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So you’re looking to have straight teeth without using expensive and unsightly braces? Well, you’re in luck with Invisalign! The Invisalign treatment consists of a series of snap-on, custom fit, removable mouth trays, or aligners, that apply a controlled amount of force to your teeth, forcing them to shift.

The process begins with a computer-generated image of what your teeth will look like at each stage of treatment, right up until the end. Align Technologies, the company that manufactures Invisalign, then designs and sends to your dentist a series of trays to gradually achieve this result. (Invisalign can be prescribed by an ordinary dentist; it is not necessary to visit an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in tooth movement and dentofacial orthopedics.) Each tray is designed to pressure specific teeth to move into place, beginning with the back teeth and finishing with the front.

At the end of each two-week period, you will switch trays. Throughout the process, you will visit your dentist every six weeks to ensure treatment is progressing as planned. Once your treatment is complete, you will likely wear a (clear) retainer to ensure your new smile stays in place.

Invisalign trays are made of clear plastic, so they are practically invisible when they are on your teeth. As well, because they are removable, they can be taken out while eating, drinking or brushing and flossing.

If you are a candidate for braces, you are likely a candidate for Invisalign as well, with one exception: Unlike braces, Invisalign cannot be combined with headgear to fix malocclusion. Invisalign trays, then, should only be used by patients with a proper bite and alignment.

As with all orthodontic appliances, the cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of the case. However, Invisalign is generally more expensive than traditional braces. Insurance policies generally cover Invisalign to the same extent that they cover traditional braces.

Invisalign offers the benefits of invisibility and comfort—unlike traditional braces, there is no tightening or adjustments.