Invisalign® FAQ's

Invisalign Grand Rapids, MI

If you have ever felt self-conscious about crooked teeth but are not a fan of metal wires or brackets, our Grand Rapids orthodontists may recommend Invisalign® clear aligners. They’re designed to be a low-key approach to orthodontics that on average, straightens teeth faster than traditional braces.

Since we get a lot of questions about how Invisalign works, we decided to list the most common questions regarding treatment here for your convenience. Take a few moments to read through them and decide if Invisalign is the best choice for your smile. 

How does Invisalign work?

Like the name suggests, Invisalign is a set of nearly invisible dental aligners that exert pressure on teeth to move them into optimal alignment. Before aligners are created, our orthodontists use advanced computer imaging technology to plan out your treatment so you can enjoy a beautifully straight smile. This plan will consist of several dozen stages and within each stage, will be a set of aligners to wear. 

The clear dental aligners are customized to fit your teeth and will move them little by little. Each aligner set is worn for about two weeks before being replaced by the next series.

How long does it take Invisalign to straighten teeth?

Generally, Invisalign treatment takes about 12 months. Keep in mind that each patient has different orthodontic needs. For example, our orthodontists have to be conscious of growing permanent teeth in a teenager’s smile. In other words, the length of Invisalign treatment depends on the age of the patient and the condition of their teeth.

Who is a candidate for Invisalign?

Both teens and adults are welcome to try Invisalign unless their particular dental situation requires extensive orthodontic treatment. However, it is important that you are committed to the process because if aligners are not worn for long enough, corrections may be necessary which will delay progress. Our orthodontists will perform a quick evaluation to confirm your candidacy before aligner production can begin. 

What are the benefits of Invisalign?

Many of our adult patients prefer the look of Invisalign to traditional metal braces. Invisalign is so subtle that most people aren’t able to tell that you are wearing them unless they get up close.

Invisalign also makes it easy to maintain good oral hygiene because you don’t have to brush and floss around wires and brackets. Instead, you are able to remove your Invisalign aligners so you can brush and floss normally. Since Invisalign aligners are removable, you also don’t have to worry about eliminating certain foods from your diet like caramel popcorn. 

How much does Invisalign cost?

There are many factors that determine the cost of Invisalign, which include length of treatment and the difficulty of your case. In general, the cost of Invisalign is similar to that of traditional braces. Many orthodontists, such as ours, offer payment plans for Invisalign so you can make affordable monthly payments.

How often must I see my orthodontist during Invisalign treatment?

You’ll need to see our orthodontists every 4 to 6 weeks during Invisalign treatment. During your appointment, we'll check to make sure your teeth are moving according to plan and that you are ready to receive your new set of Invisalign aligners. Since you won’t have braces or brackets, visits are often shorter than if you had traditional braces.

How often must I wear the aligners?

To get the full benefit of Invisalign treatment, you’ll need to wear your aligners for about 20 to 22 hours a day. This means that you should only remove your Invisalign aligners to eat or brush your teeth.

Is Invisalign painful?

Since Invisalign exerts pressure on your teeth, you will experience some dental discomfort in the first couple of days of wearing a new set of aligners. However, many of our patients feel that the temporary pain is worth having straighter teeth. After all, the pressure you feel on your teeth is a sign that they are moving according to plan. We recommend taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen in the first couple days after wearing new aligners to manage pain.

Are there restrictions on what I can eat while wearing Invisalign?

No. Since you are able to remove your Invisalign aligners to eat, there are no dietary restrictions. However, you’ll need to brush and floss your teeth before putting your dental aligners back in your mouth to avoid bacteria buildup and staining.

How can I maintain a straight smile after Invisalign treatment?

It’s not uncommon for teeth to move slightly after orthodontic treatment, which is why our orthodontists will create a special retainer for you to wear at night. A retainer looks similar to an aligner and may be needed for both your upper and lower teeth.

Get Started Today

The Grand Rapids orthodontists at Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics are dedicated to helping you achieve your best smile. If you are interested in learning whether you are a candidate for Invisalign aligners, schedule an appointment with us at (616) 455-4800.

This blog post has been updated.