Invisalign FAQ

What is Invisalign®?

The Invisalign® system is the virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth and achieve the smile of your dreams. Using advanced 3-D computer-imaging technology, Invisalign depicts your complete treatment plan, from the initial position of your teeth to the final desired position. Then a series of clear aligners are custom-made for your teeth – and your teeth only – to move them little by little. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks before being replaced by the next in the series, until the final position of your teeth is achieved. Your Invisalign treatment time will be determined by your doctor, based on your specific needs.

What are the primary benefits of Invisalign?

Invisalign aligners are practically clear. Most people will not notice that you’re wearing these virtually invisible “braces,” making Invisalign a seamless fit with your lifestyle and day-to-day interactions with others.

Invisalign is removable. Unlike braces, you have the flexibility to eat and drink what you want during treatment by simply removing the aligners. And you can also remove the aligners to brush and floss as you normally would, so you can maintain fresh breath and good oral hygiene.

Unlike braces, Invisalign involves no metal brackets or wires that could cause irritation to your mouth. Plus since your office visits during treatment don’t involve metal or wire adjustments, you’ll likely spend less time at orthodontic appointments.

And finally, Invisalign allows you to view your virtual results and treatment plan before you start so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete.

What if a dentist or other orthodontist said that Invisalign is not right for me?

Invisalign is a much newer technology than braces.  Many orthodontists (and dentists) still have very limited experience with Invisalign treatment.  When they say “invisalign is not right for you,” it is possible they do not have enough experience to treat you with Invisalign.  Dr. Swiatek has successfully treated many patients with Invisalign who were told by someone else that Invisalign would not work for them.  Dr. Swiatek is a Premier Preferred Provider of Invisalign treatment and has treated hundreds of patients with tremendous success!

How many patients are being treated with Invisalign?

More than 3,000,000 patients worldwide have been treated with Invisalign. The number of Invisalign smiles grows daily.

How will Invisalign effectively move my teeth?

Like brackets and arch wires do with braces, Invisalign aligners move teeth through the appropriate placement of controlled force on your teeth. The main difference is that Invisalign not only controls forces, but also the timing of the force application. During each stage, only certain teeth are allowed to move. These movements are determined by your doctor as he or she maps out your unique Invisalign treatment plan.

What are aligners made of, and what do they look like?

The virtually invisible aligners, which are made of a thermoplastic material uniquely developed for Invisalign treatment, look similar to tooth-whitening trays and clear orthodontic retainers. Invisalign aligners are custom-made for you and only you, to move your teeth in the sequence determined by your doctor.

Do Invisalign aligners contain Bisphenol-A (BPA)?

No. Invisalign aligners and Vivera Retainers (made by the Invisalign company) do not contain Bisphenol-A or phthalate plasticizers. These aligners and retainers are made with USP Class VI medical grade, high molecular weight, polyurethane resins. Tests have been conducted to determine the biocompatibility of these materials, and show that they are biocompatible and pass all applicable regulatory requirements and thresholds for human wear in the mouth. Of course, as with any medical device, you should consult with your health professional about your aligner or retainer treatment and any applicable risks of use.

Since having my braces removed, my teeth have shifted. Can Invisalign correct this?

YES! A number of Invisalign patients have undergone treatment involving braces at some point in their past, often during their youth. Invisalign can usually correct the shifting that occurs after braces, and can do so without having to go through the trauma and social awkwardness of wearing metal braces again.

I am currently wearing braces. Can I make the switch to Invisalign?

Some patients are treated with a combination of braces and Invisalign. Consult Dr. Swiatek and his staff to determine the best treatment for you.

Will wearing Invisalign aligners affect my speech?

Similar to other orthodontic treatments, Invisalign aligners may temporarily affect the speech of some people, and you may have a slight lisp for a day or two. However, as your tongue gets used to having aligners in your mouth, any lisp caused by the aligners should disappear.

Are there restrictions on what I can eat while in treatment?

No. Thanks to the removable nature of the aligners, you can eat and drink whatever you want while in treatment. In fact, you’re required to remove your aligners to eat and drink. So, unlike undergoing traditional treatment using wires and brackets, there is no need to restrict your consumption of any of your favorite foods and snacks. Also, it is important that you brush your teeth after each meal and prior to re-inserting your aligners to maintain fresh breath and proper hygiene.

Will smoking stain the aligners?

We discourage smoking while wearing aligners because it is possible for the aligners to become discolored.

Can I chew gum while wearing aligners?

No, gum will stick to the aligners. We recommend removing your aligners for all meals and snacks.  Since Invisalign aligners need to be on your teeth all day every day, except when eating or cleaning your teeth, the aligners should not be removed for gum-chewing.

Will Invisalign treatment be painful?

Invisalign patients generally have less discomfort than patients in braces.  Some people will experience temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of Invisalign treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure. It is also a sign that the aligners are working, as they move your teeth to their final destination.

What’s the best way to clean my aligners?

We recommend using a toothbrush to brush your aligners in lukewarm water at least twice each day.  Mouthwashes and denture cleaners like Efferdent are not recommended, as they might damage or discolor the aligners.  Also, toothpaste is not recommended because it sometimes creates micro-abrasions in the plastic that retain bacteria.

How often must I wear my aligners?

We find aligners are most effective if worn 22 hours per day, 7 days a week.  This is very important to get the desired results!  Only remove the aligners for eating, brushing, and flossing.

How often must I see the Invisalign doctor?

Your doctor will schedule regular appointments – usually about once every 6 to10 weeks. The goal of these visits are to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned.  You should call the office if you have any questions or concerns between visits.

How old is the company?

Align Technology, Inc., the company that manufactures Invisalign, was founded in 1997.  Invisalign aligners have been available in the Philadelphia area since the year 2000.

Has the FDA cleared Invisalign?

Invisalign aligners are classified as Class II medical devices by the FDA, and Align Technology, Inc. has held the necessary 510K clearance from the FDA since 1998 to be able to sell and market the Invisalign system.

How long will treatment take?

The length of treatment depends on the specifics of your case.  Dr. Swiatek will give you an estimate of treatment time at your initial consultation appointment. Some patients can get the smile of their dreams in as little as 6 months.

What happens after treatment to prevent my teeth from moving again?

Wearing retainers is essential for all orthodontic patients; otherwise, the teeth will shift.  Most Invisalign patients are given clear plastic retainers similar to their aligners. Each patient is unique; some need a different kind of retainer. The doctor will discuss the specifics of your case with you.

How much does Invisalign cost?

We know cost is a big question for anyone considering orthodontic treatment. It really depends on the kind of treatment you need, how extensive the issues are that you want corrected, how long your treatment plan will last, and other factors. The truth is, you will need to see Dr. Swiatek for a free initial exam before his staff can discuss the cost of your specific treatment, and payment options.  We go out of our way to find a payment plan that works with each family’s budget.  We don’t want money to keep you from receiving the treatment you need, and the smile of your dreams.

Will my insurance cover Invisalign?

In most cases, if a patient has orthodontic coverage, Invisalign should be covered to the same extent as conventional braces.  Dr. Swiatek’s staff are experts at working with insurance companies to determine how much of your treatment is covered.  They will assist you throughout the process to make it as easy as possible for you to get the care you need, with minimal out-of-pocket expense.