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Invisalign FAQ: All you need to know about Invisalign aligners

You’ve decided you would like to improve your smile and after a bit of research have heard that this is now achievable with Invisalign clear aligners. Amazing results, without the aggravation of traditional ‘train-tracks’. But what exactly is Invisalign and is it right for you? Our team at Cotteswold House Dental Care in Gloucester are here to help with our most frequently asked questions.

What is Invisalign and how does it work?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses a series of clear, removable aligners, often called clear braces, to straighten the teeth. They are made from transparent, flexible plastic.

What is the Invisalign treatment process?
Initially, you will have a free consultation with Cotteswold House’s Patient Co-ordinator, Jess. Here she will carry out a 3D scan of your teeth (using our ‘ iTero Smile Simulator’), which will show you the results you can expect to achieve. Moving your teeth from their current position to the desired location will be broken down into steps, which will be used to create a series of aligners, designed to gradually move your teeth until they reach the correct position.

Next, if you want to find out a little more about Invisalign and if it is right for you, you will come in for a treatment planning visit. A series of photographs and x-rays will be taken in order to create your bespoke treatment plan. If you are happy with the final plan and want to go ahead, we can order your custom made Invisalign aligners.

It will take around 2 to 4 weeks for your aligners to be made, at which point you will have a fitting appointment with your dentist. They will carefully explain how to wear and look after your aligners, instructing you on when to move to the next set, which is typically every 1 to 2 weeks. We will then book appointments at certain intervals to check on your teeth’s progress.

You will need to wear your Invisalign aligners 20 to 22 hours a day, only removing them for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, or a special occasion such as a job interview or wedding.

Who can have Invisalign?
Invisalign aligners are suitable for patients from teenagers with no upper age limit. As a versatile orthodontic treatment, here at Cotteswold House Dental Care we use Invisalign to treat both minor and complex cases. The aligners can correct underbites, crossbites and overbites as well as teeth that are overcrowded or have gaps between them, or are just plain wonky!

How long does the Invisalign process take?
You can expect the whole Invisalign process to take from 4-18 months to achieve your perfect smile. Each case is individual.

Will people notice I am wearing Invisalign clear aligners?
One of the main advantages of Invisalign aligners is that most of the time they go undetected and other people don’t notice that you are wearing them. It does take a bit of practice speaking with them at first, but you will find that any lisp or difficulty resolves in a few days.

How much does Invisalign cost?
The cost of Invisalign is similar to that of traditional braces. The exact cost will depend on the number of steps, and therefore number of aligners, required to achieve the desired outcome. The cost you can typically expect to pay at our Gloucester dental practice is £2750 – £3750 and we will be able to confirm this following your initial consultation.

Can your teeth move back after Invisalign?
The short answer is yes. As many adults who had braces as a child and ditched the retainer as a young adult will testify, your teeth will gradually move back if left to their own devices.

Do you have to wear a retainer forever after Invisalign?
The good news is that you can stop your teeth reverting to their original position. Once you complete your treatment, your dentist will fit you for a retainer to prevent your teeth from moving back and to retain your new smile. You will only need to wear this at night.

Does Invisalign change the shape of your face?
Any treatment that involves moving your teeth, including traditional braces, can slightly change the shape of your lower face. This will be more obvious on some patients while on others it may be very subtle; it depends on how big a transition your teeth have to make.

Is Invisalign treatment painful?
As the aligners are moving your teeth, it is normal to feel some pressure and discomfort whilst wearing them, especially with a new set. This settles down after a few days once your teeth get used to the new positioning.

What can you not do with Invisalign?
There are no food restrictions with Invisalign as you remove them to eat. However, you should not have tea or coffee (or other drinks apart from water) whilst wearing them as this can cause staining or other dental problems; the tight-fitting aligners can trap the residue inside and prevent saliva from washing it away.

Once you have finished eating, it is advisable to clean your teeth before reinserting your aligners to ensure good dental and oral hygiene.

Can you drink tea or coffee through a straw whilst wearing Invisalign?
No; this can still lead to staining and other issues. Please remove your aligners before drinking tea or coffee.

What happens if you forget to wear your Invisalign?
If you forget to wear your Invisalign for a short time it should still fit but you may feel a bit of discomfort, such as when you move to a new set. If you go a longer period without wearing your aligner, then give our Cotteswold House team a call and your dentist can advise on how to proceed. It may be that you need to revert to your previous set, or a different course of action may be needed.

If you have any questions about Invisalign at Cotteswold House Dental Care that we’ve not covered here, or you’d just like to chat in more detail, do get in touch with us here at our dental practice in Gloucester and we’ll be happy to answer anything we have missed, or to arrange a free consultation with one of our dentists please contact us.