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Thursday, 20 February 2020

How does Invisalign straighten your teeth?

Dr. Vincent Wan


Invisalign is a well known brand of clear aligners. Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional braces and are these days the more chosen approach by patients who want to straighten their teeth. The biggest difference between aligners and braces are that braces are a very visible form of treatment, versus aligners which are almost unnoticeable. Being thin plastic trays, aligners are more comfortable than the brackets and wires of traditional braces.  Because they can be removed, aligners also allow easier eating and cleaning of the teeth.

But how do Invisalign and other clear aligner brands actually straighten your teeth and what is the procedure for a patient receiving clear aligners? The entire aligner process can be broken down into six steps:

Step 1 – Initial Consultation

At Central Brisbane Dental, we provide the initial consultation for patients at no charge. Patients who wish to be evaluated for teeth straightening can book this free consultation at a time that suits. During this 30 minute consultation, one of our dentists will evaluate your mouth, specifically looking at your teeth crowding and spacing, the bite of your teeth, and determine if clear aligners are an appropriate orthodontic treatment for your case.

The dentist will discuss with you your options in detail, provide information sheets and case studies and treatment plans and quotes.  The price for clear aligners will be between $2599 and $6000 and the variation will come down to the complexity of the case and the number of aligners required. At Central Brisbane Dental, we allow payment arrangements to be made so that you do not need to pay the full amount in one payment. An example payment arrangement is 50% upfront, with the remaining balance paid in four installments over the course of your treatment.

During this consultation you will be provided with a referral form to get big orthodontic x-rays for further assessment of your case if you decide to proceed. While some dentists will charge patients for these x-rays, we prefer to refer you to a specific x-ray clinic, (we have one just a few of minutes’ walk from our practice,) which will allow you to be bulk billed for these x-rays under Medicare with no out-of-pocket charge if you have a Medicare card.

Step 2 – Photos and Impression Taking

Once you have decided that aligners are the right option for your straightening, we need to collect more records of your mouth for analysis.

This appointment usually takes around 1 hour.

Your dentist will perform the following;

  • Take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and gums
  • Take photos of your facial profile from the front and from the sides
  • Take photos of your teeth and how you bite
  • Analyze the x-rays you had taken at the x-ray clinic
  • Assess the impressions, x-rays, and photographic records
  • Develop your treatment plan alongside the specialist team from the aligner company that makes your customized aligners

Step 3 – Discuss Treatment

Your treatment plan is created by the dentist and the specialist team from the aligner company creating the aligners. Once the treatment plan is finalized you can come in and discuss it with your dentist. You also have the chance to make amendments to the plan if you so desire. The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes.

Treatment plans are comprehensive, they reveal the number of aligners you will use, and go into detail with regards to the straightening process.

Step 4 – Beginning Aligner Treatment

When your aligners are ready, you can come in for a 30 minute appointment and your dentist will assist you with insertion of the aligners. Using aligners is quite straight forward, but inserting your first set with a dentist allows you to ask any questions you have and ensure that you are using them correctly.

Your dentist will also provide you with advice on how to use your aligners, how to maintain your regular dental hygiene while using aligners, as well as general tips such as keeping the aligners in your mouth for at least 22 hours per day.

Following the instructions is very important as deviations can lead to complications which extend the amount of time treatment may be required.

Step 5 – Reviews

During the course of your aligner treatment you can schedule regular 15 to 30 minute appointments with your dentist where they can review the progress of your aligners and pick up on any deviation from the treatment plan. At Central Brisbane Dental we do not charge extra for any of these appointments. You can come in for as many as you want, though usually they are scheduled every four to six weeks.

Step 6 – Using Retainers

Congratulations, you now have straight teeth and a great smile. To ensure that your result is maintained, the dentist who will provide you with your retainers which need to be worn every night.

Retainers need to be worn to keep the teeth in their corrected positions. You can discuss your retainer maintenance with your dentist and ask any other questions you may have.