What You Need To Know About Invisalign (2023)

What You Need To Know About Invisalign (1)
What You Need To Know About Invisalign (2)



Removable, discreet and promising impressive results, Invisalign is now a well-established alternative to traditional braces. But is it as effective as people make out? How much does it cost? And does it really work for everyone? These are all valid questions, so we went to the experts for answers…


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First, what exactly is Invisalign?

This clear aligner system has been used by more than eight million people across the globe. As aesthetic dentist Dr Safa Al-Naher tells us, Invisalign is unique in that it can only be provided via trained dentists and orthodontists, giving you not just the reassurance of expert guidance throughout your treatment, but also a full assessment of the health of your mouth for optimum results. “Invisalign uses a series of nearly undetectable aligners instead of wires and brackets to move your teeth, week by week, millimetre by millimetre. Using 3D computer technology, each of your aligners is made to sit snugly over your teeth for a truly bespoke fit.”

Who is the perfect candidate?

In the hands of an experienced Invisalign provider, most cases can be treated, says Safa. “Invisalign is particularly effective at resolving crowded and overlapping teeth, closing spaces, reducing flared teeth, correcting bites and widening smiles.” Dr Rhona Eskander, dentist and owner of Chelsea Dental, adds that Invisalign can also work well if you’re looking to correct minor movement and relapses following previous orthodontic treatment. “These cases tend to produce very quick results,” she says. “On the whole, if you have mild to moderately crowded teeth, Invisalign will work well. However, if your issues are more complex or if you have bridgework on some of your teeth, Invisalign may not be the right option for you.”

How does the process work?

Treatment starts with a 3D scan or digital mould of your teeth. Using this, your orthodontist can immediately give you an idea of what your teeth will look like straight. The treatment is then planned, aligners are fitted and you’ll be booked in for monitoring and follow-up sessions. “The clear aligners – which will need to be changed around every seven days – move the teeth through a series of careful and controlled movements,” explains Dr Rizwan Mahmood, Invisalign specialist and co-founder of Ruh Dental. “The aligners are dispensed in batches with each aligner needing to be changed every week or so. Compared to fixed braces, the number of appointments is significantly fewer, saving you time. Fixed braces require wire changes and frequent tightening of the brace, making Invisalign a more convenient option.”

Invisalign aligners move the teeth through a series of careful and controlled movements."

How quickly will it work?

Everyone is different, says Rizwan. “Most people will see noticeable results within eight weeks, and some will finish their treatment within six months. However, for more complex cases, it can take up to 18 months.”

Is it painful?

It can be more uncomfortable than painful, especially at certain stages of treatment, says Safa. “Your mouth is most likely to feel tender in the first three days after having the first aligner fitted. This is because the teeth aren’t yet ‘mobile’ and the remodelling process is just getting started. This is usually felt as a dull ache, especially during eating and when the aligners have been removed. A mild painkiller like paracetamol can reduce pain, and it can also help to remove the aligners 30-40 minutes before mealtimes to allow the teeth and gums to relax before applying pressure.”

Any tips for finding a reputable dentist?

Invisalign is swiftly becoming one of the most popular procedures in the world of dentistry, but that doesn’t mean everyone offering it is qualified to do so. “There is so much variation out there, so it’s important to understand that not every dentist offering Invisalign is qualified, and may not be offering the same product,” advises Safa. “For starters, check it’s actually the Invisalign brand being offered. There are many clear aligner systems out there but Invisalign is superior – it invests over £100m each year into research and development. Invisalign branding should be seen at every stage of your treatment, including on the aligner packets and boxes themselves. Also check what your dentist is offering – generally, Invisalign Go providers have less training and less control over treatment plans. It’s also worth checking how many cases a dentist has treated – anyone with over 200 cases would be considered a moderately experienced provider. The Invisalign website also has a doctor finder, which displays experience level.”

How much will it cost?

Again, it depends on the severity of your case and whether you receive any add-ons like whitening, but expect to pay around £3,000, says Rizwan. “If you’re offered treatment for significantly less than this, be extremely cautious and do thorough research into the provider.”

