woman in dental chair, holding aligner

What Exactly is Invisalign, and How Does it Work?


You may have heard of Invisalign. It straightens teeth and corrects bite issues like braces, but in a less visible way. Advertised as the clear alternative to braces, Invisalign is ideal for people who want to correct their teeth without the look of metal braces.

How Invisalign Works

The process begins with digital images of the teeth. Invisalign software uses these digital images to create a 3D model of your teeth. The computer can show you how your teeth will move as you make progress and what your final result will look like.

A series of clear plastic aligners are created to gradually move your teeth into the desired positions. These aligners fit over your teeth and are barely noticeable. You will be instructed to wear each aligner for about 2 weeks, depending on how your teeth respond. Once your teeth are in the correct position for one aligner, you switch to the next for further movement. Ideally, once you have completed the series of aligners, you will have achieved the desired results.

Consultations with the Dentist

You will need to schedule consultations with your dentist along the way to monitor your progress, about every 4 to 6 weeks. These appointments will help to determine if Invisalign is working effectively and how long you should wear each aligner.

One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign is that you don’t need to see a specialist, such as an orthodontist. When your regular dentist offers Invisalign, you can correct your orthodontic issues at the same location where you get your teeth cleaned.

Dental Hygiene is Easier with Invisalign

With Invisalign you can simply remove your aligners when you brush and floss your teeth. You don’t have to take any special steps to care for your teeth during treatment. You’ll need to clean your aligners daily, which usually involves brushing them with your toothbrush like you do your teeth. Occasionally you may want to soak them in denture cleaner to remove bacteria that settles into small spaces in the plastic.

Invisalign is Gentle on Teeth

The clear, flexible plastic of Invisalign aligners are less damaging to your teeth than metal brackets and bands of traditional braces. It won’t scrape the enamel when being placed or removed and doesn’t cause any staining.

Removable Aligners Are Convenient

The fact that Invisalign aligners are removable is another major benefit. You can take them out to eat, meaning you don’t have to restrict your diet in any way during treatment. You can also remove them to play a musical instrument or participate in a sport. However, it is important to wear them as much as possible, up to 22 hours a day, in order to achieve results.

Invisalign Can Correct Most Orthodontic Issues As Well As Braces

Many patients and orthodontists have been skeptical about the effectiveness of Invisalign. The treatment works for most patients, but there are some complex orthodontic issues that may require braces. Your dentist can evaluate your teeth and bite to determine if you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign.

The Cost of Invisalign is Comparable to Braces

Another concern people have about Invisalign is the cost. In the past Invisalign was more expensive than traditional braces. However, now the cost is comparable, taking that element out of the equation when it comes to deciding what treatment option to choose. If your dental insurance includes coverage for braces, Invisalign will also qualify.

Emerson Dental Offers Invisalign

If you’re considering Invisalign for yourself or your child/teen, Emerson Dental offers this treatment in our office. There’s no need to see an orthodontist if you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign. You can transform your smile with clear aligners that no one will notice but you.

Call  978-399-0017 today to schedule a consultation at our Westford office or 781-394-9213 for our Bedford office. You can also request an appointment. We look forward to helping you straighten your teeth in a less noticeable way.