Does Invisalign Work? Pros, Cons, Effectiveness (2022)

Does Invisalign Work? Pros, Cons, Effectiveness (1)Share on Pinterest

If you had a choice, would you wear braces on your teeth or clear aligners?

If your answer is clear aligners, you’re not alone. Clear aligners have grown in popularity over the past couple of decades as an option for straightening or realigning your teeth.

Perhaps the oldest and best known clear aligner product is Invisalign, which was introduced to the market in 1998 by Align Technology. Since then, more clear aligners from other brands have come into the market, such as Spark, ClearCorrect, and uLab.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what Invisalign can do, how effective it is, and the pros and cons of this product.

Invisalign is the brand name of a type of thin clear aligner used in orthodontic treatment. The aligner is made from a flexible thermoplastic material named SmartTrack.

As the name suggests, this product is designed to make orthodontic treatment “less conspicuous,” as the American Association of Orthodontists puts it.

Although Invisalign aligners may not be completely invisible, these clear coverings fit tightly over your teeth and are much less noticeable than the brackets and wires of traditional braces.

Invisalign can be used for a variety of purposes, including crowding and spacing issues, as well as some mild and moderate bite issues.

(Video) Invisalign vs Braces: Tips from a Board Certified Orthodontist

The Invisalign website claims that it can be used to treat the following dental issues:

  • some types of overbite, underbite, and crossbite issues
  • open bite
  • gap teeth
  • crowded teeth

While still limited, research suggests that Invisalign may be more effective for some issues than others.

For example, a 2017 study suggests clear aligners can be useful to align a person’s arches, but it may not be as helpful in addressing more severe bite problems.

The first step in the process involves a visit to an orthodontist, who will create a 3-D image of your mouth and jaw. They’ll use this image to put together a plan for moving your teeth into their proper place.

Your orthodontist will then use that plan to create a series of customized plastic aligners. These aligners will apply pressure to your teeth, gradually shifting them and moving them into the desired places.

Depending on your orthodontist’s instructions, you’ll switch out one set of aligners for a new set about once every week or two. Typically, you’ll need to wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day.

You may have friends who’ve had a good experience with Invisalign, but it’s important to go beyond the anecdotal evidence. At the moment, however, there’s not a lot of research that points to its effectiveness.

A 2015 review of 11 studies involving the use of Invisalign aligners notes that research on their effectiveness is limited.

Studies that have been done up until now tend to have small sample sizes, and many studies haven’t included a control group to use as a comparison.

(Video) Braces vs Invisalign: Cost, Tooth Pain, Speed, etc - The ULTIMATE Review 🔥

A 2016 study in the Journal of Orthodontics also warns of the lack of clinical research to bolster claims of effectiveness.

However, based on some available research, Invisalign does seem to be more effective than other types of clear aligners. And the newer versions that the manufacturer began producing in 2010 seem to have enhanced the effectiveness of Invisalign by improving the delivery of force upon the wearer’s teeth.

For Invisalign to work effectively, it’s important to wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day.

The only time you’re supposed to remove the aligners is when you’re:

  • eating or drinking
  • brushing or flossing your teeth
  • cleaning your aligners

You need to be careful when cleaning your aligners. If you use very hot water, it could warp the plastic. This can alter the fit, and affect your progress and the effectiveness of the aligners.

The complexity of your orthodontic issues may also affect how well Invisalign works for you. It may take longer for this treatment to work if you’re dealing with more complex spacing or bite issues.

Other variables that may be at work are your sex and age. A study of 30 volunteers found that tooth movement may be affected by the wearer’s age.

According to the study, the rate of movement of your teeth increases slightly from ages 35 to 50. This means Invisalign may be more effective for this age group.

The same study also found that tooth movement between the ages of 50 to 70 didn’t decline for women in the same way it did for men.

What are the pros and cons?

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To help you determine whether Invisalign is the right choice for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this treatment option.

Pros of Invisalign

  • The aesthetic factor. This is a very commonly cited reason for choosing Invisalign. These clear aligners are much less noticeable than the wires and brackets of braces.
  • You can remove them. You can physically remove the aligner from your mouth if you need to.
  • Ease of cleaning your teeth. By removing the aligner, you can easily brush and floss your teeth, without having to work around wires and brackets. A 2017 study also suggests this can improve your periodontal health by reducing the amount of bacteria lurking around your teeth and gums.
  • Fewer potential problems. Many people with traditional braces have stories about a bracket that fell off or a wire that broke, leading to an emergency visit to the orthodontist. You won’t have that potential problem with clear aligners.

