Invisalign Review

Is the leading name in aligners worth it?

Invisalign
Last updated:
Reader Rating85 Votes

Most people have heard of Invisalign. This is one of the leading brands for clear aligner treatment. Invisalign has been making aligners since 1999, having now served over 3 million patients and customers.

Could you be the next Invisalign customer? Read on for more information about getting clear aligners through Invisalign.

First Glance

Approved by the FDA in 1998, the Invisalign treatment was created as an alternative way to straighten teeth. The process uses 3D computer technology to carefully customise your treatment, which is available in more than 45 countries worldwide.

Pros:

  • The confidence of a world-famous brand
  • Treatment by licensed dentists and orthodontists
  • May be available for patients as young as 8
  • A variety of aligner types to maximise customisation
  • No hidden costs during treatment

Cons:

  • Longer average treatment times than many competitors
  • You will need to attend for regular checkups during treatment
  • Potentially much more expensive than treatment elsewhere
  • Aftercare treatment and retainers are quite highly-priced
  • No guarantee from Invisalign

Who is behind Invisalign?

Invisalign provided the very first commercially available clear dental aligners. Now, they’ve been used by more than 3 million patients.

The company behind the Invisalign brand is Align Technology.

The idea started with Zia Chishti, who reached the end of his treatment with traditional braces and saw potential in his clear retainers. Chishti believed that adapted retainers could be used to gently move teeth, from their original positions to a new straighter smile. Now, Invisalign products are available in more than 45 countries.

Licensed dentist and orthodontists can offer Invisalign treatment. They’re not employed by Align Technology but operate independently. Your local dentist may offer clear aligners through Invisalign, or you can find a provider online if you need to go somewhere new.

You are likely to have a few Invisalign providers within a 10-mile radius of your home. Around the world, there are more than 90,000 trained Invisalign providers.

Who can use Invisalign aligners?

The Invisalign treatment can be used to solve problems with crooked teeth, overcrowding or an overbite. You may not be suitable if you have bridges, crowns, existing jaw problems, untreated cavities or gum disease.

If you’d like clear aligners, visit your dentist for a check before you start your application. Any existing dental problems should be properly resolved before you start your treatment with Invisalign. You may need your wisdom teeth removed, and should give yourself a few months to recover once they’ve been taken out.

Under 18s may be eligible for Invisalign treatment. In fact, children as young as 8 have been approved for their clear dental aligners. In most cases, these treatments will be approved for adults and teenagers. You will need to speak to your chosen provider to see if you’re a suitable candidate.

How are the dental aligners made?

To start your treatment, you’ll go through a 3D dental scan.

You will be able to see your treatment plan before it begins. 3D images will show your tooth positioning, and where your teeth will be by the end.

The 3D images will be used to create your clear aligners. Each set of aligners is slightly different from the last, slowly adjusting your teeth as they move towards your new straighter smile. You’ll need to move to your next set roughly every two weeks, with total treatment times varying from patient to patient.

All of your aligners will be custom made using strong clear plastic. They’re designed to be durable but comfortable.

What treatment options are available?

Invisalign technologies have been developed over the years.

You will get the most appropriate aligners for your needs.

There are no choices to make. The type of aligner that you receive will depend on your unique situation. If you only need small changes, your aligners may be designed a little differently to those for larger adjustments. As the end-user, the type of aligner is irrelevant to your experience.

In all cases, aligners should be worn for about 22 hours every day. They should be removed for eating and drinking, and you should always brush your teeth before you reinsert your aligners. They should be worn through the day and through the night, and thoroughly cleaned twice a day.

You can clean your Invisalign clear aligners by rinsing them under warm water. Ideally, use retainer cleaning tablets or Invisalign Cleaning Crystals. These delicate cleaning products will not damage your aligners but will clear away any invisible bacteria. Good aligner care is very important, as each set will be in your mouth for the best part of a fortnight.

