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October 23, 2022

How Invisalign Works, Step by Step

Young woman holding her Invisalign tray

Invisalign has surged in popularity in recent years due to the results it’s able to produce. Aligners are discreet and require no major change in diet. For these reasons, it’s a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want it to be obvious they’re having their teeth straightened. If you’re interested, here’s a guide that will let you know what to expect from every step of the Invisalign treatment process.

Step 1: Consultation

While the number of things Invisalign can treat has increased dramatically in recent years, it can’t solve every issue you might be having. The first step will be an initial examination where your dentist will determine if Invisalign can work for you. If so, you’ll move right along to the next step…

Step 2: 3D Modelling

If you’ve had braces once before, you probably had to bite into a gooey mold that took shape around your teeth. Thankfully, the process now is a little easier. Your dentist will take a digital model of your teeth with a handheld scanner and send it off to a facility that will fashion your trays for you.

Step 3: Get Your First Aligners

A few weeks after the scan, you’ll return to the dentist to receive your first set of aligners. While you’re at the office, your dentist may fit you for what are called “buttons.” These are small white protrusions that are added to some of your teeth, allowing your trays to apply even pressure to every part of your mouth.

You’ll wear your new aligners 20-22 hours a day and swap them out once a week.

Step 4: Check-ins

You’ll need to see your dentist every six weeks or so to get a new set of trays. This will also give them an opportunity to make any necessary adjustments.

Step 5: Refinement Trays

Once you’re finished with your initial trays, your dentist will evaluate if your teeth are where they need to be. If not, they’ll scan your mouth again and get your additional aligners made.

Step 6: Remove Buttons & Get Your Retainer

When your teeth are where they need to be, your dentist will remove the buttons and give you your specially fitted retainer. You may need to wear this all day at first, but eventually, you’ll be eased into an only-at-night schedule.

And that’s it! The entire process takes a bit less time than traditional braces—usually a little over a year. If you’ve had braces before but have had your teeth shift, or if you need your smile straightened for the first time, Invisalign can do wonders for you.

About the Author

Dr. James Olsen is an experienced dentist with over three decades of experience in his field. In that time, he has been able to turn his small practice into a state-of-the-art facility that can offer the highest quality of dental care possible. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, and since then reliably attains over 100 hours of continuing education each year. He does this to ensure that he’s always able to provide his patients with the most up-to-date analysis of their condition. If you’re curious about Invisalign, Dr. Olsen can be reached at his website or by phone at (734) 996-0200.

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