Americans of all ages are spending more
time and money improving their smiles through cosmetic
dental work or orthodontics. Why? A recent survey of
the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that
92 percent of adults surveyed cited an attractive smile
as a social asset – but only 50 percent of those
adults were satisfied with their own smile. Until
recent years, the number of adults willing to undergo
treatment was low. Few adults want to endure the “metal
mouth” look. Some experts attribute our recent
attention to orthodontics to more aesthetic, less noticeable
treatment options made possible by cutting-edge technology.
One of the most popular, and most high-tech,
of these innovations is Invisalign.
Invisalign is a method of straightening teeth
using a series of clear, almost invisible, removable
Aligners. Invisalign combines the doctor’s clinical
treatment plan with proprietary 3-D, computer-generated
software to make these sets of unique, custom-made Aligners
that move teeth in very precise increments.
With recent advances in technology, the number of low-profile,
comfortable, and convenient treatment solutions is increasing.
Once in the dentist or orthodontist’s chair, many
adults find a solution that fits their treatment needs
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Invisalign?
lnvisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that allows
doctors to straighten teeth using a series of clear,
removable, nearly invisible, plastic appliances called
Q. How does Invisalign work?
The patient meets with an Invisalign-certified dentist
or orthodontist who takes orthodontic records of the
patient’s teeth, including impressions, and fills
out an lnvisalign treatment planning or “prescription”
form and sends all the material to Align Technology.
At Align, a mold is poured of the patient’s teeth
and digitized. Align then uses its advanced, 3-D imaging
software to generate a graphical representation of the
doctor’s treatment plan — almost like an
animated “movie” of the way the patient’s
teeth will move from the current position to the final
The doctor reviews and approves the 3-D movie on a
secure portion of Align’s website. From these
images, Align Technology produces a series of clear,
plastic Aligners that correspond to the stages of tooth
movement in the 3-D movie.
The patient wears each stage of Aligners for approximately
two weeks before switching to the next set in the series.
Week by week, the patient’s teeth are straightened
millimeter by millimeter.
Q. Is this a new way to straighten
Doctors have successfully used removable appliances
for years for very limited treatment. With the application
of 3-D computer technology and mass-customization, lnvisalign
can be used to treat almost anyone who wants straighter
Q. What are the primary benefits
Nearly invisible: You can straighten your teeth without
Removable: You can eat and drink what you want.
Better oral hygiene: You can brush and floss normally
to maintain healthy gums and
Comfortable: There are no wires, metal or brackets
to cause mouth abrasion.
Q. Who can benefit from
Experienced doctors can use lnvisalign to treat the
vast majority of people who want straighter
teeth. The only criterion is that the patient must have
their second molars. According to the
Journal of the American Dental Association, two-thirds
to three-fourths of American adults (between 136 and
154 million) have some sort of malocclusion (crooked
teeth) and could benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Q. How long does treatment
Like traditional braces, the length of treatment depends
on the complexity of the case.
Treatment time is about the same as conventional braces,
between 6 and 18 months.
Q. Can any doctor treat patients
Doctors must attend and complete an Invisalign certification
seminar to treat patients with Invisalign. To date,
more than 70 percent of orthodontists in North American
have become lnvisalign-certified, and Align is currently
certifying general practitioner dentists. Align also
provides doctors with many opportunities for continuing
education and advanced lnvisalign training.
Q. How much does lnvisalign
lnvisalign is priced by the treating doctor, not by
Align. Several factors impact cost of treatment, such
as the complexity of the case, market price within the patient’s
geographic area, etc. An Align survey of certified doctors
across the country indicates that average fees for lnvisalign
range from $3500 — $5500.
Q. Does insurance cover
Typically, an insurance policy that covers traditional
braces also covers lnvisalign. In addition, many doctors offer in-office financing.
Financing is available through Capital One Health Care Finance.
Q. How many people are
in treatment with the lnvisalign System?
More than 80,000 patients have entered treatment with
Q. Is Invisalign FDA approved?
lnvisalign has FDA clearance as a Class I device.