Here, the experts share their dos and don’ts for getting the most out of your treatment…


Wear Your Retainers

“For Invisalign to work effectively, it’s vital to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours per day. The only time you’re supposed to remove them is when you’re eating or drinking, or brushing or flossing. If you think you’ll be tempted to slip them out more often, it may not be the best choice for you.” – Rhona

Be Gentle

“Take care when cleaning your aligners as very hot water can warp the plastic. This can alter the fit, affect your progress and the effectiveness of the aligners.” – Rhona

Consider Adding On Treatment

“There are three elements to a smile: position, shape and colour. If you are considering Invisalign, also consider edge bonding to make the edges of the teeth look neater, and whitening, which will brighten your smile. Discuss this with your dentist prior to starting treatment.” – Rhona

Listen To Your Dentist

“99% of the issues that arise during Invisalign treatment are caused by patients either not wearing the aligners for the recommended 22 hours per day, or not taking proper care of their teeth. Listen to your dentist and follow their guidance to the letter.” – Rizwan

Maintain The Results

“As with any orthodontic treatment, you will always need some form of retainer to maintain the result. A night-time retainer like the Vivera is a good option, and some choose to have a fixed wire retainer bonded to the back of their front teeth. Attending regular check-ups and reviews with your dentist is advisable – they can digitally scan your teeth to monitor minor movements over time.” – Safa


Be Tempted By Online Offers

“There are several direct-to-consumer brands out there – they may be cheap but don’t be tempted. I’ve seen disasters happen where teeth have become mobile and fallen out. With Invisalign, you must have a qualified dentist providing you with a proper treatment plan. The movement of teeth must be assessed very carefully and these cheaper alternatives are not safe.” – Rhona

Rush Into It

“Any decent dentist will offer a physical examination alongside detailed x-rays to be able to fully assess you, as well as discuss your ideal smile. Take the time to have this chat and think about what you want – and remember there’s no point in having straight teeth if they don’t look right within the frame of your smile and complement your facial features. Be sure to look into the finances, too, and find out if your dentist is offering standalone Invisalign treatment, or if you’ll need to pay for extras.” – Safa

Forget Chewies

“Aligner chewies are small plastic cylinders that you bite down on to remove air bubbles between your teeth and the aligner, helping to make your aligners fit better. They can be useful when you change to a new set of aligners, replace your aligners after eating, or before bed so your aligner sits well while you sleep.” – Safa

For more information or to book a consultation with one of the experts, visit DrRhonaEskander.com, RuhDental.com & SereneDental.co.uk.

Whether you’re thinking of starting Invisalign or want to share your experience with others, check out our SL Community.

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at [emailprotected].

The SLMan Edit: Your Guide To A More Stylish Life.



What do I need to know about Invisalign? ›

Eight Things to Know Before Getting Invisalign
  • Expect To Wear Your Aligners For At Least 22 Hours A Day. ...
  • Take Them Out To Eat. ...
  • Additional Attachments Are Sometimes Necessary. ...
  • Stains Can Happen. ...
  • Your Toothbrush Is Your Best Friend. ...
  • Beverages. ...
  • Wait Until Treatment Is Finished For Whitening. ...
  • Embrace The Refinement Process.
Dec 4, 2015

What are the hardest words to say with Invisalign? ›

Invisalign trays completely cover your teeth, making them look slightly thicker, due to which some people experience a slight change of speech, which is temporary. Most of the patients find it difficult to pronounce words with the sound of 's,' 'sh,' 'z' or 'th'.

How do I know if I'm wearing my Invisalign enough? ›

Properly tracked trays feel tight on your teeth, and may even produce a degree of Invisalign pain. This is how you know they are working! While you may observe some small gaps or air pockets, these are only an indication of poor tracking if the trays feel particularly loose or move slightly when you talk or swallow.

Is 20 hours enough for Invisalign? ›

The recommended amount of time to wear Invisalign aligners is 20 to 22 hours per day. This means that the aligners should only be removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and brushing (cleaning the teeth and aligners).

What is the success rate of Invisalign? ›

The overall success rate of Invisalign is around 96%. This means that 96% of patients who complete treatment with Invisalign achieve their desired results and are completely satisfied with the treatment.

Is kissing hard with Invisalign? ›

Most people never experience any issues when kissing with Invisalign braces in because Invisalign aligners are smooth and are designed to fit tightly to your teeth. They don't move, so they won't dislodge or affect your kissing.

What is kissing like with Invisalign? ›

Will I Still Be Able to Kiss? Though it can seem like a touchy topic, there's no need to worry about kissing while you're using Invisalign. The aligners are barely noticeable in your mouth, so there's a good chance your partner won't notice a thing.

