What is Invisalign: Straightening Your Teeth Without the Metal

Having misaligned or crowded teeth can affect our overall quality of life. You may avoid smiling or speaking in public and even feel self-conscious about your appearance.

Invisalign clear aligners are an increasingly popular way to straighten teeth without metal wires, rubber bands, and metal brackets in your mouth. Unlike traditional metal braces, these plastic aligners are almost transparent and are removable.

But what is Invisalign used for, and what makes it better than traditional braces? 

What is Invisalign?

The Invisalign dentistry system is a clear aligner system that uses 3D computer imaging technology to create custom-made aligners. They are practically invisible, more comfortable, and removable for brushing and flossing. This makes them popular among adults and teens who want to improve their smile without paying attention to their treatment.

What Does Invisalign Look Like?

An Invisalign aligner is slightly textured to mimic the appearance of natural teeth and is not as glossy as some other products. It is also trimmed based on your gum line for comfort and appearance, and the edge looks like the natural gum line.

What Is Invisalign Made of?

Invisalign aligners are made from a patented thermoplastic material called SmartTrack, created exclusively for Invisalign. This flexible plastic is medical-grade and is known as a multilayer aromatic thermoplastic polyurethane/copolyester.

In addition to the clear aligners, Invisalign treatment may also involve the use of attachments, which are made of dental composite – the same combination of acrylic resin and glass used for creating permanent fixtures like bridges.

What Does Invisalign Do?

Invisalign works similarly to traditional braces by applying gentle pressure to your teeth over time. The treatment involves wearing a series of custom-made aligners designed to shift your teeth into their optimal position. Each set of aligners is worn for about two weeks before being replaced with the next set in the series.

To achieve your desired results, wear your aligners at least 20 to 22 hours a day. You can only remove them when eating or drinking hot, cold, or colored beverages.

Here’s what Invisalign aligner trays can address:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Gap teeth
  • Open bite
  • Crooked teeth

It’s important to note that Invisalign does not correct severe dental issues or complex cases. It’s because severe malocclusions may require more precise control over tooth movement that traditional braces can offer. Also, some orthodontic adjustments are intricate and need a higher level of control provided by fixed appliances like conventional braces.

What Are Invisalign Pros and Cons

Like any dental procedure, this orthodontic treatment has its pros and cons.


  • Nearly invisible. As the name suggests, Invisalign aligners are almost undetectable. To answer a common question
  • Removable. You can take out your aligners when eating, brushing, or for special occasions.
  • No food restrictions. Because you can remove them when eating, you can eat everything you want.
  • Comfortable. Invisalign aligners are made from a flexible thermoplastic material, which makes them more comfortable than metal braces.


  • Requires discipline. Since the aligners are removable, wearing them for the recommended 20-22 hours a day requires commitment.
  • Not suitable for everyone. Invisalign may not be the best option for severe orthodontic issues.

Remember that even if Invisalign allows you to consume everything you want, you still need to avoid foods and beverages that cause damage to your natural teeth. For instance, chewy foods that are sticky and sugary can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Who Are Good Candidates of Invisalign?

  • Have a straightforward case. As mentioned, Invisalign may not be ideal for complex cases of orthodontic issues.
  • Responsible. Invisalign requires discipline to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours per day. This means you should only remove them when eating, drinking anything other than water, brushing, and flossing.
  • Have good oral hygiene discipline. Keeping your teeth and aligners clean is important to avoid problems like cavities and gum disease.
  • Do not smoke or be willing to quit. Smoking can stain the aligners, and the nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can harm the structure of Invisalign and cause various oral health issues
  • Have healthy gum tissue. If you have gum disease, it needs to be treated before starting Invisalign. 

How Much Does Invisalign Treatment Cost?

The cost of Invisalign treatment varies depending on the complexity of your case, your dentist and location, and treatment duration. On average, Invisalign costs between $3,000 to $5,000. Contact your dentist to get a more accurate estimate.

In addition, some dental insurance plans may cover Invisalign treatment, often similar to how these plans cover traditional braces. The amount of coverage can vary, with some plans covering anywhere from 25% to 50% of the cost of your Invisalign treatment. Also, the level of coverage depends on the specific insurance plan. It’s always safe to ask your insurance company before your treatment to avoid financial surprises.

If you don’t have insurance, ask your dentist if they offer flexible payment plans like monthly installments.

How Is Invisalign Different From Braces?

Here’s a table of comparison, showing how Invisalign differs from traditional braces:

Attribute Invisalign Traditional Braces
Appearance Nearly invisible, clear plastic aligners Visible metal brackets and wires
Comfort Generally more comfortable Can cause discomfort due to wires and brackets
Hygiene Easier to clean as they can be removed Harder to clean around brackets and wires
Frequency of Visits Fewer visits required Regular orthodontist visits are needed for adjustments
Treatment Time Shorter treatment time, but varies depending on the case Longer treatment time, but can vary
Force of Movement All-around force on teeth, limited in how much teeth can be moved at a time More force to move teeth into the desired position
Cost Generally more expensive Usually less expensive
Emergency Appointments Results in fewer emergency appointments Potential for more emergency appointments due to broken wires or brackets

Note that the effectiveness of either treatment can depend on the complexity of the case and the patient’s compliance with the treatment plan.

Start Your Beautiful Smile Journey By Booking an Initial Consultation With Us

Invisalign provides a modern, discreet, and convenient option for straightening your teeth. We recommend consulting with an Invisalign-trained dentist or orthodontist if you’re interested in what Invisalign can do for you. They can answer your questions, assess your oral health, determine whether Invisalign is the right choice for you, and develop a custom treatment plan.

Why wait to start your journey towards straighter teeth? Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn if it’s right for you. Our dentists in Bowie have years of experience providing this procedure and will answer any questions about the process and its cost.