Invisalign uses plastic trays to hold your teeth in their new position, which is one of the most popular ways to straighten teeth without using the traditional braces. If you’re considering Invisalign treatment, you may be wondering how long you’ll have to wear it as well as how much it will cost and how you can maintain good oral hygiene while wearing it.

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this popular approach to straightening teeth.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a series of clear aligners (molds) that have been specifically made for your teeth. The unique and adjustable aligners will gradually shift your teeth into place, and when worn properly, there are minimal noticeable side effects.

Treatment times can range from 12-24months based on your specific case, but results are often seen gradually after a few months of the treatment. The Invisalign treatment does allow patients to continue eating and drinking their favorite foods without feeling awkward or noticing a difference in comfort.

How many hours do you wear Invisalign every day?

There’s no hard and fast rule on how long you must wear your aligners. Most patients are recommended to wear them for about 20–22 hours a day, which means the aligners need to be worn while you sleep.

We suggest always wearing them other than eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, or rinsing your mouth. These activities will loosen or dislodge aligners if you don’t remove them beforehand.

How long will the whole procedure take?

Our orthodontist can advise you how long it’ll take for your particular scenario. As a general rule, treatment usually takes 12-24 months on average.

Your Invisalign trays will be placed once or twice a month for up to 18 months or longer. The amount of time depends on how quickly your teeth move and how often you wear your trays.

Regardless of when you finish treatment, though, stick with it until all of your aligners are done. It may take a few days after getting used to new trays before they become comfortable—that’s why we recommend wearing them as much as possible.

What Happens When You’re Done?

When you’re done with Invisalign treatment, your new teeth position should feel and look just natural. However, even if they don’t, it won’t affect how well you can chew or speak after the treatment.

The way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth will still be slightly different from when you first got braces. This is because of tissue changes in your jawbone that occur during tooth movement. But just because something doesn’t feel exactly right doesn’t mean it’s a problem. It takes time for some patients to accept their new smiles at first—even though they work perfectly fine—but we encourage everyone to wear their aligners as much as possible after they’re done with treatment, until they fully get used to their appearance.

Can you chew gum while wearing Invisalign?

No, chewing gum isn’t allowed with Invisalign. It can dislodge a retainer or ruin your aligners. Remember that your smile will look more natural and healthy when you can leave your aligners in for longer periods of time. If you must chew gum, take it out before proceeding with other tasks (like brushing).

Also, try switching from bubble gum to a low-calorie alternative like sugarless mints that don’t require chewing.

Are There Any Side Effects With Wearing Braces?

Because Invisalign trays are removable, food and drink can be consumed normally with them. However, hot or cold drinks may cause some discomfort because they must be sipped through a straw. Any sticky foods that could get stuck in between aligners should also be avoided during treatment. But other than these minor inconveniences, patients typically experience few side effects with using Invisalign to achieve a straighter smile.

How much does Invisalign treatment cost?

Invisalign is one of several ways to correct crooked or crowded teeth. You must be committed to wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours a day. If your treatment plan involves minor tooth movement you may need to wear them for 18 months or longer.

Invisalign costs between $6,500 and $11,000; however the cost varies based on each patient’s situation. The health fund dental coverage also varies for Invisalign treatment so factor that into your budget as well.

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