What are Invisalign® or Clear Braces?

Invisalign® is the first company to make custom clear removable retainers – known as aligners or clear braces – to treat crooked teeth.

In clear aligner treatment, a person’s teeth are scanned by a hand-held scanner into a computer. The software creates an orthodontic treatment plan to straighten the teeth.

The treatment plan prints multiple sets of clear aligners. Each set of aligners moves the teeth a small increment, and over time the teeth are straightened.

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Is Invisalign® the best clear Braces?

Whether Invisalign® is the best is a personal preference.
Invisalign® was the first (and is the most expensive) aligner system in the US.

Today there are dozens of companies that make the same type of retainers as Invisalign®. Some of the other aligner companies have new features, and some provide almost the same features at a cheaper cost.

The following Invisalign® competitor companies are:

What are Clear Braces?

Clear aligners are custom made plastic retainers that fit a person’s upper or lower teeth. They are often referred to as clear braces

They are custom made for each individual from a scan or mold of their teeth. Computer software then calculates how to move the teeth with pressure overtime to get them from crooked to straight.

Each aligner is designed to press on the teeth, causing them to shift in the jaw bone, just like braces do.

Clear braces can only move the teeth a small increment of about 1/2mm. That is why a person needs anywhere from 10 to 40 aligners each worn for one to two weeks to get straighter teeth.

  • They are made removable plastic retainers
  • Each retainer moves the teeth only a mere 1/2 mm
  • From 10 to 40 retainers are needed to strighten teeth

Is Invisalign® as good as regular braces?

Invisalign® can get the same result braces for 90% of people with crooked teeth.

But it has its limits. Only an experienced dentist can tell whether you are a candidate for clear aligners or will benefit from braces.

Here are a few tips to determine if you should have braces or Invisalign®

  • Invisalign takes longer. For some people, Invisalign will take longer to straighten the teeth than braces. On average 25% more time.
  • Invisalign can’t fix complicated bites.  10% of crooked smiles have complicated bites and skeletal problems. These can only be corrected by braces, sometimes with surgery combined. The problem is knowing if you are in this 10 %. An experienced dentist can tell you.

Are traditional braces cheaper than Invisalign®?

Some Dentist charges more for Invisalign, and others like Midtown Dentistry charge the same price for either. Clear aligners are more expensive than traditional braces They cost the dentist about $750-950 per jaw or $1,900 for a full mouth. The price of the traditional braces is about $1,000 for the full mouth. Not included in the cost of the devices are the value of the tools, scanners, and staff.

The price of braces and Invisalign depends on a few things:

  • The amount of work and chair time needed to correct the crooked teeth. Each smile is different and may need 8 or 18 months of treatment. That's where the cost differs. And it makes sense.  On average, in traditional braces, there is much more costly chair time needed, so the lower cost of materials is overtaken but the cost of the chair time.
  • The experience of the dentist providing the service.  As with everything else - experience is everything and the most experienced dentists can charge more. If you get treatment from a novice, you may get lucky and get it right. Or you may get into a pickle. With your smile, not a disposable item. Is that worth it?

How painful is Invisalign®?

  • Clear aligners such as Invisalign are painful during treatment.  How painful? Different people obviously feel and have different tolerance for pain.  But the pain in more of a constant nagging pressure that is worse for a few days and then subsides.
  • Take the Invisalign pain test: to simulate the feeling of the pressure - push with your forefinger on your upper front tooth for 5 exactly minutes. Try to press with moderate pressure, enough to slightly bend an empty soda can. The feeling you feel on this tooth will be similar to Invisalign or clear aligner pain on all of your teeth.
  • The pain lasts three days: The clear aligner pain is most severe on the first three days of wearing the new retainer. It then subsides until you change to the next aligner when it starts again for another three days.
  • The pain can be treated with regular OTC pain medication: On the days the pain really bothers you, Advil® or Tylenol® will do the trick.  It’s very rare that anyone needs more than that.

How long does it take for Invisalign® to work?

With clear braces such as Invisalign, It takes one week to move a tooth 1/2mm.

For an average person that needs their teeth straightened it will take 8-12 months to straighten their front teeth.

Do you really have to wear Invisalign® 22 hours?

Yes, you must wear them at least 22 hours per day.
At Midtown Dentistry we tell our patients to wear them 24 hours per day, and only remove them to brush your teeth and to eat meals.

If you take them out for over 2 hours a day, figure you will lose a week of work moving your teeth.

Removing them for two days, and the retainer will not fit, and you may lose a month worth of work and have to start back from that time.

For Appointments

Call us at (713) 807-9877 or use the button below to Ask a Question or Schedule Your Appointment to have Dr. Jonathan Penchas or one of his expert staff examine your teeth.

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