Cons of Invisalign

  • Less effective for complex issues. Research, while limited, does seem to suggest that Invisalign is more effective for people whose teeth require only certain kinds of movement. Your doctor may suggest another treatment option for more complex issues. Additionally, if you have bridgework on some of your teeth, Invisalign might not be the right option for you.
  • Requires compliance. To get the maximum benefit from Invisalign, you must wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day. If you think you’ll be tempted to slip them out more often, it may not be the best choice for you.
  • Removal when eating or drinking. When you’re eating or drinking, you need to take the aligners out. If you don’t, food or drink can get into them. This causes bacteria to grow along your teeth or gumline, which could lead to cavities. Also, liquid can seep down into them and cause staining of the aligners and your teeth.
  • Food limitations. You may experience tooth soreness when the aligner is removed, which can limit your food choices. Hard foods, especially, should be avoided.

According to the Invisalign website, the cost of treatment with Invisalign is similar to the cost of traditional braces.

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According to the Consumer Guide for Dentistry, the cost will probably range between $3,000 and $5,000. The cost can fluctuate depending on how long you need treatment, the complexity of your tooth alignment issues, and where you live.

You may want to check with the administrator of your dental insurance plan if you have one. Some dental insurance plans do pay for some or all of the cost of Invisalign.

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you may also be able to use it to pay for some of the costs of Invisalign treatment.

If you don’t have insurance coverage, many dentists and orthodontists offer payment plans for the care they offer. Be sure to ask about this before you agree to the treatment.

If you’re considering Invisalign aligners, ask yourself these questions to help you determine whether this is the best choice for you:

  • Do I have a fairly straightforward crowding or bite issue with my teeth?
  • Do I feel self-conscious about wearing braces?
  • Will I wear the aligners for the appropriate number of hours every day?
  • Can I afford them?
  • Will I take care of them correctly?

If you have a teenager at home who would rather opt for Invisalign than regular braces, assess whether they’ll wear them and care for them appropriately.

If you know your child is prone to losing things, Invisalign — which can be removed and misplaced — might not be the best choice.

Invisalign can be used for a variety of purposes, including crowding and spacing issues, as well as some mild and moderate bite issues.

It may be a good option for you if you don’t have a complicated bite or crowding issue and you’d prefer a less visible treatment than braces.

(Video) Ortho Talk with Dr. Daher - Braces VS Invisalign

Talk with your orthodontist or dentist about your teeth, what type of orthodontic treatment you may need, and whether Invisalign is a good option for you. Then, consider all the pros and cons before making your decision.

FAQs

Is Invisalign actually effective? ›

Does Invisalign actually work? Yes. Recent research on clear aligners demonstrates that Invisalign can be as effective as traditional braces in correcting mild to moderate alignment issues.

What is the success rate of Invisalign? ›

Unfortunately, many adults do not realize the benefits and simplicity of the Invisalign® braces experience. With over a 96 percent satisfaction rate and an average of a one-year treatment period, it is hard to beat the odds of you loving your new smile after wearing Invisalign® braces for such a short time.

Is Invisalign satisfaction guaranteed? ›

The Invisalign Teen Guarantee gives parents the confidence to choose Invisalign Teen clear aligners for their teens knowing that if they are not satisfied within the first six months of treatment, a participating doctor will switch their teen into traditional wires and brackets at no additional cost.

Does Invisalign fix teeth permanently? ›

You can rest assured that Invisalign treatment is permanent and will give you straighter teeth for a lifetime if you follow the orthodontist's instructions.

Why arent my teeth straight after Invisalign? ›

It's normal for your teeth to slightly shift after having your Invisalign braces removed or once you stop wearing Invisalign. This is the result of everyday wear and tear on your teeth as you bite down, chew, swallow, and speak.

Do dentists recommend Invisalign? ›

Invisalign® is one of the most common treatments used to address teeth straightening problems. General dentists recommend Invisalign® quite frequently due to the many associated benefits and ease of the treatment process.

Can Invisalign damage teeth? ›

Can Invisalign Damage Teeth? Yes, Invisalign can damage your teeth – however, this is mostly if proper instructions have not been followed regarding your invisible braces. Invisalign is not painless, it's pretty common for your teeth to feel sore and uncomfortable – especially after a new, tightened set.

Can Invisalign push teeth back? ›

Invisalign can indeed push front teeth back so long as there is enough space for these teeth to move into. If there are gaps behind the protruding front teeth then these gaps will be taken up as the front teeth push back.

Do people lose weight with Invisalign? ›

In addition to a beautiful, healthy smile, Invisalign can encourage patients to practice healthy eating habits, drink water rather than soda, and lose weight. While wearing Invisalign aligners, many patients have reported that they have lost anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds.

Are there cases where Invisalign doesn't work? ›

Invisalign doesn't have the same force and capabilities to move teeth as braces. Therefore, complex orthodontic treatment or cases that require significant movement of teeth need braces, not Invisalign to achieve the desired outcome.

