February 1, 2023By Dr. TannerIn Invisalign5 Minutes

7 Questions to Ask Before Starting Invisalign

You have finally made the decision to move forward and straighten your teeth with Invisalign. Now it is time to find an orthodontist in your area who is a certified Invisalign provider. You select a couple of experienced orthodontists from the doctor locator tool on Invisalign’s website. How do you choose the right orthodontist for you? Here are seven important questions to ask at the initial exam to help you decide.

1. How long will my treatment take?

This is the most essential question. Most patients are very compliant if treatment takes 12 months or less. Compliance with the aligners begins to decline after 1 year and drops significantly after 18 months. If treatment can be completed in a year or less, then there is a good chance for a successful outcome. Efficient treatment in a reasonable period of time is key.

2. Will I be changing my aligners every week or 2 weeks?

The original protocol for Invisalign aligner changes was every 2 weeks. In 2013, Invisalign developed a new material called SmartTrack which had more elasticity and moved teeth more efficiently. Invisalign modified their protocol for aligner changes to every week, but many orthodontists continue to hold onto the old two-week protocol. This, unnecessarily, results in longer treatment times.

3. Will I need to have a tooth or teeth removed?

Most Invisalign treatment cases can be completed without the removal of a tooth or teeth but there are times when extractions are necessary to alleviate crowding or correct overbites. If tooth removal is required, be sure to ask the orthodontist for the rationale behind the extractions so that you feel comfortable with this decision.

4. Will I have black triangles after my teeth are aligned?

As part of informed consent, an orthodontist will usually advise the patient if he or she thinks black triangles will be present post treatment. Black triangles reveal themselves when overlapped teeth are straightened, thus altering their interproximal contact. This contact moves more incisal (toward the edge of the tooth) but the gum tissue does not follow leaving a dark space. These dark triangles can be minimized by recontouring the sides of the incisors to broaden contact points.

5. Will I need my teeth slenderized (interproximal reduction)?

There are three valid reasons for slenderizing anterior teeth. The first is to provide additional space to align crowded teeth to prevent over-expansion or tipping. This can be a viable solution to avoid extraction of teeth in certain situation. The second reason is to reduce excess overbite in cases where a patient is a non-growing teen or adult. Again, this is an alternative to removing teeth for the same purpose. The last reason is to eliminate triangular spaces that develop once overlapped teeth are aligned.

6. Will braces be necessary as part of my treatment?

95% of Invisalign cases can be fully treated without the need for braces at either the beginning or end of treatment. There are a few situations where braces can be useful to help at the start of treatment (typically with extraction cases) or at the end (to fine tune a stubborn tooth or teeth that is being resistant to moving). An orthodontist will be able to anticipate most of these situations.

7. Are there any additional charges with my treatment?
Most orthodontic offices charge a comprehensive fee that covers all Invisalign aligners (plus any refinements) along with one set of retainers. Be wary of low treatment fees at an office because they may tack on additional charges for refinement aligners, retainers, retainer visits etc. Be sure to ask exactly what the fee covers and if there are any additional fees that can be anticipated with treatment.

As with any medical care, the informed consumer is the smart consumer. Don’t be afraid to ask your questions before making a final decision about which office is right for you!

If you have questions about the benefits of Invisalign treatment, please call Visage Orthodontics to schedule a visit with Dr. Tanner, your Santa Fe Invisalign specialist. Dr. Tanner will review everything in detail and develop a customized treatment plan to fit your lifestyle and budget.

A confident and beautiful smile is right around the corner!