Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Invisalign Aligners and How do They Work?

What do They do and How do They Work?

Invisalign provides an almost invisible treatment, focusing on slowly and gradually straightening your teeth. By using a series of custom clear aligners, your teeth will shift into the desired position without any uncomfortable or undesirable brackets or wires.

What do the Clear Aligners Look Like and What Material are They Made of?

The aligners are made of flexible plastic, are MHRA/FDA-approved and contain no BPA, BPS, latex, or gluten. These aligners are thin and clear and are designed to fit snugly over your teeth whilst being almost completely invisible.

How Will Clear Braces Straighten My Teeth?

Our specialists will create a unique digital treatment plan mapping out how your teeth will move. By taking moulds of your teeth, your dentist will then create custom aligners for you to wear that are unique to your teeth. These aligners are designed to apply the right amount of force to your teeth to shift them into the correct position.

Depending on your teeth and the desired amount of time the treatment will last, your aligners will be designed to move your teeth accordingly. Your dentist will also be with you every step of the way to monitor your progress and help answer any question or provide further information.

What are the Treatment Benefits With Using Invisalign?

The clear aligners are almost completely invisible, which is a huge factor for most people. The main positive with using aligners is the ability to remove them when needed, whether it’s for eating food, brushing and flossing teeth, or even for a special occasion. As there are no metal brackets and wires, you will be able to avoid most emergency visits that more traditional metal braces can bring.

Am I Guaranteed to Have Straight Teeth with Invisalign?

As every smile is unique, it’s important to have that first consultation with your specialist dentist. They will be able to advise you on your specific teeth and determine what these aligners can do for you.

Some treatments can also take longer depending on the structure of your teeth and any dental problems you might be facing. Your specialist will be able to advise you on your options and provide a detailed treatment plan.

What Problems Can Clear Braces Fix?

Invisalign can help with a variety of orthodontic problems such as:

  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Overcrowding

Who Are Clear Aligners Designed For?

Are Clear Braces Right for Me?

The answer is yes, clear braces can be the ideal solution for both adults and teens looking to improve their smile. These braces are virtually invisible, innovatively designed and are a brilliant solution to fixing nearly all common teeth straightening dental problems. Some of the main benefits of using clear aligners are that they are very discreet and cause little disruption to your everyday life.

This treatment is very independent, with a detailed plan specifying when to change to a new aligner. The process is easily monitored by the patient or by parents whose children are patients. Your dentist will also be available throughout the straightening process for guidance and support.

Is There an Age Limit for Orthodontic Treatment?

Although it is easier to shape the teeth of a younger patient, we have treated patients that have come from all walks of life. This means that we can treat you as long as your teeth and gums are still healthy.

When is the Best Time for my Child to see an Orthodontist?

If your child has an orthodontic problem, it's best for your child to be seen as early as possible. This helps to avoid more difficult treatments being needed in the future. The NHS recommends that you take your child to see a dentist when their first milk teeth appear. This means we can spot early problems and your child can become familiar with the environment.

What is the Treatment Process?

What is the Treatment Process?

By booking a free consultation with one of our specialists, we will be able to create a detailed treatment plan to suit your unique teeth and your lifestyle. Your dentist will evaluate your smile and map out a custom digital treatment plan to showcase the steps you can take to finally have your ideal smile.

Following an in-depth discussion and your approval of the plan, your specialist dentist will take moulds of your teeth which will then help to create your customised clear aligners. Each set of aligners will need to be worn for 20-22 hours a day and changed to a new set after 1-2 weeks, depending on your dentist’s advice.

By switching to new aligners every couple of weeks, your teeth will have the chance to gradually move into the desired position, giving you a new and beautiful smile.

How Can I Get Started With Clear Braces Treatment?

By booking a free no-obligation consultation, our team of professionals will connect you with one of our specialist orthodontists who can answer all of the questions you might have. Your dentist will assess your teeth and create a treatment plan for your unique smile.

Can I Go to Any Dentist or Orthodontist for Invisalign Treatment?

Both dentists and orthodontists are oral care specialists, intending to care for your smile and provide treatment for your unique teeth. An orthodontist has completed more in-depth and advanced training to focus on the specialist field of orthodontics.

To provide Invisalign treatments, an orthodontist will additionally need more specialised training, meaning that only an Invisalign-trained orthodontist can provide this treatment.

What is a Specialist Orthodontist?

Orthodontics is a specialist area within dentistry. It focuses on fixing irregularities with the teeth and jaw. Most commonly, specialist orthodontics works to straighten teeth with a variety of different types of braces.

The difference between a specialist and a dentist is predominantly the amount of training that they've had in the role. For a dentist to become an orthodontist, they must have additional training after completing their dentistry course.

If I Have a Dentist, Why Do I Need to See a Specialist?

