisalign treatment.

Invisalign generally takes the same time as braces to move teeth into the desired position due to the force this process uses to move the teeth. Compared to braces that move each tooth separately, the one-piece aligners can provide force to the teeth as a whole.


It goes without saying that Invisalign is an excellent teeth straightening option. They have decades of experience, a sound customer satisfaction record, and a strong clientele. They are a go-to option for many orthodontics and dentists. However, if you are pressed for time and money, plenty of other options are available that give more or less the same results.

The efficacy of a treatment is also directly related to the years of experience of the dental healthcare provider and how rigorously you hold onto the post-procedural guidelines. Following your dentist's guidelines and attending follow-up meetings ascertain the longevity of the results.

About My Dentist San Francisco

My Dentist San Francisco is a leading dental clinic in San Francisco, CA, United States. We offer a wide range of dentistry services from preventive care to advanced restorative treatment and cosmetic smile makeovers. We assure to provide a comfortable environment to those who may feel nervous about the idea of receiving dental services. We prioritize providing the highest standards of evidence-based dental care.

Getting orthodontic treatment is nerve-racking. We, at My Dentist San Francisco, are committed to making the process as smooth as possible for our patients. If you think Invisalign is right for you, get in touch with our expert orthodontists to ensure you get the best treatment and the most beautiful smile.

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