The first set of complete invisible aligners were birthed by two Stanford University students all the way back in 1997. Zia Chisti and Kelsey Worth presented Invisalign to the world.
Invisalign was officially launched in 1999. Align Technology secured patents and planted their proverbial feet firmly in the market’s ground as the only invisible aligners available.
Over twenty years later and Invisalign is still going strong. They are certainly the most well-known of all the invisible aligner choices.
So, just exactly what are you getting when you sign up for Invisalign? Let’s find out.
Invisalign gained popularity at the start because nobody else could compare. There was no other competition. Their aligners are faster and much less conspicuous than traditional brackets and wires.
One of the biggest things you should know from the start is that Invisalign has one major difference—the cost. You can expect to pay about $5,000.
Yep. Choosing Invisalign will cost you about twice the amount of the other aligners.
That begs the question: Is Invisalign worth the higher price tag? Keep reading to find out.
What is the Invisalign Process?
First, head on over to Invisalign.com, go to the top right, enter your zip code in the box to find a doctor, and find out if there are any Invisalign doctors in your area. If there are any doctors available in your area, then you can take their Smile Assessment.
If the Smile Assessment shows that you are a candidate for their aligners, you can go ahead and make an appointment with a doctor.
When you visit the doctor, your mouth will be introduced to the iTero Element scanner. Their special scanner allows the doctor to take a quick, pinpointed 3D digital scan of all of your teeth.
The doctor will in turn use the scan to map out a customized plan tailored to your specific treatment needs. Your dentist will also create a set of impressions of your current teeth.
Last, but not least, the impressions and scans will be sent away to an Invisalign lab.
When the Invisalign lab receives your impressions and scans, they will collaborate with your dentist to make your custom-fitted aligners and develop a treatment plan.
After a treatment program is designed, Invisalign puts your brand new aligners in the mail and ships them to your dentist. You can schedule an appointment now that the aligners have arrived at the office.
So, head into the office and check out your new clear aligners. Your dentist will have you try them on for size. The dentist will take a gander at your aligners and check to see how well they fit. (Hopefully, they are a perfect fit!)
During your visit, the dentist will give you all of the pertinent instructions for wear and answer any questions you may have.
Like the other daytime aligners, Invisalign must be worn for twenty-two hours each day and only removed when drinking, eating, and brushing your teeth. This routine will continue daily for twelve to eighteen months.
Throughout your treatment you will have regular checkups with the doctor every six to eight weeks. At each doctor’s visit, you may get your next set of aligners in the phase of your treatment.
Remember that if you have questions you can always give a jingle to the Smile Concierge team at Invisalign.
Your treatment is over when your smile has reached the desired appearance.
Don’t want to wait that long for results? Good news. If your mouth only needs minor adjustments, you can try Invisalign Express for $3,000 and see results in as little as six months.
Maintaining your smile is important. In order to do that, you will need to use retainers. Invisalign has their own version of a retainer called the Vivera retainer.
According to the Invisalign website, “Vivera retainers are custom made and 30% stronger than other retainers.”
This is a love-hate review. Let’s talk about the good and the bad.
What are the good points of Invisalign?
It is undeniable that Invisalign continues to be the leading brand on the market. People gravitate toward them because they treat more issues than the typical invisible aligners.
As far as reviews, dentists and patients both tend to say very positive things about their experience and the results from working with Invisalign.
Another positive attribute of Invisalign is their longevity has lent itself to availability. You can find their clear aligners across the nation.
Here’s the quick version of Invisalign’s good points:
- Invisalign can correct a more diverse selection of problems than the average DIY, at-home aligner.
- Invisalign Express is an option for faster treatment.
- Invisalign has the most longevity and experience, and it still ranks first in popularity.
- Invisalign allows you to choose the dentist who will supervise your treatment program. Most of the other invisible aligner brands do not allow the client to choose the doctor.
- Invisalign can be found throughout the United States.
This is the short version of Invisalign’s negative points:
- Duration. Invisalign’s treatment will last eighteen months on average. Other brands can offer clients a new smile in as few as three months.
- Retainers. The fee for the required retainers is not part of the initial charges for Invisalign. The Vivera retainers range in price from $100 to $1,000.