What teeth are hardest to move with Invisalign? ›

Typically, the lateral incisors or the teeth next to your front teeth are the most challenging to move with Invisalign aligners and traditional braces.

Can I leave my Invisalign out for a day? ›

Missing even just a single day of wearing your Invisalign can damage your teeth. Without a total 22 hours of treatment, your teeth will automatically begin to revert to their original positions. This means your treatment will take longer, potentially costing you a lot more.

How long will 20 trays of Invisalign take? ›

Generally speaking, Invisalign is understood to be the fastest braces treatment. This is because Invisalign is typically used for treating minor cases, meaning only 20-30 sets of aligners are required over 6-8 months (roughly).

Can I take Invisalign out for a night out? ›

You can occasionally remove your Invisalign aligners to enjoy a special night out. There's no need to change a thing. Continue your day-to-day activities while still straightening your teeth.

Is it OK to leave Invisalign out for a few hours? ›

The biggest risk of missing any period of Invisalign® use is that the teeth may shift back to an incorrect position. Invisalign® aligners are intended to be worn for 22 to 23 hours out of the day. Any less than this, and you risk hurting your progress.

Is it okay to not wear Invisalign for 2 hours? ›

If there is a cardinal rule for Invisalign, it's this: your trays must be worn 20 – 22 hours a day for them to be effective. The trays slowly and gradually shift your teeth into place, so if you aren't wearing them, they obviously cannot do their job!

What is the shortest Invisalign time? ›

The simple answer is: “It depends.” For simple cases, treatment time with Invisalign aligners can be as short as six months. Typically, Invisalign will take 12 months to 18 months to straighten your teeth. For more complex cases such as crowded teeth, the treatment time could be 24 months or slightly longer.

Why do dentists not recommend Invisalign? ›

Invisalign limitations

Severe overbite: Though a regular overbite may be addressed, severe overbite may require the use of braces. Tooth shape: Too-short or pegged teeth can prevent Invisalign from working properly. Tooth position: If your teeth are too rotated, Invisalign cannot shift them into proper alignment.

What foods are off limits with Invisalign? ›

With this in mind, here are foods to avoid with Invisalign and braces:
  • Caramels.
  • Chewing gum.
  • Jawbreakers (best avoided in general)
  • Jellybeans.
  • Licorice.
  • Nuts.
  • Popcorn.
  • Sour candy.

Do you have to wear a retainer forever after Invisalign? ›

In short, you'll have to wear your retainers for the rest of your life after finishing Invisalign treatment. It might sound inconvenient, but it's well worth the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful, straight, healthy smile for life!

Is it hard to sleep with Invisalign? ›

The first few nights of sleeping with Invisalign in your mouth may be uncomfortable, but after a while, you'll find it as easy to drift off into slumber as you did before you began your orthodontic treatment. Sleeping with aligners is not a problem for most people with Invisalign treatment.

What do orthodontists think of Invisalign? ›

Because the Invisalign® system makes life easier for their patients, orthodontists often prefer it over metal braces. However, for patients with severely misaligned teeth, braces are the better option. Sometimes, teeth need to be twisted as part of the straightening process.

Are there long-term issues with Invisalign? ›

If you use Invisalign for more than one year, the aligners may chip your teeth or cause other long-term damage to them. Like braces, Invisalign can also contribute to gum recession and exposed tooth roots. However, going to the dentist as needed should prevent any damage since dentists check for these side effects.

Can you drink alcohol with Invisalign? ›

After enjoying, brush and rinse your teeth before wearing the aligners again. Therefore, if you are age 21 or older, you can enjoy alcohol as long as you take out your aligners first. If you forget and drink something like red wine, it may stain your aligners pink. Then, your treatment won't look very discreet!

Can you tell if someone is using Invisalign? ›

While Invisalign is generally hard to detect, people may still see them. For example, standing in direct sunlight could make them more obvious, since the bright light would reflect on the plastic.

Is it okay to have saliva in your Invisalign? ›

You may encounter excessive saliva build up within your mouth during adjustment. This side-effect should subside after three days, but could last up to two weeks. For the time being, you can sleep on your back or prop your head a bit until saliva decreases.

How do I control saliva with Invisalign? ›

Excessive saliva will take some getting used to and should slow within 3 days of wearing the aligners. Some patients may take up to 2 weeks to adjust to the aligners. Sleep on your back or slightly prop your head until saliva has decreased. Breathe through your nose and not your mouth.

