Invisalign has been on the market for over 20 years. In that time, a lot has changed, and a lot of assumptions have been made, as well. Some of these assumptions have never had any basis, and some were once true, but technology has long since surpassed those limitations.
Here are the most common myths about Invisalign that we hear and why they just aren’t true.
Myth 1: I’m too old to straighten my teeth.
For most of us, when we think of orthodontics, an image of an awkward kid roaming the halls of high school with a mouth full of metal comes to mind. Yet one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18. No matter your age, so long as the jawbone and gums are in good health, you are an eligible candidate for having your teeth straightened. In fact, more than just an aesthetic fix, many adults are increasingly opting for orthodontics to remedy painful malocclusion and difficult-to-clean, overcrowded teeth. Doing so can be a preventative step to avoid excessive wearing of the teeth, plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth loss from developing in later years.
Myth 2: Invisalign is only for adults.
On the flip side of believing they are too old to have their teeth straightened, others believe that Invisalign is only for orthodontic treatment of adults. True, the near invisibility of clear aligners is preferred by adults who feel self-conscious about the idea of a metallic smile and how others will perceive them. But that doesn’t mean sporting a painful mouth full of metal should be relegated to kids solely because they won’t be attending board meetings anytime soon.
Invisalign offers options designed for the unique orthodontic needs of teens and children. For example, Invisalign First has been created for children ages six to 10 for what is called Phase 1 treatment. They are designed for smaller mouths that may still have primary teeth but will benefit from the early treatment of developing malocclusion.
Your child’s aligners will have a blue compliance indicator discreetly located on the backmost teeth to ensure they are consistently wearing their aligners. The ease of aligner removal for eating and cleaning is far easier for children and teens alike to develop and maintain proper oral hygiene habits.
Myth 3: Invisalign is more expensive than braces and won’t be covered by insurance.
The cost of braces and clear aligners have reached a point where they are, in most instances, incredibly similar in pricing. The cost of treatment will depend on your treatment plan. The extent of malalignment, type of malocclusion, and length of treatment needed will be major factors of the final cost. Invisalign, like braces, is often covered by dental insurance plans as orthodontic treatment. Invisalign treatment is also eligible for FSA and HSA spending. For those that need additional financing, CareCredit covers the cost of orthodontic treatment and an accepted form of payment here at Dallas Cosmetic Dental.
Myth 4: Clear aligners only work for minor changes.
Many advances have been made throughout the 20 years Invisalign has been on the market. The parent company, Align, is constantly exploring the cutting edge technology to continuously advance what is possible with their clear aligners. SmartTrack is Invisalign’s patented material that has been engineered specifically for comfort and precise control of tooth movement. In 2009, they introduced their SmartForce attachments, small bumpers that are bonded to the surface of the teeth, to further increase control of individual tooth movement and better treat difficult cases.
Invisalign can even improve class II malocclusions, thanks to the addition of mandibular advancements. These wing-like attachments are added to the back of aligners to help gradually push the jaw forward into correct positioning.
Myth 5: Clear aligners take longer than braces.
Clear aligners take just as long as treatments done with braces. The length of treatment will greatly depend on the severity of misalignment and overcrowding, as well as how the patient’s body ultimately responds to the process.
One of the biggest factors that lead to treatment taking longer than originally estimated is a lack of patient compliance, in other words, when a patient doesn’t wear their aligners as recommended. Clear aligners are convenient in that you can take them out when brushing and eating, but for some, this convenience leads to a lax approach in sticking to the necessary 20- to 22-hour daily wear time needed for successful treatment.
Myth 6: I can wear the aligners when I want.
Too often, when stories of clear aligners “not working” circulate, it is because the storyteller wasn’t compliant with their treatment plan. Invisalign is a comfortable, convenient orthodontic treatment, but it isn’t a magic one. Not adhering to proper wear time will stall or even regress any progress made during treatment. This, in turn, leads to a longer and pricier treatment plan.
Clear aligners are conveniently removable for meal and cleaning times. They can even be removed for the odd special occasions that come up, such as a wedding. That said, they must otherwise be worn for 20 to 22 hours each day to stay on track with your treatment plan and attain your desired results.