Whilst the Invisalign system itself is a series of custom moulded, very comfortable and nearly invisible plastic mouth guards, the treatment is not a one size fits all and will depend upon the age of the patient and severity and complexity of the malocclusion.
Your first port of call is to find an Invisalign specialist in your area and to book a consultation with them to assess your conditions and whether or not you qualify for the treatment.
The Smileo Search Tool can help you search and find an Invisalign provider cross 2,000 independent UK based practitioners, which are all Invisalign certified orthodontists and dentists and who provide independent medical advice and services. All practitioners have completed the training offered by Invisalign and are ranked based on their suitability to your search criteria, namely your location. Providers are also ranked based on the total number of Invisalign treatments they have performed.
The tool will help you locate the Invisalign provider nearer to you and will also allow you to get in touch with them to book your initial consultation or to seek more information should you wish to know more.
All practitioners listed in our Invisalign specialist section are designated with the following labels:
Before a treatment plan can be created for you by your Invisalign Provider, your dentist will need to take an impression of your teeth. Making an accurate and detailed impression is the first and most important step in creating your custom aligners and should not be neglected.
Your dentist will choose the correct-size plastic tray (mouth guard) for your upper teeth to ensure the tray fits in your mouth and allows for perfect impressions of your teeth. The process will be repeated for your lower teeth with another tray as the size and shape of your upper and bottom teeth might be completely different.
Your dentist will then mix two different types of Putty Soft, a clay like structure composed of a base and a catalyst. This putty is then moulded onto the plastic tray and inserted into the patient’s mouth to take the impressions of the upper teeth. The tray will remain in the patient’s mouth for approximately 3-5 minutes, which is the time taken for the Putty to harden and set.
Once the putty has finally set, the dentist will remove the tray from the patient’s mouth and repeat the process for the lower teeth.
Your first appointment for your impressions is usually no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
In recent years, the digital and technological revolution has hit the healthcare sector and dentistry in particular has largely benefited from these advances.
Products like the iTero scanner, an intraoral scanning device are now seen in more and more practices Worldwide. The main benefits of these types of scanners for patients interested in the Invisalign product is that ClinChecks setups are roughly 50% faster than traditional methods, there are 10 times fewer rejections when impressions are submitted and 7 times fewer fit issues when the aligners are received and fitted into the patient’s mouth.
This in turn provides patients with a far better outcome than traditional methods and a better overall experience too.
Once your impressions have been taken by the practitioner, they are sent to Invisalign headquarters in the US to check that your teeth can be straightened using the Invisalign system. Once confirmed by the Invisalign engineer in charge of your case, a detailed treatment plan is developed using ClinCheck®, Invisalign’s virtual 3D treatment plan.
ClinCheck is a 3D computer generated animation showing a series of movements your teeth are projected to go through over the course of the treatment. The Clincheck is reviewed and approved by your practitioner prior to the treatment starting.
Most practitioners will take their patients through the ClinCheck to show them how their teeth are going to move throughout the entire treatment, but be sure to ask for your ClinCheck before starting your treatment to ensure you are 100% happy with the final results.
Once your treatment plan has been approved by your practitioner, Invisalign will start producing a series of custom moulded, very comfortable and nearly invisible plastic aligners for you. This process usually takes a couple of weeks.
As soon as the first set of aligners has been received by your practitioner, you will need to book your first appointment to fit the aligners and go through a 5min training to ensure you know exactly how to remove and clean your aligners.
Your dentist should receive your aligners from Align Tech a few weeks after your ClicnCheck and treatment plan have been approved. These will come as 2 to 3 sets of trays that should suffice for the first 4-6 weeks of treatment.
Your dentist will book you in for an appointment for your first fitting to ensure your aligners fit properly into your mouth, that they do not hurt you and to teach you the basic principle of using Invisalign such as how to safely remove the aligners without risking to break the appliance, cleaning your aligners, brushing your teeth, etc.
The first fitting is usually a time at which your dentist will perform IPR to create space between your teeth or add attachments or buttons, based on what part of your treatment plan requires those to be bonded onto your teeth.
