How does Invisalign work ?

Invisalign is increasing in popularity each day as an effective alternative to braces for straightening teeth. However, they are different than traditional braces. Some people may be confused on how they work. Here’s an overview of the process:


Invisalign works great in most cases. But it is necessary to start the Invisalign treatment with an exam. The exam will determine if you are a good candidate for the treatment. It’s important to keep in mind that the Invisalign treatement works for teens and adults, but not with baby teeth.


A record is created after the exam. It includes photographs of your teeth and face, dental impressions of your teeth, and x-rays. These are then sent to Invisalign with detailed instructions on how the teeth should be moved.


Next, a 3D model is created from your impressions and a technician will model how your teeth will move to their final position.

Once satisfied with the 3D model, invisalign mails a series of aligners. This usually takes about four weeks from the time the impressions are made. After that you are ready to have your teeth straightened.


The Invisalign trays have to be work for two weeks at a time. The teeth will usually move about 1/10mm per tray, so that your teeth are slightly straighter with every tray you wear. During these two weeks, pressure is created by the trays to make you teeth fit into position.


In some cases, additional variations should be considered. With people who have crowded front teeth, it is sometimes necessary to make some space where teeth would fit. There are several ways to do this. In most cases, the trays are made to do some expansion of the back teeth. This makes for a broader smile and solves the issues of crowded teeth.


Another way to achieve more space is to bring the front teeth slightly forward. There’s a third way which consists of making some teeth slightly skinnier. It’s a process of sanding and filling in between some teeth to create more space. The process is not noticeable and you will not get any sensitivity from it.


Something called “attachments” is sometimes used. They are small bumps of plastic material attached to the teeth, and have the same color. They give a griping point for the aligners to attach to the teeth. These “attachments” help the aligner stick on better and provide more pressure to move the teeth in the given direction. However, not everyone needs them.



It is preferable to wear the aligners close to full time. But a major advantage of the Invisalign system is that you can remove them while eating, brushing and flossing. Typically it is better to wear the aligners for 20 hours a day. This will hep your teeth move faster to their final position on that given tray.


Is is possible to be finished with the last tray but still need your teeth to move slightly out of a position. When this is the case, new set of impressions are made and new trays get sent to continue the process. This process involves no additional fees and most people have their teeth in the desired position using this second set of trays.