man in dental chair looks at Invisalign tray

How Exactly Does Invisalign Work?


Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment designed to straighten the teeth and correct improper bite patterns. It is an alternative to braces as it works differently, using another strategy and appliance. Invisalign consists of clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth rather than brackets that attach to the teeth. 

Patients are choosing Invisalign in consistently growing numbers. If you’re considering this treatment, you may be wondering how exactly does Invisalign work? Here’s the basic idea. 

Invisalign Trays Shift the Teeth 

Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic trays (similar to retainers) called aligners that you wear over your teeth. Each aligner is worn for about 2 weeks at a time. You switch to the next aligner in the series every 2 weeks until you have worn them all. These aligners gently and gradually shift your teeth into proper alignment. At the end of the series, ideally your teeth will be in the desired positions.

Each aligner in your series will be slightly different so that your teeth will be gradually moved into the right position. The process is typically not painful at all. You may feel a little discomfort in your teeth the first day wearing a new aligner. If at any point in the process your teeth have not sufficiently shifted, your dentist may recommend that you wear a certain aligner for a longer time until your teeth have reached the desired position. Regular monitoring is part of the process. 

The Invisalign Process

Here’s what you can expect from Invisalign treatment from start to finish. 

  1. Consultation. The first step is always a consultation to determine whether or not you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign. Many orthodontic issues can be corrected with Invisalign, but some severe cases may not. Your dentist will evaluate your teeth and determine your eligibility. 
  2. Impressions. If you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign, digital impressions will be made of your teeth using specialized imaging equipment. These impressions are entered into the computer. The Invisalign software creates an individualized treatment plan to shift your teeth into proper alignment. 
  3. Creating your aligners. The aligners are created in a lab based on the computer images and treatment plan. In a few weeks they will be shipped to your dentist’s office and you will go in for a fitting. As long as the first set of aligners fit properly, you will take the entire set home and continue your treatment. 
  4. Wearing your aligners. You will be responsible for wearing your aligners as much of the day and night as possible, ideally as much as 22 hours a day. You can remove your aligners to eat and care for your teeth, but otherwise you should wear them. You switch aligners every two weeks, wearing the next one in consecutive order until you have completed your treatment. 
  5. Monitoring your progress. Your dentist will want to check your progress every 6-8 weeks or so to make sure the aligners are doing their job and that the teeth are shifting into proper alignment. If there are any problems with your teeth failing to shift adequately, your dentist may recommend repeating some of the aligners until you get the desired results. 
  6. Maintaining your results. After your treatment is complete, you will need to wear retainers for a few years to maintain your results. You will most likely wear them all the time for a few months, then just at night. You may want to wear your retainers at night for the rest of your life to make sure your teeth don’t revert back to their former positions. 

Glassman Dental Care is a Certified Invisalign Provider

One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign is that you don’t have to go to an orthodontist to get this treatment. Dentists can provide Invisalign because it doesn’t require the same level of expertise as other orthodontic treatments. The advanced Invisalign software does most of the planning, making it easy for dentists to offer this option. Glassman Dental Care is a certified Invisalign provider, meaning we have completed the necessary training to effectively administer this treatment to our patients.
Call 212-787-4860 or contact us to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you transform your smile.