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

Invisalign treatment typically takes between 12-18 months.

Your treatment may be quicker if you require only limited movement, or could take longer for more significant changes.

When you attend your initial appointments, you’ll get a personalised treatment plan that includes an estimated treatment length.

Are there any other steps to take?

Invisalign is managed by registered dental professionals. You’ll need to attend regular checkups to make sure that you’re staying on track.

Most people will need a checkup roughly every 6 weeks. Between appointments, you may go through two or three sets of aligners.

You can also download the optional My Invisalign Smile app. This helps you to take photographs and monitor your changing smile, whilst providing extra information to help you make the most of your treatment.

How much does Invisalign treatment cost?

Treatment

The total price of treatment will usually be between £2,500 and £5,500.

The cost of your treatment will depend on your unique situation. More complex treatments will be more expensive than the easiest treatment plans.

During treatment, there should be no additional costs. Whilst some providers charge for 3D scans and replacement aligner trays, these are included in your quote when you use Invisalign.

Unless you’re in the habit of frequently losing your aligners, you are unlikely to reach the point where you’re being charged for replacements. Check the terms of your agreement to see what you’re specifically offered.

Retainers

Once you’ve finished your treatment, you’ll need to use retainers to keep your teeth in place. Your retainers will be just like your clear aligners, but only need to be worn overnight.

Invisalign offers its own Vivera retainers. These are available following treatment, or to be purchased completely separately.

Retainer prices will vary, and it’s important to speak to your Invisalign provider to find the best fit for your needs. Most people should expect ongoing costs of up to £400 per year.

Are payment options available?

Most Invisalign customers will be offered payment plans. As you’re not a customer of Invisalign directly, you’ll need to speak to your chosen provider.

Different dentists and orthodontists will offer different options for payment. It is likely that you’ll be offered a monthly price that you can afford.

Be aware that some providers may not offer flexible payment plans. You’re free to shop around.

Is an Invisalign warranty or guarantee available?

Invisalign doesn’t offer its own guarantee.

Your chosen provider is responsible for the success of your care. Any complaints should be taken up with your dentist or orthodontist, who should make you aware of their own complaints process and how you can hold them accountable.

It is important to check, at your initial consultation, how a complaint might be handled. Ask your provider what they’ll do if you aren’t happy at the end. Talk through your treatment plan and listen carefully to any claims that they make.

How old do you have to be?

Invisalign treatment is available for teenagers and adults. Invisalign doesn’t set a specific minimum age but leaves the decision down to individual providers. Whilst some teenagers may be eligible, many others will not.

Invisalign treatment has been known to be used for patients as young as 8 years old, though this is definitely the exception rather than the rule.

Where is Invisalign treatment available?

There are more than 90,000 trained Invisalign providers worldwide. Treatment is offered by registered dentists and orthodontists, rather than directly through Invisalign.

Search for local providers. Most people will have multiple options within 10 miles of their home.

What about their customer service?

All of your customer service needs should be met by your chosen provider. Invisalign treatment is not directly available.

If you have concerns about your treatment, speak to your dentist directly. You’re their customer and will be paying them for your aligners.

You should expect to attend a checkup roughly every six weeks. This is a great opportunity to monitor your treatment and check that you’re happy with the progression. Your Invisalign provider should be able to help with any concerns.

Patients are not expected to get in touch directly with Invisalign.

Invisalign: The Verdict

Availability

Treatment is available through registered dental professionals. You’ll need to find an orthodontist, or dentist, that offers Invisalign treatment.

There are 90,000 Invisalign providers worldwide. In the UK, most people will have several within easy reach of their home.

Availability shouldn’t be an issue unless you live somewhere very rural. You’ll need to go for checkups every six months, so make sure that you pick somewhere local.

Price

The cost of treatment varies a lot, from one case to another. If yours is a simple treatment, you won’t pay more through Invisalign than most of the company’s competitors. For a more complex treatment, the price can rise to roughly £5,500.