Dentists can have a lower level of expertise than a specialist when it comes to discerning significant orthodontic problems. This can directly affect you as the patient, as your treatment may be uncomfortable and take longer than expected when being carried out by a non-specialist.

What Should I Bring to My First Consultation?

It’s always good to prepare, so try to come with questions at hand. Our specialists will be happy to answer any questions you might have, to help you feel as comfortable as possible. If we have emailed you any forms, please bring these along to your consultation.

What Should I Expect During My Consultation?

At your first consultation, your orthodontic specialist will discuss your teeth-straightening goals, whilst also examining your teeth and smile. You will then be provided with a custom treatment plan highlighting your specific orthodontic problems and needs, treatment options and the overall cost. Our specialists will ensure that you feel comfortable with the treatment before anything moves forward.

During your appointment, your dentist will likely advise scheduling a dental check-up and cleaning before starting treatment, ensuring your teeth and mouth are healthy and ready to go. This will also help to rule out any bigger problems such as gum disease, to avoid unnecessary risks before and during treatment.

How Long is Treatment Likely to Take?

As every patient’s teeth and needs are different, treatment times may vary. One factor is how often a patient wears their aligners. At the beginning of your treatment process, your dentist will determine exactly how long your treatment will take based on your unique needs. Some treatments can take longer than others and some patients with more severe dental problems could experience a longer treatment process.

As an example, Invisalign treatment lasts between 12-18 months, although many patients tend to see results within a few weeks. If you stick to the treatment plan, wear and change your aligners accordingly, then you are likely to have faster results.

How Often Will I Need to Change My Aligners?

Your bespoke treatment plan will help you determine when it is time to change your aligners. Your dentist will also be involved in guiding you to change your aligners when the time is right. Most orthodontists will recommend changing to a new set of aligners weekly or every other week.

How Often Should I Wear My Aligners?

If you are seeking amazing and quick results, you must wear your aligners 20-22 hours a day. Similar to more traditional metal braces, clear braces are designed to be worn for long periods of time for your teeth to be consistently moving.

The main positive of having a treatment such as Invisalign is the fact that you can take off your aligners to eat, floss and brush your teeth, which will make things a little bit easier and keep your teeth nice and clean.

How Often Will I Need to See My Dentist?

Another benefit of the Invisalign system is that unlike more traditional metal braces, you will not need as frequent appointments with your orthodontist. You are also less likely to need extra emergency appointments than with traditional metal braces. Your dentist will only need to see you every 4-6 weeks and these appointments will mainly focus on checking to ensure your aligners are comfortable and are working properly.

Will I Need to Miss Work to go to Appointments?

We will always do our best to ensure that appointment times work around your needs and requirements. We offer Saturday appointments to help with this.

I Was Told I Might Need “Attachments”, What Are They and Why Would I Need Them for My Treatment?

Aligners could potentially require additional tooth-coloured attachments to provide you with the best results. Frequently, Invisalign attachments are used to help with more complex tooth movements instead of using static metal braces. By using these attachments, the aligners can have the right amount of force to successfully and quickly move your teeth.

For those patients who will need to use these extra attachments, your dentist will simply place them on your teeth at the start of the treatment and remove them when they are no longer needed. Your clear aligners should fit snuggly over them providing a seamless look.

Can I Have Clear Braces Only on My Top or Bottom Teeth, Instead of Both?

For those looking to only correct the more noticeable dental problems, there are various treatment options available to provide only top or only bottom clear braces. We are very able to work around your individual needs, so make sure you specify what you desire at your first consultation.

How Much Does Invisalign Cost and What are the Finance Options?

How Much do Clear Aligners Cost?

For most people, the cost of Invisalign will be similar to more traditional metal braces. At your first consultation, your orthodontic specialist will be able to determine how much your treatment will cost. The price can vary depending on how complex your case is and how many aligners you will need throughout your treatment.

Are Clear Braces More Expensive Than Traditional Metal Braces?

Invisalign treatment tends to cost about the same as metal braces. Depending on the patient and whether they have more complex needs, treatment prices could fluctuate up and down.

Will My Treatment Be Covered by My Insurance?

Every insurance plan is different, though many dental insurance plans do cover Invisalign treatment the same way they cover braces. Some insurance companies pay a certain percentage of the treatment cost while others could contribute a specific amount of money to the overall treatment costs.

Are There Any Payment Options Available for Clear Braces/Aligners?

There are ways to make treatments more affordable. To allow all of our patients to receive the treatment they need, there are several finance options which are open to you when considering orthodontic treatment. At Specialist Orthodontist Harley Street, we offer payment plans which range from a period of 12 months to 60 months. This will allow a great deal of flexibility in monthly prices for our patients.

Why Should I Feel Confident About Choosing Invisalign?

How Many People Have Used Invisalign?