Both attachments and buttons were covered in section 7 of his guide which summarises the man disadvantages of Invisalign® versus conventional braces.
As Invisalign attachments and Invisalign buttons are major concerns amongst patients choosing Invisalign, as they can often impact their self-confidence, we felt it was appropriate to dedicate an entire page to this subject,.
Head over to our these two pages to find out more information about what attachments and buttons are for, why they are used and how they can impact your treatment or self-confidence.
Once your first set of aligners have been fitted, you should only have to see your dentist every 4-8 weeks, depending on how many aligners they have given you and what part of your treatment plan you are at.
One of the main advantages of Invisalign clear braces for patients is that they can remove their aligners at any time in order to eat or brush their teeth.
On the other hand, one of the main disadvantages of Invisalign for dentists is that patients tend to take the aligners out for prolonged periods of time, hindering their progress in the process.
So how much should you wear your aligners every day: According Invisalign specialist, patients must wear their braces for 20-22 hours daily in order for their teeth to move according to the treatment plan and simulation. Any less than 20 hours and your teeth will not have moved to the desired position within the two week timeframe which will prevent you from moving onto the next set of aligners, thus resulting in a longer treatment time overall.
As a reminder, fixed metal braces cannot be removed and are worn 24 hours a day – being able to take your braces out for a few hours every day to eat, brush your teeth or make this big presentation at work therefore sound like a privilege, and those expecting to be able to get the perfect smile by wearing their aligners only a few hours per day should probably save their money and not start the treatment in the first place.
Whatever stage of their treatment and progress they have made, patients will tend to relapse if they do not wear their aligners for a prolonged period of time.
By not wearing their aligners, patients take the risk of the amount of relapse occurring being great enough that their smile and progress veers off track meaning your existing aligners do not fit anymore. This could require an expensive mid-course correction by taking a new set of impressions and prolonging your treatment by a few months.
At the end of your initial treatment plan, your dentist will evaluate progress against your initial ClinCheck. It is common for teeth to have moved sufficiently to give you the smile you had always wanted, but for your dental practitioner to suggest what is called a “refinement period”, a new set of usually 5-15 aligners which have the purpose to correct the exact position or rotation of specific teeth or to align your upper and lower teeth to ensure a proper bite.
The former will usually allow your teeth to sit nicely together to reduce the risk of relapse, whilst the latter is purely functional and your dentist will want to ensure your bite is 100% correct before finishing your treatment. Not doing so could have severe consequences further down the line including headaches or jaw pain due to TMJ.
It is worth noting that during the refinement period, patients are usually expected to wear the aligners for a period of 7 to 10 days, as opposed to the 14 days required for the initial treatment plan.
Finally, your dentist might also ask you to do a shorter second refinement period if they are not entirely happy with the final results. Whilst a large number of patients tend to walk away at this point as they feel they have achieved a perfect smile from an aesthetic standpoint, it is usually recommended to follow their recommendation as more mechanical (i.e. your bite) are usually addressed at this point.
Most patients believe that straightening their teeth is a one part process. They get braces, wear them for a year or so and expect these results to remain for the rest of their life.
We often of people who have had braces when they were teenagers, yet end up with crooked teeth by the time their reach their thirties or forties. The reason behind this is that teeth continue growing well into our twenties and thirties (for instance, wisdom teeth come out later in life) and are subjected to various forces due to your eating and behavioural habits, such as nail biting.
These habits will apply pressure to the teeth and force them to move slightly over time, meaning a partial if not complete relapse by the patient.
When making the decision to have your teeth straightened using Invisalign (or any other fixed braces), don't overlook the fact that you'll need to commit to wearing dental retainers at the end of your treatment plan.
Your dental retainer will either come in the form of a small ‘metal bar’ bonded to the back of your teeth (invisible to other people) or the weating of the Invisalign retainers, a custom moulded plastic aligner that is 30% harder and more resistant that standard aligners.
Your dentist will usually recommend for these retainers to be worn at night 3 times per week in order to keep the teeth in their position and reduce the risk of relapse.