Invisalign® Clear Aligners - A Complete Guide

Get answers to your questions about Invisalign aligners. Learn about the treatment process, costs, insurance options, and how Invisalign treatment compares to braces.

What are Invisalign aligners?

Invisalign aligners are an alternative to braces for straightening teeth for kids, teens, and adults. Like braces, it can help people align their teeth and achieve the smile they always wanted. Unlike braces, Invisalign aligners are removable, virtually invisible, faster1 and more comfortable2 than braces.

How do Invisalign aligners work?

When you straighten your teeth with Invisalign aligners, you'll wear a series of invisible and removable aligners that will gradually move your teeth into place. Your orthodontist will fit you for your first set of aligners, and you'll check in with them according to your orthodontist’s instructions to monitor progress.

How are Invisalign aligners different from braces?

Here are four reasons why Invisalign aligners are different from braces:

  1. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible
    Invisalign clear aligners are made from proprietary SmartTrack material, making them virtually invisible. People probably won’t even notice you’re wearing them!

  2. Unlike braces, Invisalign aligners are removable
    There are no metal brackets or wires with Invisalign aligners. You can easily remove your aligners to eat, drink, brush, or floss. Because they’re removable, there are no food restrictions with Invisalign aligners like there are with braces. With Invisalign, you’re free to eat popcorn, nuts, corn on the cob, candy, gum and more all while straightening your smile.

  3. Invisalign aligners straighten teeth faster than braces1
    Invisalign treatment can be completed in as little as 6 months,3 depending on the complexity of your case. But you could start seeing results in a matter of weeks.

  4. Invisalign aligners are more comfortable than braces
    Invisalign clear aligners are more comfortable than traditional braces.2 They have no metal brackets or wires that could break and irritate your mouth.

Do Invisalign aligners cost more than braces?

In most cases, the cost of Invisalign treatment is comparable to the cost of braces. Your doctor will determine the cost of your treatment based on case complexity.

Do Invisalign aligners hurt?

When you first start Invisalign treatment, your aligners apply pressure to your teeth. This can cause slight discomfort at first. Many people note a feeling of tightness in their teeth and mouth. However, it usually only lasts a day or two.

Talk to your orthodontist if you are concerned about or are experiencing discomfort while wearing your Invisalign aligners.

Do you sleep with Invisalign aligners?

Sleeping with your Invisalign aligners is necessary because you must wear your Invisalign aligners for 20 to 22 hours daily to get the desired results.

What are the disadvantages of Invisalign aligners?

Invisalign treatment requires consistent and responsible wear. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, you must be diligent about wearing your aligners for the recommended 20 to 22 hours daily.

Invisalign treatment may not be suitable for everyone. Consult with your dentist or orthodontist, who can evaluate your need and determine the best treatment orthodontic treatment for you.

What can I eat and drink with Invisalign aligners?

You can usually eat what you want while in treatment because Invisalign aligners are supposed to be removed when eating or drinking. This means you don't have to worry about not eating apples, pizza, candy, and other foods that orthodontists may discourage for people wearing braces.

How often do you brush with Invisalign aligners?

Brushing your teeth after eating and before putting in your Invisalign aligners is super important. When you eat, tiny food particles can get stuck in your teeth. If you don't remove them, they can lead to cavities and bad breath. It's important to brush after every meal as well before and after sleep.

Does insurance cover Invisalign aligners?

Many dental insurance plans cover the Invisalign treatment. Your benefits manager at work or your insurer's customer service can help you understand if and how much of your Invisalign treatment will be covered.

In addition to dental insurance, FSAs, and HSAs can sometimes be used to cover straightening your smile with Invisalign:

Flexible savings account (FSA)
Your FSA is managed by your employer, and you pay money into the account throughout the year, usually through a deduction from your paycheck. You may set aside up to the IRS limit annually.

Health savings account (HSA)
An HSA is a savings account designed for people with high-deductible health insurance plans. You put money into the account and can use it to cover certain medical, dental, and orthodontic costs, including Invisalign clear aligners.

When you book your consultation with your dentist, ask which insurance plans your doctor accepts. Your doctor's office can check with your insurance provider to check your coverage.

Talk to your orthodontist

Ready to get started on Invisalign treatment? Want to learn more? Talk to your orthodontist. Your orthodontist can review your situation and design a treatment plan for your case. Don’t have an orthodontist? Use the Invisalign Doctor Locator to find an Invisalign provider for you.

Ready to start your Invisalign journey?

Discover if smile treatment is right for you.

Ready to start your Invisalign journey?

Discover if smile treatment is right for you.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website are for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please seek the advice of your health care provider with any questions you may have regarding any dental or medical-related condition and never disregard or delay seeking such advice because of something you have read on this website.

Wonder if Invisalign treatment is right for you?

  1. Gu, J et al. Evaluation of Invisalign treatment effectiveness and efficiency compared with conventional fixed appliances using the Peer Assessment Rating index. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop February 2017;151:259-66Buschang, P et al. Comparative time efficiency of aligner therapy and conventional edgewise braces. Angle Orthodontist, Vol 84, No 3, 2014
  2. Study sponsored by Align Technology and based on adult Class I, nonextraction, mild to moderate crowding cases with SmartTrack material. David W. White, Katie C. Julien, Helder Jacob, Phillip M. Campbell and Peter H. Buschang, Discomfort associated with Invisalign and traditional brackets: A randomized, prospective trial. The Angle Orthodontist Nov 2017, Vol. 87, No. 6 pp. 801-808
  3. Based on mild to moderate malocclusion (defined as crowding and spacing up to 6mm, and overjet and overbite up to 6mm and assuming one week wear), treatment times vary depending on Invisalign product type, wear time, case complexity and must be determined by your doctor. Data on file at Align Technology, as of September 9, 2020. Additional Info: Data based on total 1,236,123 primary orders accepted in Jan 2018- June 2020 globally. Product types included Invisalign Express, Go, Lite and Moderate products.