Does Invisalign move roots of teeth? ›

Our Answer: Invisalign aligners will move the roots of your teeth, although there are some limitations. The crowns, or visible parts, are connected to the roots as one solid piece, so any time you move a tooth at all, the root is moving right along with it. So, this does create a mild to moderate movement of the root.

What if you're not happy with Invisalign results? ›

Be polite but straightforward in requesting a refund. If you are turned down, ask your new dentist or orthodontist to call and request a refund for you. If your Invisalign provider recognizes that another dentist is calling for you, it may help him see that your refund request is worthy of consideration.

What happens if Invisalign doesnt work? ›

It's possible that your treatment plan was inaccurate, or that your teeth simply have not moved as quickly as your dentist thought they would, and you may need a treatment revision. If your treatment falls behind because you're not wearing your aligners properly, a treatment revision also may be necessary.

Do you have to wear a retainer forever after Invisalign? ›

Around the 12-month mark, you can transition to wearing your retainers three to five nights per week. So, while you should be wearing them consistently throughout your lifetime, you won't need to wear them “forever.”

Who is not suitable for Invisalign? ›

Invisalign may not be suitable for you in the following situations: If you still have baby teeth present. if you have had certain teeth extracted. if you have missing teeth, we may not be able to close them.

Do teeth relapse after Invisalign? ›

An orthodontic relapse can occur if teeth move positions after the tooth straightening treatment (braces). Our orthodontists have seen many cases where this has happened and now provide treatments to prevent and treat this problem.

How long does it take for teeth to settle after Invisalign? ›

Once your teeth are straight, it takes time for the bone and tissues to settle down and to stabilize. It can take a year or even longer for these tissues to become fully stable and if your teeth were significantly repositioned, the time required might be even longer.

Why do my teeth look more crooked with Invisalign? ›

During the process of alignment, especially during the first 6 months, you may notice that things look worse before they look better. Here's why: Although your teeth may be crooked or spaced out when you start treatment, they have usually drifted into a position where they are stable and functional.

Do dentists reshape teeth after Invisalign? ›

After Invisalign treatment, an orthodontist can complete minor reshaping, but if it's more involved, find an advanced cosmetic dentist. It's unlikely that your general dentist has enough experience to reshape your teeth precisely. At times, cosmetic dentists use composite bonding to finish the case.

How can I tell if Invisalign is working? ›

If you have crowded teeth, your Invisalign tray has created a gap between your crowded teeth to push them into a better position. If your Invisalign tray starts to feel loose after the 2nd or 3rd week of the treatment, your aligners have moved your teeth, and it's working.

Does your face change with Invisalign? ›

Any type of treatment, including Invisalign and braces, has the potential to create permanent changes in your dental and facial anatomy. That's why it's so important to visit a certified specialist in orthodontics for treatment, even if your smile concerns are mild.

Can you drink through a straw with Invisalign? ›

Again, drinking beverages with a straw is recommended when you're undergoing Invisalign treatment. A straw allows the liquid less contact with your teeth and less contact with your Invisalign if they're still in. If you simply must drink a sugary or alcoholic drink with Invisalign, use a straw.

Can Invisalign make gum recession worse? ›

Fortunately, Invisalign will not lead to gum disease in healthy patients. What some Invisalign patients report is known as gum recession. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue is recessed and lowers its position on the tooth, creating exposure in the roots of the teeth.

What they dont tell you about Invisalign? ›

One of the worst mistakes any Invisalign wearer can make is to drink anything other than water whilst wearing their Invisalign. The sugary drinks have the ability to cause decay to your teeth during this treatment as well as possibly staining your aligners.

What can go wrong with Invisalign? ›

If not planned properly, Invisalign will not move the teeth properly. Patients can sometimes end up with undesired results such as protrusive teeth, asymmetric teeth or teeth that haven't fully straightened. There's also the risk for gum disease, jaw problems, and unstable results.

Should I get Invisalign at 50? ›

There is no upward age limit for Invisalign. Many of the people who seek the cosmetic and oral health benefits of Invisalign are adults who are well into their 40s, 50s, and older. We love seeing our older patients enjoy the benefits of a beautiful smile. Having straight teeth is a benefit at any age.

Can Invisalign ruin enamel? ›

Because teeth are covered by plastic aligners nearly 24-hours a day, there is a lack of oxygenation and saliva to support tooth structure. If, then, acidic ingredients sit on teeth that are covered, there is a higher risk that enamel will weaken over time.

What happens after last tray of Invisalign? ›

Your scan will be sent to Invisalign, and they will make them and ship them back to us. You'll wear your last clear aligner tray until your retainer arrives. The retainer will be made of a clear plastic that is stronger and more durable than your Invisalign trays. It should last for several months or even years.

