Your first step is to attend a consultation at your dentist or orthodontist’s office. During this appointment, you can discuss your needs and goals with your doctor. They will also perform a comprehensive evaluation of your bite and oral health to determine whether Invisalign is the right treatment for you.
Designing Your Custom Plan
Your doctor can take a series of scans or x-rays to examine the underlying structure of your teeth. They may use an iTero® digital scanner or another system to create a digital 3-D image of your smile. In some cases, they may take physical impressions instead.
Using this information, your doctor can design a precise treatment plan and map out the expected movements of your teeth. At this point, they may also provide you with an estimate of how long your treatment will take. If your doctor has a digital scanner, they may be able to show you a preview of your expected results. Once you and your doctor are satisfied with the plan, your doctor can send the impressions to a laboratory where your aligner trays will be fabricated.
Receiving Your Aligners
Generally, aligners can be manufactured in a few weeks. Once your aligners are ready, you will visit your doctor’s office to ensure they fit correctly. Your doctor can also provide you with specific instructions regarding how to wear and care for your aligners.
The Invisalign Process
During treatment, you will wear your Invisalign aligners 20 to 22 hours each day, removing them only to eat, brush your teeth, or floss. Wearing your aligners for the proper amount of time will keep you on track for your expected end-date. Every one to two weeks, you should replace your aligners with the next set in the series. Each new aligner is slightly different than the previous one and applies gentle pressure to guide your teeth into place.
Since Invisalign treatment is tailored to the needs of each patient, your timeline may differ from others. However, most Invisalign treatment plans follow a similar format.
The number of aligners needed varies from patient to patient. However, most patients are able to achieve their desired results in 12 to 18 months. Your doctor will likely recommend you schedule an Invisalign check-up every six weeks. During each appointment, your doctor can assess your progress and provide you with the next set of aligners.
Maintaining Your Results
The last stage of treatment with Invisalign is maintenance. Once your teeth reach their optimal location, you will need a retainer or other device to ensure your teeth do not shift out of place. Some patients are able to wear their last aligners as a retainer. Others receive a Vivera® or other type of custom-made retainer to keep their teeth in place.
A Custom Timeline
Since Invisalign treatment is tailored to the needs of each patient, your timeline may differ from others. However, most Invisalign treatment plans follow a similar format. If your case of misalignment is more complex, your treatment may extend longer than 12 months. Teenagers in particular have different timelines than adults.