What is the most painful Invisalign tray? ›

Because the pressure and feeling of the Invisalign aligners are new at the start of treatment, the first few Invisalign trays tend to be the most uncomfortable for our Orland Park patients.

What is the biggest gap for Invisalign? ›

Because Invisalign uses a series of removable, clear aligners, this treatment does have its limitations; gaps up to 6mm wide can be treated with Invisalign. If your gaps are wider than 6mm, you may require braces for gapped teeth.

Does Invisalign tray #1 move teeth? ›

Your first Invisalign tray will typically move the teeth around 1/10mm. However, there can be some variation in the process of moving teeth during the treatment depending upon your condition. Moreover, the first Invisalign tray also puts gentle pressure on your teeth to shift them into place, leading to some soreness.

How do I survive the first week of Invisalign? ›

First Week In Invisalign? 5 Tips To Make The Transition Smoother
  1. Track Your “Tray Time” Each Day. Since you'll be taking out your trays 4-6 times each day, it's easy to lose track of how long you're wearing them. ...
  2. Maintain Your Aligners. ...
  3. Sing To Help You Speak Clearly. ...
  4. Protect Your Tongue. ...
  5. Start Great Oral Hygiene Habits.
Aug 23, 2019

Can you drink with a straw with Invisalign? ›

Again, drinking beverages with a straw is recommended when you're undergoing Invisalign treatment. A straw allows the liquid less contact with your teeth and less contact with your Invisalign if they're still in. If you simply must drink a sugary or alcoholic drink with Invisalign, use a straw.

What if I forget to wear my Invisalign for a day? ›

Your current aligners may not fit

Your teeth can move in even a few hours which is why not wearing Invisalign for a day can have such an impact on your overall results. Specifically, if they're left out for too long they may not fit again when you attempt to put them back in.

Can I drink coffee with my Invisalign in? ›

Tea and coffee can be safely consumed while you're undergoing treatment with Invisalign clear braces, although you should not drink these beverages while you are wearing the trays. Although you don't have to chew when you're drinking beverages, it's important to remove the trays before consuming them.

Is 40 Invisalign trays a lot? ›

People who require less or minimal teeth straightening can be given around 15-25 Invisalign trays, whereas those who need more major teeth straightening treatment can be given around 40-50 Invisalign trays. But on average, a patient requires around 20-30 sets of Invisalign aligners.

What is the average number of Invisalign trays? ›

Your orthodontist or Invisalign provider will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of how many aligners you will need once they have had a chance to assess your individual case. However, in general, most people can expect to use around 20-30 aligners over the course of their treatment.

Can I skip to the next tray with Invisalign? ›

You may be tempted to simply skip the current tray and move on to the next set, but avoid doing this unless your orthodontist specifically requested that you do so. It is more likely that you will be recommended to advance aligners if you were nearing the end of the treatment phase with the trays you lost.

Is it hard to talk with Invisalign? ›

Since the trays are so slim, they will only have a minor impact on your speech. You will initially notice a slight lisp for the first few days of treatment. It will be most evident when making the “s”, “sh”, or “z” sounds. However, it should dissipate as your mouth adapts to the braces.

What liquids can you drink with Invisalign? ›

Water is the only drink you may consume while wearing your Invisalign aligners. Avoid drinking warm or hot water, though, because the hotter temperature may warp the aligner, making it less effective or possibly irritate your gums.

Do I need to brush my teeth every time I eat with Invisalign? ›

Brushing and flossing regularly is a must during Invisalign treatments. Especially after eating and drinking. Failing to clean your teeth properly can cause bacteria from your mouth to become trapped inside your Invisalign trays.

Can I drink vodka with Invisalign? ›

You shouldn't drink alcoholic beverages with your Invisalign. And the rule applies to all kinds of alcoholic drinks, be it beer, wine, or any other liquor. These drinks can cause visible stains on your aligners. Also, don't forget to rinse your mouth before you wear back your aligners after having alcohol.

How many times can you remove Invisalign in a day? ›

Whether you have Invisalign or are considering beginning your journey with this treatment, you may be wondering how long you actually have to wear your aligners. Aligners need to be worn for at least 22 hours each day. This means you can remove them for no longer than two hours per day.

How long will 14 Invisalign trays take? ›

Generally, Invisalign Lite uses 14 trays that aim to complete treatment in 6-12 months compared to the Full treatment that straightens in 12-24 months.

