woman holding Invisalign appliance in hand

What Exactly Is Invisalign, and How Does It Work?


If you need orthodontic treatment to correct bite issues or misaligned teeth, you may be considering Invisalign. You’ve seen the commercials, you’ve heard about it from friends—but what is Invisalign? Does it really do the same job as metal braces? Here’s what you need to know about this innovative orthodontic treatment option.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic solution that uses a series of clear plastic aligners to gradually straighten your teeth over time. Unlike traditional braces, which use brackets and wires to push and pull your teeth into new positions, Invisalign slowly reshapes your smile by using each set of aligners to make subtle changes to your teeth that add up to big changes over the course of your treatment.

Although Invisalign is quite different from traditional braces in form, it performs the same function of correcting your bite and straightening your teeth. There are some orthodontic cases that are best addressed with traditional braces, but for most patients, Invisalign and braces work equally well when it comes to helping you achieve a beautiful smile.

How Does Invisalign Work?

The Invisalign process starts with a consultation. We’ll examine your teeth, talk to you about your expectations, and show you a preview of what your smile will look like once you complete your treatment.

If you decide to move forward with Invisalign, we’ll take digital impressions that allow us to create a 3D model of your smile to use in planning your treatment. Your doctor will determine the precise movements needed for your individual treatment plan, then Invisalign will fabricate your aligners. The number of aligners needed depends on the amount of correction required—more aligners means a longer treatment time.

About every two weeks—or as directed by your doctor—you will switch to a new set of aligners. Each set brings you a little bit closer to your new smile. We’ll want to see you at our office every six weeks to monitor your treatment and make sure your teeth are moving as planned.

What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?

For most patients, the benefits of Invisalign are three-fold: Invisalign is discreet, comfortable, and convenient. The clear, thin plastic used to make your aligners means no one will know you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment and also makes them more comfortable to wear than traditional braces. Because you can remove your aligners whenever you need to, you can continue to eat your favorite foods and brush and floss like you normally would.

Is Invisalign a Permanent Fix?

Like any orthodontic treatment, Invisalign is a permanent solution only if you take the necessary steps to maintain your results. This means you’ll need to wear a retainer as directed while your teeth settle into their new positions. We’ll provide you with a set of Vivera retainers from Invisalign. These retainers look much like your Invisalign aligners, but the plastic is a bit thicker because they’re meant to last longer.

Learn More About Invisalign

Is Invisalign right for you? Schedule a consultation with one of our doctors to find out! Contact us today at 240-813-9111 to make an appointment.