Wallet burn factor
$4,000 – $8,500
6 mths – 3 years
What is it?
No doubt you’ve probably heard about Invisalign or seen the ads on the back of buses. Invisalign is a set of clear plastic aligners that gradually straighten your teeth. The cool thing about Invisalign is that it is almost invisible (Invisalign – get it) and also removable.
How does it work?
Firstly the dentist or orthodontist needs to take an impression of your teeth as they are now. They can do this by either taking a ‘traditional’ impression, whereby the doctor mixes up some goo, puts it in a tray and then pops that in your mouth, the goo sets after about 5 minutes or so and then removes the tray and uses that to pour a stone model of your teeth. Alternatively, the dentist can take a digital impression of your teeth – which is pretty cool! They use a digital scanner that takes lots of pictures of your teeth and then creates a 3D model of them on special dental software. Either way, they have a starting point for your new straight teeth.
Using the software, they can move your teeth to the new ‘ideal’ position, and you can even see what your new smile will look like! From this, they send the planning off to Invisalign who manufacture a set of clear aligners that you wear most of the time except when you are eating. You usually wear each set of aligners for about two weeks then you swap them out for the next ones. How often you swap them and how many aligners you get will depend on how much your teeth need to move. (Also how good you are about wearing them). As you move through your aligners, your teeth will gradually move into place.
How do I know if I can have Invisalign?
If you’re not sure if your teeth can be straightened using Invisalign, there is a free smile assessment on the Invisalign website, or you can see if you match any of these.
See Courtney's Invisalign review!
Why should I straighten my teeth?
Having straight teeth is not only amazing because it looks great, but crooked teeth can also lead to other more serious dental issues like tooth decay or even gum disease because it’s harder to keep them clean. Crooked teeth can also affect how you bite together, and if you bite together wrong, this can lead to headaches, sore jaws or even snoring (nobody likes a snorer) and sleep apnoea.
How long does it take?
This is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. How long it takes is dependent on a couple of things.
- How much your teeth need to move
- How compliant you are about wearing your aligners
It can take anywhere from about six months to about three years. You also need to factor in that you will need to go to your tooth doctor about once every 6 to 8 weeks so they can check everything is going to plan.
How much does it cost?
Prices can range for Invisalign based on the following factors:
- How long and how many sets of aligners you need
- The experience of your doctor
Prices range from: $5,000 – $8,500
What about my Health Fund?
Orthodontics is usually an extra, but if you have this cover then some of the costs may be covered. Check with your Health fund what they cover.
Are there payment options?
Yes! The good news is that most doctors now offer dental payment plans so that you can pay your treatment off gradually. There are also some companies that now offer finance for dentally related stuff. Some of them even have online calculators so you can work out exactly how much it will cost you per week.
Does it hurt?
Don’t be a wuss! It may be slightly uncomfortable for the first day or two when you put a new set of aligners in but that is pretty much it.
Whos the best at it?
Ok, so when it comes to getting any Invisalign you have a couple of options of the type of tooth doctor you choose. There are specialist Orthodontists whos sole job it is to straighten teeth all day, every day. It’s what they do, they love it. They had to have special training to become Orthodontists and then extra training to be able to provide Invisalign as an option to their patients. These guys know how to straighten teeth.
Some general dentists can also provide Invisalign treatment, and they too have to have extra training to be able to offer this.
What are the alternatives?
Do nothing and not love your smile
Braces – braces may be a quicker option (because you can’t take them off) but are slightly more noticeable than Invisalign, although you can get clear braces and also braces on the back of your teeth (called lingual braces). Braces typically work better for kids who may be not as good about wearing their aligners.
There are some other companies offering clear aligners very similar to Invisalign you just may not have heard of them. To list a just a few:
- Clear Correct
Porcelain Veneers and Crowns. In some instances, tooth doctors may also be able to straighten teeth using cosmetic treatments such as Porcelain Veneers or crowns. This will depend on a number factors and may also be a consideration once you have finished straightening your teeth. There are pros and cons to Porcelain Veneers or Crowns for teeth straightening so make sure you research this first before making any rash decisions.
How do I look after my teeth once I have finished my treatment?
The great thing about Invisalign is that it is a very conservative treatment that, besides making your teeth straighter, does not have any other effect on your teeth at all such as other treatments, like porcelain veneers, which usually involve reducing a part of your tooth. Therefore, once you have finished your treatment normal brushing, flossing and regular check-ups and cleans will keep your newly straightened teeth shiny and new!
Invisalign is a great option if you want to straighten your teeth, it’s almost unnoticeable, you can take them out whenever you like so it fits into your lifestyle and makes it easy to keep your teeth clean and healthy!
Invisalign can be slightly more expensive in some cases than traditional braces and may take longer if you are a little slack in wearing or changing your aligners – but then you only have yourself to blame. But with all the benefits mentioned above and options to pay them off over time, it can be a great investment!