What happens if I only wear Invisalign 20 hours a day? ›

Failure to wear the trays for 20 to 22 hours per day can result in complications that may be difficult for Dr. Lee to correct. These complications include: Delayed results: In the short run, failure to wear the trays can result in discomfort.

Can I take my Invisalign out for a few minutes? ›

Remove your aligners for a certain amount of time every day.

Take them out for 15 minutes at breakfast, 30 minutes at lunch, and 60 minutes at dinner. With this schedule, you'll have enough wiggle room for snacks and maintenance.

How long will 24 Invisalign trays take? ›

Most patients wear the Invisalign trays for an average of 12 to 18 months. That's actually less time than the average length of treatment time with metal braces of 24 months!

How fast can teeth move with Invisalign? ›

It is unrealistic, therefore, to expect big improvements in one or two weeks. The speed with which Invisalign moves teeth varies between patients. Some begin to notice subtle changes within two to three months, while others may have to wait a bit longer. You simply need to be patient and wait for it to happen.

How long will 10 Invisalign trays take? ›

If you have issues such as a moderate relapse after previous treatment or live in a tiny space, this could be a fantastic alternative. This treatment includes between 5 and 10 trays, with a total treatment time of 3 to 6 months.

What to expect when you first wear Invisalign? ›

Since the aligners are designed to begin actively moving your teeth, you'll likely feel some discomfort for the first few days. However, most people find that the soreness wears off after the first week. You may also notice that you speak with a slight lisp during the first week of wearing your aligners.

What to do when you first get Invisalign? ›

Try rubbing a bit of orthodontic wax on the aligner's edges to make a smoother fit in your mouth and to protect your tongue. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help alleviate any discomfort you experience during your first couple days of treatment. A cool compress can also help.

How many hours a day do you need to wear Invisalign? ›

You need to wear your Invisalign aligners 20 to 22 hours a day to get the results you want.

How long does it take to get used to Invisalign? ›

Most patients adjust to the feeling of wearing their aligners within one to two weeks – but persistent use is key. The more you wear your aligners, the quicker you'll get used to them.

What is the hardest part of Invisalign? ›

Which teeth are the hardest to move during Invisalign treatment? Typically, the lateral incisors or the teeth next to your front teeth are the most challenging to move with Invisalign aligners and traditional braces.

Should I sleep with my Invisalign on? ›

Invisalign works because of the near-constant pressure. Therefore, it is necessary to wear the aligners during sleep. The manufacturers of Invisalign suggest wearing the braces for 20 to 22 hours each day and only removing them while eating or brushing the teeth.

How painful is Invisalign on the first day? ›

The initial set of Invisalign aligners will be the toughest wave to crest. You're adjusting to the odd sensation of having something in your mouth almost constantly, and it's uncomfortable too. But after a few days, the pain will subside to a dull ache and you'll get used to having Invisalign on your teeth.

How many times a day can you take Invisalign out? ›

Whether you have Invisalign or are considering beginning your journey with this treatment, you may be wondering how long you actually have to wear your aligners. Aligners need to be worn for at least 22 hours each day. This means you can remove them for no longer than two hours per day.

What should I eat the first week of Invisalign? ›

Managing Mild Invisalign Pain the First Week of Treatment

Stick with foods that require minimal chewing for the first few days. Smoothies, milkshakes, yogurt, applesauce, ripe bananas, oatmeal, soup, scrambled eggs, protein shakes, and mashed potatoes are all excellent soft foods for sore teeth.

Can I drink coffee with Invisalign? ›

Tea and coffee can be safely consumed while you're undergoing treatment with Invisalign clear braces, although you should not drink these beverages while you are wearing the trays. Although you don't have to chew when you're drinking beverages, it's important to remove the trays before consuming them.

How long are teeth sore after Invisalign? ›

According to Penn Dental Medicine Family Practice, users reporting pain from Invisalign said that the symptoms lasted 2 to 3 days following new aligner installation. Since Invisalign requires new trays every 2 weeks, it's possible to experience mild pain and discomfort within the first few days of each cycle.

How quickly does Invisalign start moving teeth? ›

For optimal results, Invisalign gradually aligns your teeth, which minimizes discomfort and ensures a precise, healthy smile. It is unrealistic to see changes in one to two weeks. While result speed varies between patients, some patients may begin to notice a subtle difference within 10 to 12 weeks.

Does Invisalign move back teeth first? ›

Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign is a more comfortable and easy way to correct your smile. First, they will move back your teeth and then align them properly with the shape of your Invisalign.


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