The 5 Steps of the Invisalign Journey


You probably have questions about what it takes to utilize Invisalign – Invisalign doesn’t have the same appearance as the traditional metal brackets that we associate with braces, so, do they work the same way? Are they inserted the same? How do I go about getting them, and how will I know without a doubt that they’re the right choice for me? Let’s talk about what the Invisalign process is like from start to finish, so you know what to expect from your orthodontist!

Find an Invisalign Provider, and Book a Consultation

Before your consultation, you may opt to use Invisalign’s Smile Assessment to get an idea of whether or not your dental concerns will be compatible with the benefits of Invisalign; following this, as you would for any procedure, you’ll want to conduct thorough research for the designated Invisalign providers in your area. This will aid you in finding an educated professional that knows their stuff!

When you book and attend your consultation, the orthodontist of your choosing will take the necessary steps to ensure you are a good candidate for Invisalign; the requirements to qualify for it are based on age, and the current state of your teeth.

Chances are that if you’re interested in Invisalign, you’re facing one of the following problems:

  • Gapped teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite

If you identify with any of these issues, it’s quite likely that Invisalign will act as an effective solution to your problems, and you’ll qualify for the convenient, clear trays!

Take Photographs, Impressions, and X-Rays

Photos of your face and teeth will be taken, along with dental impressions of your teeth, and a series of supplemental x-rays. Once these materials have been properly retrieved and recorded, they are sent to Invisalign for the actual creation of the trays.

On top of the photographs, impressions, and x-rays, your orthodontist will supply Invisalign with detailed instructions so they know exactly how to use the information, and how to structure your aligners to best suit your needs.

Invisalign then scans the impressions taken by your dentist, creating a 3D model of your teeth within their computer. The technicians will use this model as a precise reference for their design, and will move the problem teeth one by one in the program, using the designated order previously instructed. They will continue to move and shape the individual teeth on the model until the final positions have been achieved, and the patient’s desired result is clearly displayed for all parties to assess.

The model is then reviewed by your orthodontist, who will determine its’ accuracy. It’s not uncommon to see several rounds of reviewing and small changes before the model is a perfect replica of the result your dentist is after; they’ll go up to bat for you until it is!

Wait For Your Custom Trays, Wear as Instructed

Once the model has been perfected, the custom Invisalign trays will be created and mailed to you; it takes roughly three to four weeks for them to arrive, and when they do, you’ll visit your orthodontist to retrieve them and go over the requirements of wearing them.

To begin the straightening process, you will wear each tray for one to two weeks at a time, or as otherwise instructed by your orthodontist. The process is typically expected to take one year, with time added or subtracted from the process as it becomes relevant or necessary. Each tray is manufactured so every single one is slightly straighter than your teeth are at each stage, thus putting pressure on your teeth and allowing them to move and mold to the desired shape.

Upon the completion of the process, you’ll have utilized every tray, and will have a brand new smile to accent your efforts over the past year!

Go For Frequent Check-Ups to Monitor Your Progress

Naturally, your orthodontist won’t just set you up for this process and tell you to mark your calendar to visit him/her next year at the tail end of it; this treatment is costly for you, and you’ll want to ensure everything is going according to plan – so, no skipping out on your check-ups!

You’ll have these check-ups every six to eight weeks to keep your progress well-monitored, and to receive your newest set of aligners. The check-up itself is typically short and sweet, and simply there to make sure your treatment is on track, and to identify any current or potential issues, or necessary adjustments based on your progress. If all is well, you’ll have a quick check, collect your new trays, and will circle back in six to eight weeks!

Take Extra Treatment Steps, If Necessary

It is not uncommon to have a few teeth jutting out of place once you’ve used all of your trays, and your year is up. Don’t worry – they won’t leave you that way! If your smile still has a little way to go, new impressions will be taken, and sent once again to Invisalign. These extra pieces are often covered through the previously created treatment plan, and won’t require you to shell out any more money.

Most have to supplement their treatment with a retainer once the trays have run out, and the process is complete. This is merely a precautionary measure; if needed, you’ll wear the retainer while you sleep, or for a handful of hours out of the day to ensure that your new smile is well-maintained.

While every dental concern is unique to each person and not all treatments will be exact replicas of the one before it, this is the standard Invisalign process. Your orthodontist will let you know what timeline is best for your treatment, and will work with you to make sure you’re getting the most out of your aligners!