Invisalign treatment is one of the most popular orthodontic treatments. With over 8 million people choosing Invisalign clear aligners to transform their smiles, the treatment speaks for itself.

How Does Invisalign Differ from Other Teeth Straightening Treatments?

Invisalign treatment involves the use of cutting-edge align technology to design your smile specifically for you. As an orthodontist needs extensive Invisalign training, our team of specialists have vast levels of qualifications and experience and can provide superb service with desired results.

Why Should I try Orthodontic Treatment?

If you have a problem with your bite, this can cause further problems including discomfort and fatigue. If left long enough, it could potentially need surgery to fix which can be costly depending on the scale of the damage. Orthodontics can help to avoid this by correcting your bite before you need more serious treatment.

Will it be An Issue if I’ve Had Braces or Other Types of Dental Work?

I am Currently Wearing Fixed Braces. Can I Make the Switch to Clear Braces?

There is a strong possibility that you will be able to make the switch. Many dentists treat patients with a combination of static braces and Invisalign aligners, the best way to find out is to consult your orthodontist. They will be able to explain your options and create a unique treatment plan for your smile.

I Used to Have Metal Braces but Since They Have Been Removed, my Teeth Have Shifted. Can Invisalign Treatment Help to Fix This?

Yes! Whether it’s more simple or complex problems, clear aligners can treat almost all common teeth-straightening issues. Many patients who have had static metal braces in the past choose to additionally use treatments such as Invisalign to help re-straighten their smile in later years. As our teeth can shift later on in life, clear braces and Invisalign aligners are a brilliant and discreet option to freshen up your smile.

Will Clear Braces or Invisalign Aligners Work if I Already Have Veneers or Crowns?

It depends. The best thing to do is to consult your dentist and inform them of the dental work you have had. Your orthodontist will then be able to evaluate your individual needs and provide possible solutions and treatment options.

What if I Have Bridgework on Several Teeth, Will Clear Braces and/or Clear Aligners Still be Effective?

As clear braces/aligners are designed to move each tooth individually, bridgework could cause the treatment to be ineffective. Bridgework works to connect two or more teeth, so this would block the movement that clear braces or Invisalign aligners would be trying to do. By discussing this with your dentist, they can advise you on the best path to take.

How Will Clear Braces/Aligners Affect My Life?

Can People Tell That I’m Wearing Braces?

Clear braces and aligners are designed to be incredibly discreet. For many of our adult patients, they are wanting to straighten their teeth later on in life and do not want anything too obvious. Clear braces and aligners are virtually invisible and seamlessly fit into your lifestyle. Most people will not even notice that you are wearing them.

Can I Remove My Aligners Whenever I Need To?

The short answer is yes. Clear aligners are designed to give the patient freedom to take them off, particularly during eating, drinking, brushing and flossing. You may also decide to take them off for special occasions like a wedding or a job interview.

The important thing to remember is that these aligners are more effective the more you wear them. Orthodontists will advise you to wear them 20-22 hours a day as standard.

Are There Any Restrictions on the Food That I can Eat During Treatment?

None whatsoever. As clear aligners are fully removable, you will not have to worry about food disrupting the treatment. Static metal braces can easily break or need replacing due to the consumption of certain foods, whereas clear braces and Invisalign provide more freedom to the patient, as they can simply be taken off before eating food. This will keep both the teeth and the aligners cleaner overall.

How Much Discomfort Will Invisalign Cause and Will the Treatment be Painful?

As with all teeth straightening treatments, the main focus is on getting your teeth to move into the desired position. For some, their braces can hurt and cause more discomfort than for others. Clear aligners and Invisalign treatment apply gentle, constant force to your teeth and some patients could experience temporary discomfort for the first few days of wearing a new set of aligners.

Most people would describe it as a feeling of ‘’pressure’’ which is completely normal and simply means that your aligners are doing their job and transforming your smile. If you do experience more severe discomfort or have any concerns about the treatment, please contact your dentist.

Is it Normal for My Teeth to Feel Loose When I Remove My Aligners?

Yes, it is. Your aligners are designed to gradually shift your teeth and this causes your gums to re-form around each tooth as it moves. This will at times create some looseness before the gums have properly encased the tooth in its new position. Be sure to contact your dentist about any concerns you might have in regards to the severe looseness of teeth.

Will the Treatment Still Work if I Only Wear My Aligners While I Sleep?

Clear braces and aligners are designed to be worn 20-22 hours a day. To get your desired results, you need to wear the aligners for the correct amount of time.

Will My Speech be Affected When I Wear My Aligners?

Since you will have an extra item surrounding your teeth, it may take you a few days to get used to the aligners. Your tongue will not be used to having the extra material in your mouth, so you could attain a slight lisp for a short period. This should disappear quickly as your mouth gets used to the braces.