One of the benefits of Invisalign treatment is a lack of hidden charges. Your 3D scan is included in this cost, along with reasonable numbers of replacement aligners throughout the course of your treatment.

Invisalign treatment is usually more expensive than the competitor equivalent, though you may be comfortable paying a bit more for such a well-known name. You may also feel that the cost is worthwhile for regular professional checkups.

You’ll be a patient of your chosen provider, rather than Invisalign directly. As such, each provider can offer their own payment plans. If you need to spread the cost, it might help to shop around before you make a final decision.

Ease of use

From a patient’s perspective, there’s little to do during Invisalign treatment.

You’ll be expected to change to new aligners approximately every two weeks.

Every six weeks, you’ll attend a checkup to make sure that your treatment is on track. Aside from this, you won’t be expected to take control on your own.

You don’t need to use a home impression kit to make a mould for aligners. All of this is done using 3D scans during your dentist visit. The smartphone app is an optional extra, not an essential piece of kit.

As long as you keep up with your regular checkups, your treatment should go to plan. You’ll be told when to move to new sets of aligners, and when your treatment is complete.

Options

You can choose your provider. Invisalign providers are registered professionals in locations all over the country.

You might find that your existing dentist is an Invisalign provider. If not, it’s easy to find someone new for this treatment. You can choose a provider based on their reviews, location and payment options.

You won’t get to choose from several different types of aligners. A set will be chosen for you, based on your unique situation. You’ll be expected to wear your clear aligners for 22 hours a day.

Most people will complete their treatment in no more than 18 months.

Reassurance

You won’t get much in the way of support from Invisalign. They don’t have a UK customer service team.

You’re a patient of your chosen provider. They’re the ones to contact with issues.

Experiences vary. One provider could offer excellent service, whilst another could be very unhelpful. It’s great to have the choice, though there’s no easy way to hold a provider to account.

You are responsible for finding a provider that meets your individual needs. Take some time to read reviews and find a location that suits you.

Before you sign up for your clear aligner treatment, talk through the process for complaints. What will your dentist do if you’re unhappy with the final results?

Invisalign FAQs

Are Invisalign consultations free?

Invisalign consultations are typically offered by your local orthodontist. You can search for a nearby Invisalign provider, then book a consultation appointment. Invisalign won’t oversee the entire treatment process, so Invisalign-trained doctors are free to make their own pricing decisions. Some will offer a free consultation whilst others will charge for the service.

You can enter your postcode on the Invisalign website to find a nearby provider. You can then contact them to see how much they’ll charge for the initial appointment. Experiences vary since you’re not dealing directly with Invisalign themselves.

Are Invisalign braces good?

Invisalign’s clear aligners are a popular choice, coming highly recommended by customers. The results are tried and tested. Invisalign has successfully straightened the teeth of more than 8 million previous patients. This company is trusted by dentists and orthodontists, which is reassurance that you’re in good hands.

Of course, that’s not to say that Invisalign is your only option. Though Invisalign is one of the biggest names and one of the most recognisable, there are now many Invisalign competitors that can offer similar treatments.

Are Invisalign results permanent?

There’s no reason for them not to be. A straighter smile can last for decades, if you look after it properly. This means that you’ll need to maintain good oral hygiene and avoid any damaging habits.

You’ll also need to keep wearing retainers. See these as a permanent addition to your daily routine. Retainers will help to keep your teeth in place once they’ve moved to their final position. You should wear your retainers every night and replace them roughly every six months. At first, as your teeth won’t have settled, you might also want to wear them during the day and treat them just like your aligners. Forgetting to use your retainers is likely to cause your teeth to start moving slowly back to their original positions.

Can I use Invisalign when pregnant?

During pregnancy, your teeth and gums may be more sensitive than usual. This shouldn’t stop you from using Invisalign, but always check with your dentist. Other types of braces are often less suitable for pregnant people, with their permanent nature causing problems especially through pregnancy sickness. Clear aligners work well because they can be removed and thoroughly cleaned at any time.

