Can Invisalign Straighten My Smile?

Teeth straightening with clear aligners

Invisalign is an orthodontic system used to straighten your teeth using a series of clear retainers, also known as aligners, rather than the traditional brackets, bands, and archwires that are traditionally used in orthodontics. There are several factors that one may want to consider before determining whether or not Invisalign treatment is right for them. These factors include:

A woman smiling on a sunny day
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The Cost

The cost of orthodontics is generally considered to be very expensive. Invisalign treatment may cost more than traditional braces because the patient may require longer treatment time, compared to the time it takes for traditional braces to move the teeth into their correct position.

Because Invisalign is not made directly in the dental office, losing or breaking an Invisalign retainer will add additional costs for the patient. When you lose a bracket, band, or break an archwire, there typically is not any additional charges necessary in order to repair the braces. 

Patients that require Invisalign treatment may be required to wear traditional clear braces for a short period before they are able to advance to the Invisalign retainers. There may also be extra charges on top of the cost of the Invisalign system if you are in fact required to undergo pre-treatment before you are able to begin wearing Invisalign braces. On average, Invisalign treatment may cost between $5000 and $8000.

Your Speech

The idea of the Invisalign system being discreet is very appealing to most people until they learn that they will be wearing clear retainers in place of traditional braces. For some patients, these retainers may cause a slight speech impediment, due to the extra bulk on the back of the teeth caused by the retainer.

There is also a chance that patients may experience bouts of excess saliva. This, again, is caused by the extra bulk on the back of the teeth from the Invisalign retainer. Most patients report that their speech returns to normal one to two weeks after wearing their Invisalign retainers full-time, however, when they are required to advance on to the next retainer, their speech may become impaired slightly again.

Remembering to Wear the Retainers

Wearing the Invisalign retainers as prescribed by your dentist is the most important aspect of the Invisalign system. Patients are required to remove the retainers when brushing, flossing, and before eating. For some patients, remembering to replace the retainers after eating or brushing becomes a problem for them. There are also many cases where patients end up losing their Invisalign retainers because they have taken them out to eat, and then forgot to replace them when they were finished with their food.

Grinding and Clenching of the Teeth

Patients that grind or clench their teeth together excessively may find that their Invisalign retainers take a real beating. Grinding on the Invisalign retainers may cause the biting surface of the retainers to wear thin, and eventually cause a hole in the clear plastic material. Patients that normally wear a bruxism splint at night will be unable to do so, because the Invisalign retainers need to be worn overnight, in order to keep a constant force on the teeth. In some cases, patients that are no longer able to wear their bruxism splint at night report their TMJ symptoms return or even worsen.

Coffee and Tea Drinkers

If you can't forego savoring your cup of coffee or tea throughout the day while you wear your Invisalign retainers, you may find that the retainers begin to pick up the stain from these beverages. Also, the temperature of the beverage may affect the shape of the retainers, causing them to warp and not fit correctly.

Only you and your dentist can determine together if you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign. If you have questions about Invisalign, speak to your dentist or orthodontist about the orthodontic treatment that is right for you.

3 Sources
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  1.  Invisalign. how much does Invisalign®treatment cost?

  2. Invisalign. Living with Invisalign® clear aligners.

  3. ClearSmile. Can I get invisalign if I grind my teeth?

By Shawn Watson
Shawn Watson is an orthodontic dental assistant and writer with over 10 years of experience working in the field of dentistry.