- Price. The Invisalign program is more expensive than all of the other invisible aligner brands. The cost for this program ranges from $3,000 all the way up to $8,000.
What do we think? Does the good offset the bad?
Well, the answer is a matter of opinion. If you happen to have a more severe case of crowding or spacing, Invisalign’s face to face treatment may be your best option.
If you just have slightly wonky teeth, there are absolutely more affordable options.
Does Invisalign really work?
Thousands of satisfied clients would tell you that they do work. Invisalign works to straighten several different problems with crooked teeth, overjet, and overbite. Just like other invisible aligners, severe issues are better suited for treatment by traditional braces.
Invisalign steps it up a notch with their Smartforce attachments. These little babies must be put on by your dentist and make it possible to use the tiny elastic bands that help encourage teeth to move. Regular at-home aligners cannot offer this feature.
Invisalign uses a hands-on approach
The regular monitoring by a dentist means that they are watching each client’s progress. So, if any issues arise during the process, the dentist can adjust the course of treatment to ensure the teeth stay on track to be straightened.
Is Invisalign affordable?
When it comes to pricing, Invisalign is more comparable to regular braces. Each orthodontic option comes with a higher price tag than other clear aligner brands.
Most insurance companies will consider invisible aligners to be a cosmetic treatment and will not cover much of the cost, if any.
The average price tag for Invisalign invisible aligners is around $5,000.
This is a case of getting what you pay for. Unlike other aligners, Invisalign comes with office visits. Their higher price can be attributed to these visits.
Keep in mind that this price is separate from the fee to buy retainers. You cannot avoid buying the retainers if you want your teeth to remain straightened.
Payment plans are an option for the Invisalign treatment program.
Invisalign will run your credit to ensure you will follow through and pay for the plan. If you qualify, you may sign up for a payment plan.
Every dentist will have their own version of the payment plans. You would need to do your own research on local dentists to see what plans they offer. Quit often, these payment plans are accompanied by a high interest rate.
Are Invisalign clear aligners convenient?
The bottom line is that Invisalign is not really any more convenient than traditional braces. You will still need to attend regular office visits to your dentist and it will take about the same amount of time for correction—eighteen to twenty-four months.
Your progress may not be noticeable for at least twelve months when you use Invisalign clear aligners.
However, it is much easier to get started when you choose to straighten your teeth with Invisalign. The dentist and technician will handle everything. You never have to worry about messing up your impressions or pictures.
What’s more, the dentist also handles mailing your impressions to the lab. Your dentist will deal directly with Invisalign for you if there are any issues with your aligners.
The DIY invisible aligner companies will not usually send your aligners to you for six to eight weeks. Invisalign ships your new aligners out within two to four weeks.
How do they look?
Well, the biggest difference is that they are cut to follow your gum line and given a matte finish to appear similar to your natural teeth. This fact makes them appealing to the customer. (Unless you are into the pageant teeth with a nice, shiny finish.)
Most of the other aligners are not cut to match your gum line, and they are shiny in appearance, which is not the way our teeth normally appear
What about customer service?
Naturally, having access to your dentist means that customer service is pretty great. Most questions can be asked and answered in the dentist office.
Let’s be real. The level of service you receive is highly dependent upon the dentist you choose to work with. So, if your dentist is already lacking in customer service skills, that’s what you can expect throughout your clear aligner program.
Should you run into any issues with your teeth during the process, you will have a dentist at your disposal to make changes to your treatment plan and correct the problem. This cannot happen with the at-home invisible aligner programs.
What if my teeth aren’t straight after I finish the program?
Good news! If you finish the entire treatment plan and are not satisfied with your results, just let your dentist know. He can get you set up for new aligners that will help straighten your teeth the way you want.
Invisalign has been around this long for a reason. They still get the job done.
Yes, their prices are higher. Yes, you must go to regular dental office visits.
However, Invisalign has undeniable positive points. They created clear aligners that work to effectively straighten teeth, and they have also created a system that allows for catching bumps in the road to a beautiful smile. That leads to happier, more satisfied clients.
Invisalign is a solid choice in the search for clear aligners.