If I Smoke, Will it Stain My Aligners?

The short answer is yes, smoking can cause staining. We strongly discourage smoking while wearing the aligners.

Will Chewing Gum Ruin My Aligners?

Chewing gum is not advised whilst using clear braces/aligners, as it will stick to the braces, proving very difficult to clean. Orthodontists recommend removing your aligners for all meals and snacks, including gum.

Can My Clear Braces/Aligners Fall Out While I Am Sleeping?

This is a very unlikely scenario. Clear aligners are designed to fit snuggly over your teeth, to successfully move them. If they were loose, they would not effectively straighten your teeth. Whether you are sleeping, talking, laughing, or anything else, these aligners should stay firmly on your teeth, causing no reason for concern.

I Forgot to Take My Aligners with Me on a Trip. Will They Still Fit My Teeth?

This fully depends on the length of a break you have had from wearing your aligners. If it is a short trip i.e. only a few days, your aligners should fit, but they could feel slightly uncomfortable. If you have not worn them for a longer period, you must contact your dentist, as you will need more specialised assistance.

How Do I Clean and Take Care of My Aligners?

How Do I Clean My Aligners?

Your dentist can likely provide you with a cleaning kit for you to maintain and clean your aligners. Another good way to clean them is by using a normal toothbrush and toothpaste to brush them, followed by rinsing the aligners in lukewarm water. You mustn’t use hot water, as this could permanently warp the plastic.

Will My Aligners Become Stained if I Have Food Residue in My Mouth When I Put Them Back In?

Yes, certain foods in particular like blueberries and pasta sauce are likely to stain your aligners. You must brush after every meal before you put your aligners back on.

Do I Need to Sterilize My Aligners if They Have Been Dropped in an Unsanitary Place?

Yes! You must always ensure your aligners are clean and hygienic before placing them in your mouth. You can use Cleaning Crystals to keep your aligners clear, clean and hygienic. Cleaning Crystals can remove plaque in as little as 15 minutes and are easy to find online. You mustn’t use hot water whilst cleaning your aligners, as this could permanently warp the plastic, ruining the aligner altogether.

What Do I Do If I Break or Lose an Aligner?

If you lose or break an aligner, you need to immediately contact your dentist and let them know. Your orthodontist will do all they can to help you stay on track with your treatment plan. This could involve wearing an older set of aligners, starting a new set of aligners, or ordering a replacement. Your dentist will discuss your options with you and find a solution.

If I Need a Replacement, Can I Order New Aligners Online?

Clear braces and Invisalign aligners are considered prescription items, which means that replacements can only be authorised and ordered through your orthodontist. If you need a replacement, please contact your dentist directly.

What Happens After My Treatment Has Finished?

How do I Prevent My Teeth from Moving Again, Will I Need to Wear a Retainer AfterTreatment Has Finished?

It is commonly recommended by dentists that everyone who has completed any orthodontic treatment use a retainer to prevent their teeth from gradually shifting back. Whether you’ve had braces or Invisalign, your teeth are likely to move back to their initial position unless you wear a retainer regularly. As every case is different, you will need to discuss your options with your orthodontist.

Is There a Specific Type of Retainer I Should Use?

Your dentist will be able to advise you on the various types of retainers. As there are several different options, your orthodontist will be able to suggest the best fit depending on your teeth and budget.

How Much Will My Retainers Cost?

There are various types of retainers and pricing can be based on your individual needs and the technical grade of the retainer. You can contact your dentist for more information on different retainers and what would best suit you.

How Do I Order My Retainers?

You will need to order retainers through your dentist. Most retainer sets will also include an extra set, in case you lose one.

How Long Will I Have to Use Retainers for and How Many Hours a Day?

Your orthodontist will talk you through your retainer process, giving you specific instructions on how often you will need to wear your retainers. Most dentists will request you wear your first set full time, to give your teeth more time to fully settle into their new positions. Based on your Orthodontist’s recommendations, you will gradually reduce the amount of time you wear your retainers until you reach the point of only wearing them at night.

What Do I Do if I Lose My Retainer?

Contact your orthodontist as quickly as possible. If you lose or break your retainer and do not have a replacement, your dentist will be able to help you purchase a new one.

Why Choose a Specialist Orthodontist?

Specialist orthodontists are dentists who have more training and experience providing orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign. Patients that receive orthodontics from a specialist find that their treatment is of higher quality, they finish treatment much sooner, and the level of care they receive is much higher.

Due to advances in aligner technology, we no longer offer fixed braces as a treatment option. Our specialists have found that removable aligners such as Invisalign are more likely to result in successful treatment, and are safer for the patient compared to traditional braces. Even if you have been told that fixed are your only option by other practitioners; our specialists are confident we will be able to treat your orthodontic problems using this modern treatment.

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