There’s no reason to stop using Invisalign if you discover that you’re pregnant. There’s also nothing to stop you from starting new Invisalign treatment, though you might like to wait until life is a bit calmer and you can focus completely on your treatment. Remember that dental impressions can trigger the gagging reflex, which might be a problem if you’re already dealing with nausea.

What are Invisalign aligner trays made of?

Aligners by Invisalign are made using clear BPA-free plastics. They’re medical grade and safe to use, as well as being durable and strong. Your aligners will feel firm and sturdy, as this is essential for moving your teeth successfully.

Your aligners are custom-made, designed to fit your mouth perfectly. Invisalign has patented the name SmartTrack for their material.

Which Invisalign trays hurt the most?

Invisalign aligners will slowly move your teeth to their final position. They shouldn’t hurt day-to-day, though you might feel some slight pain every time you start using a new set. One set of aligner trays should not be more painful than another, though you might notice some extra discomfort for the first day or two of wearing each set.

Each set of trays is a step further than the previous one. When you first start using a new set of trays, your teeth are being moved a bit more. Over the next couple of weeks, your teeth are gently adjusted until they perfectly fit within the tray. Once that’s happened, you’ll move on to new trays and your teeth will need to move even more. Discomfort shouldn’t last long, so seek your dentist’s advice if you’re struggling to wear your aligners.

Which is better, Invisalign or braces?

For most people with mild to moderate dental issues, Invisalign is a better option. Invisalign treatment is typically cheaper, and often the least painful option. People also like that Invisalign aligners are almost completely invisible, meaning that you can get straighter teeth without hiding your smile in the meantime.

Invisalign isn’t always best, though. Braces are needed for the most complex treatments if teeth are very badly misaligned. They’ll do these bigger jobs much quicker, as well as making more significant changes to the position and direction of your teeth.

Can teenagers use Invisalign?

Unlike some competitors, Invisalign doesn’t set a minimum age limit for patients. This doesn’t mean the Invisalign treatment is suitable for all teenagers, though you may be a suitable candidate if you have most of your adult teeth. Invisalign candidates are checked on a case-by-case basis, so Invisalign won’t set an arbitrary minimum age.

Invisalign products are designed for teens in the same way that they’re made for adults. Teenagers get 3D dental scans and a personalised treatment plan, along with retainers for long-lasting results into adulthood.

Why does Invisalign hurt?

Invisalign’s clear aligners shouldn’t hurt once you’re used to wearing them. You may experience some slight discomfort with each new aligner tray, but this shouldn’t last long or be unbearably painful.

If you’re experiencing Invisalign pain, your aligners might have been made wrong. This could be a problem during manufacture, or earlier when measurements were taken during your scans. Alternatively, you might not be inserting your aligners quite right. Once you’ve put your aligners in position, bite down hard to help them slide completely into place. You can buy aligner chewies that help with the process if you’re struggling.

Will Invisalign work without attachments?

Most people enjoy successful Invisalign treatment without any attachments. In fact, attachments are only needed for more complex treatments like twisting teeth or pulling them further out of the gumline. Your dentist will tell you if they think you’ll need attachments for your treatment. If attachments are needed, avoiding them could stop your treatment from being successful.

Invisalign attachments are coloured to match your teeth, which makes them almost invisible. Even with attachments, you can still remove your aligners for eating and drinking.

Invisalign Review
Reader Rating85 Votes
Pros
The confidence of a world-famous brand
Treatment by licensed dentists and orthodontists
May be available for patients as young as 8
A variety of aligner types to maximise customisation
No hidden costs during treatment
Cons
Longer average treatment times than many competitors
You will need to attend for regular checkups during treatment
Potentially much more expensive than treatment elsewhere
Aftercare treatment and retainers are quite highly-priced
No guarantee from Invisalign
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