Invisalign uses a series of clear, plastic aligners that gradually shift the teeth to a corrected position. There are a few Invisalign systems that can treat anything from simple to complex cases. Of course, treatment times are dependent on your specific needs and your diligence with wearing your aligners, but it’s not uncommon for treatment to be completed in about a year.
Align Technology, the creators of Invisalign, was founded in 1997 by Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth in San Jose, California.
First, you’ll meet with Dr. Goodman for an Invisalign consultation in Bethesda. She will examine your teeth, discuss your goals, and determine if Invisalign is right for you. The team will take impressions or digital scans of your mouth and give you a sneak peek of your new smile.
Once your first set of aligners arrives at our office in Bethesda, you’ll come in to pick them up and try them on. Dr. Goodman will instruct you on how to wear your aligners to get the best results. Typically, you’ll wear them for at least 20 hours a day and switch out the aligners for the next set every week.
You’ll come back to our office every 6-10 weeks to pick up your newest sets of aligners and for quick check-ins to make sure your teeth are tracking properly. As long as you wear your aligners for 20-22 hours per day, your teeth will gradually shift to the corrected position.
After treatment is complete, you’ll maintain your beautiful new smile with a set of retainers. Your clear, plastic retainers will look similar to your Invisalign aligners, but the plastic is stronger to help keep your teeth straight for years to come.
Sometimes your upper front teeth overlap with your lower front teeth. This is called an overbite, and this occurs in most people. It becomes a problem when the overbite is too large. If you have too deep a bite, your teeth may wear down or you could suffer from jaw pain. Invisalign can fix an overbite or deep bite, and get your teeth in a healthier position.
An underbite is when your lower front teeth are in front of your upper front teeth. The problem often lies in the position of the jaw; the lower jaw being too far forward. This misplacement can make it hard to chew and speak properly, and may cause wear and tear to the teeth. Invisalign can fix some cases of underbites, but severe underbites may require Invisalign treatment as well as oral surgery.
Normally, the upper front teeth sit in front of the lower front teeth. Crossbites are when a few of your upper teeth sit behind your lower teeth. This can cause your teeth to wear down or chip, and may also cause gum recession, which can lead to painful gum problems or even bone loss. Invisalign can fix some crossbites, but it’s best to have a consultation with Dr. Goodman to see which options are right for you.
Gaps between teeth are fairly common, but these extra spaces can create pockets between the teeth and gums where food can get trapped. These spaces can harbor bacteria which can make your gums tender and sore and even lead to gum disease. Invisalign can fix gaps between teeth and give you a straighter, more seamless smile.
Usually the upper and lower front teeth touch when the mouth is closed. When they don’t, it’s called an open bite. This can make it difficult to chew properly or bite into certain foods effectively. Invisalign can adjust the bite, so all teeth sit straight and as they naturally should.
Crowding happens when there’s not enough room in the jaw for your teeth to sit straight. As a result, they bunch up, overlap and twist, sometimes getting pushed in front of or behind others. Crowded teeth can make oral care routines, like brushing and flossing difficult. When teeth aren’t cleaned properly, it’s easier for plaque, tartar, and harmful bacteria to build up. Over time, this can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, crowding can get worse as the teeth naturally shift inward. Invisalign can fix most cases of crowded teeth. You’ll just need to speak with Dr. Goodman to determine if it’s the best option for you.
Great experience with my Invisalign process. Dr Goodman took me through the pros and cons of getting them and was right there with me throughout the process, addressing any questions or concerns I had. I love my new teeth!
Dr. Goodman and the Harmony practice are absolutely wonderful!! I can't say enough good things. I can relax knowing that my family is in the best of hands. Dr. Goodman not only gave me a beautiful smile before my wedding day, but also takes wonderful care of my daughter Ava. Icing on the cake is that the office is just a fun place to be :)
Not just for toddlers. I’m 61 and was bite was thrown of by a sleep apnea appliance. Dr. Goodman and her expert team have been phenomenal. My bite is almost all the way back and still have 9 more weeks of Invasilign to go. Highly recommend this practice.
The aligners are designed from molds and built in layers with photo-sensitive liquid resin. When exposed to a laser, the resin cures into a hard, yet flexible, thermoplastic. This plastic is called SmartTrack®, and it was created exclusively for Invisalign treatment. It’s FDA-approved and contains no BPA, BPS, latex or gluten.
The simplest way to keep them clean is to brush them with a toothbrush and toothpaste as often as you brush your teeth. If you don’t have access to your toothbrush, you should rinse them with lukewarm water. Never use hot water as you may warp the plastic. You can also purchase an Invisalign Cleaning System for a more thorough clean.
Invisalign aligners are made from clear plastic, which makes them virtually invisible. Many people may not notice that you’re wearing them. All sets of aligners are custom-made to fit snuggly to your teeth, and are trimmed to fit to your gum line for a more seamless wear. There are no metal brackets or wires, or restrictions that come with braces, so you can feel confident in your smile throughout treatment.
Invisalign treatment is usually similar in cost to that of braces. But pricing fluctuates depending on your case. A consultation with your doctor will determine your needs and help establish the cost of your treatment.
Your insurance may also cover orthodontic treatment, so be sure to check with your insurance provider to better understand your coverage and options.
You must wear your aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day. If you fail to wear your aligners for the recommended amount of time each day, you’ll find that your next set of aligners is too tight and may not slip over your teeth at all.
The average Invisalign treatment time is 12-18 months. However, the length of your treatment will ultimately depend on the complexity of your orthodontic problems. Minor crooked teeth or gaps may be corrected in as little as 6 months, while severe malocclusions can take multiple years to correct.
We can give you a more specific time frame if you come in for a consultation. With digital mapping, we can plan out your entire treatment and show you how we will move your teeth from start to finish as well as how long it will take.
You may experience difficulty tracking your aligners when you first switch to a new set. This is because the new set of aligners will feel much tighter on your teeth until they continue to shift over the 2 weeks that you continue to wear them.
This is where Invisalign “chewies” come in – they’re like a chewable cotton material that helps seat your aligners when you chew on them. Keep in mind that if you still find it difficult to get your aligners to track, this could be because you weren’t wearing them enough.
Aligners must be worn for 22 hours a day or the new aligners will not fit. This will force you to regress to your last set of aligners to complete shifting your teeth for the next set of aligners, which will add to your overall treatment time.
You need to remove your aligners before drinking coffee. This is because you cannot eat or consume liquids that are hot, sugary, or contain anything except for water. Food will stain your aligners, while heat can morph the plastic the aligners are made of.
This will also introduce bacteria into your aligners which increase your risk of tooth decay. There are no diet restrictions while you are on Invisalign, you just have to set aside time to remove your aligners to eat or have a cup of coffee.
Your aligners can be taken off for 2 hours per day, so try to avoid frequent snacking or leaving them off for too long. When you remove your aligners, rinse them with water and store them in their storage case.
After eating, brush and floss so you don’t trap food particles, bacteria, or stains in your aligners. Then, rinse your aligner out once more before placing them back over your teeth.
Average treatment times for Invisalign are just 1 year.