Clear aligner therapy (such as Invisalign) is a way to get the beautiful straight teeth you've always wanted — without braces.
Clear aligner therapy uses a series of virtually invisible, removable, and comfortable trays that gradually move your teeth into the correct position. Tooth movement is designed by Dr. Arnold or Dr. DeSantis in 3D software that is then translated into the clear aligners.
While clear aligner therapy can work for a variety of people, it is ONLY as safe and effective as the team prescribing the movements. This is where having a licensed, experienced orthodontist oversee the treatment is the critical part of getting the result you want.
The type of patients for whom clear aligner therapy is an option is ever-expanding. Originally, Invisalign was effective for adults with simple crowding. Now, though, it can be an option for cases that need bite correction, for patients that need permanent teeth extracted, and even patients requiring jaw surgery. We have had great success with clear aligners in adolescents and adults alike, and have even trusted some responsible kiddos with Phase I Invisalign treatment!
At your initial exam, our doctors will discuss clear aligners as a treatment option for you. Some Invisalign treatment plans will include auxillary mechanics, such as rubber bands, or bite-correction appliances. To initiate Invisalign treatment, your teeth are imaged by a 3D photographic scanner. Treatment is designed by the doctor using 3D software, and a series of aligners is fabricated by Invisalign.
At your first delivery appointment, a few tooth-colored buttons may be added to teeth that need a handle onto which the aligners can transmit force. We will instruct you on how to place, remove, and care for you aligners. Our patients typically change their aligners weekly, although more complicated treatment may require 2-week aligner wear.
You will wear your aligners 24 hours a day/7days a week. Aligners are removed only when you eat and when you brush. Aligners can be removed for infrequent, special occasions, such as prom, or a big presentation at work.
Teeth do not know whether metal braces and wires are pulling on them, or plastic trays are pushing on them. When a force is exerted on a tooth, a series of biologic signals begins that enables tooth movement and can cause tenderness. So, your teeth can feel sore with clear aligners just as they can with braces. However, the digital technology behind clear aligner fabrication helps to keep the forces low and constant, reducing sharp peaks in force levels. As with braces, NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen, are very effective at keeping patients comfortable.
Patients love clear aligner therapy because (1) it is virtually invisible, (2) they don't have to alter their diet, and (3) it is minimally impactful for athletes and musicians.
Dentists love clear aligner therapy because patients do a much better job keeping their teeth clean than with braces. It is almost unheard of to find decalcification or cavities caused by Invisalign.
Parents love clear aligner therapy because there are fewer appointments when compared to traditional braces and no emergencies.
The aligners arrive at our office 4-6 weeks after your initial scan. We will give you 4 sets of trays at your first visit, 6 sets at your second, and then 8 sets from there on out. This means we will see you at week 4, week 10, week 18 and then every 8 weeks following. Each aligner moves your teeth little by little. After the first series of aligners is completed, we will re-scan and design another box of aligners to detail and finish your treatment. A few patients may require a third scan and refinement process. The total treatment time varies depending on the complexity of the movements needed. A typical plan runs anywhere from 12-24 months.
Orthodontic benefits cover clear aligner therapy and braces equally. At Erin Arnold Orthodontics, a full Invisalign treatment plan is about $6000. A $1700 down payment is required before we can hit “print” on the fabrication of the aligners. We are happy to break this initial investment into smaller payments, and we can take your scan and be designing the aligner movements during this time. At your initial visit, Samantha, our treatment coordinator will cover your insurance benefits and find a financing plan that works for you. Finally, if at any point you or the doctors feel that clear aligners are not working out, we will switch you to traditional braces at no additional charge.