Can Invisalign cause cavities? ›

In short, no – Invisalign* does not cause cavities or dental decay. However, it is important for Invisalign* patients to understand that the clear aligner trays do prevent saliva movement on the teeth, and hence the breakdown of any particles that remain trapped under the trays.

Can you brush your Invisalign with toothpaste? ›

Clean your aligner with a toothpaste and toothbrush, but choose a gentle formula and brush. Use a very soft-bristled toothbrush, an all-purpose toothpaste (one formulated for children works well) and always brush the aligner lightly and gently. Clean your aligner with a denture cleaner tablet.

Can I drink alcohol with Invisalign? ›

Drinking alcohol with Invisalign or having the occasional glass of soda is fine but only if you've taken your aligners out and rinse your mouth out after. Drinking with Invisalign aligners in your mouth will cause the plastic to stain if you're having things like coffee, red wine or tea.

Can Invisalign cause gaps in teeth? ›

Answer: Invisalign can open spaces - but don't worry!

Dear Pati, With Invisalign, you can sometimes get spaces that open up between the teeth. This happens most often when we need to 'walk' the teeth past each other. Most often, the teeth are then brought back together and spaces closed.

How common is root damage with Invisalign? ›

Orthodontic treatment with Invisalign® aligners could lead to RR. However, its incidence resulted to be very similar to that described for orthodontic light forces, with an average percentage of RR < 10% of the original root length.

How soon do you see Invisalign results? ›

Typically, you can expect to start to see an improvement within three months. If more than five months have gone by and you're still not seeing a difference, then you'll want to schedule a follow-up appointment with your treatment provider .

Does Invisalign push or pull? ›

Invisalign moves teeth in the same way that braces do: by putting pressure on the teeth. It differs from traditional braces by using a pushing rather than a pulling motion. The end result is the same.

Do dentists recommend Invisalign? ›

Invisalign® is one of the most common treatments used to address teeth straightening problems. General dentists recommend Invisalign® quite frequently due to the many associated benefits and ease of the treatment process.

Do people lose weight with Invisalign? ›

In addition to a beautiful, healthy smile, Invisalign can encourage patients to practice healthy eating habits, drink water rather than soda, and lose weight. While wearing Invisalign aligners, many patients have reported that they have lost anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds.

How long does it take for Invisalign to work? ›

Depending on the complexity of your case, you could complete your treatment in as little as 6 months. But you'll start seeing results in a matter of weeks.

Do Invisalign work faster than braces? ›

Invisalign can straighten your teeth quicker than traditional braces. Most patients are finished with treatment in just one to two years while traditional braces can take up to three years to yield significant results.

Do your teeth move back after Invisalign? ›

Once your braces are removed or you stop wearing alignment trays such as Invisalign, your teeth may start to shift back to their old positions. This is natural. The movement may be more pronounced in some people, while others may experience very little movement.

Does your face change with Invisalign? ›

Any type of treatment, including Invisalign and braces, has the potential to create permanent changes in your dental and facial anatomy. That's why it's so important to visit a certified specialist in orthodontics for treatment, even if your smile concerns are mild.

Can you drink through a straw with Invisalign? ›

Again, drinking beverages with a straw is recommended when you're undergoing Invisalign treatment. A straw allows the liquid less contact with your teeth and less contact with your Invisalign if they're still in. If you simply must drink a sugary or alcoholic drink with Invisalign, use a straw.

Can you brush your Invisalign with toothpaste? ›

Clean your aligner with a toothpaste and toothbrush, but choose a gentle formula and brush. Use a very soft-bristled toothbrush, an all-purpose toothpaste (one formulated for children works well) and always brush the aligner lightly and gently. Clean your aligner with a denture cleaner tablet.

Can Invisalign mess up your bite? ›

Answer: Invisalign and your bite

As invisalign moves your teeth, your bite will tend to feel "off" and weird as your teeth are moving and your bite is changing. Once you have finished invisalign, and are wearing retainers are night, your teeth will settle into their new position and new bite.

How fast do teeth move after Invisalign? ›

Most people can start seeing transformations in as little as six weeks while others can take longer. The overall Invisalign treatment can take about twelve months on average for all your teeth to be in the right position.

How long does it take for teeth to settle after Invisalign? ›

Once your teeth are straight, it takes time for the bone and tissues to settle down and to stabilize. It can take a year or even longer for these tissues to become fully stable and if your teeth were significantly repositioned, the time required might be even longer.

Do you have to wear a retainer forever after Invisalign? ›

Around the 12-month mark, you can transition to wearing your retainers three to five nights per week. So, while you should be wearing them consistently throughout your lifetime, you won't need to wear them “forever.”

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