How Invisalign Works: A Step-By-Step Guide to the Invisalign Process

Curious about how Invisalign works? Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from the initial consultation to the final results.

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding How Invisalign Works

Are you looking to straighten your teeth and achieve a confident smile? Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional braces and mail-in aligners. It offers a more discreet and comfortable way to straighten your teeth without the need for metal wires and brackets. Here we will provide a step-by-step guide to the Invisalign process, including what it is, how it works, and its benefits compared to other orthodontic treatments. We will also cover the cost of Invisalign and frequently asked questions about this innovative treatment. Now let's dive into the world of Invisalign and uncover why it may be the perfect fit for your smile.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a modern treatment in orthodontics that uses a series of clear, custom-made aligners to gradually move your teeth into their desired positions. Unlike traditional metal braces, which use brackets and wires, Invisalign aligners are made of smooth, virtually invisible plastic material. This means you can straighten your teeth without drawing unwanted attention to your smile.

There are many benefits of Invisalign. One of the key advantages of Invisalign is its removability. You can easily remove your aligners when you need to eat, drink, brush, or floss. This makes maintaining good oral hygiene during treatment much easier than traditional braces and greatly reduces or eliminates the risk of getting cavities during orthodontic treatment.

Invisalign vs. Braces

Now that we have a basic understanding of what Invisalign is, let's compare it to other teeth straightening options like traditional braces.

Appearance and Comfort

When it comes to appearance, Invisalign takes the lead. The clear aligners are barely noticeable, allowing you to smile confidently throughout your treatment. In contrast, traditional braces use metal brackets and wires that are more visible and may cause self-consciousness. Additionally, Invisalign aligners are smooth and comfortable, without any sharp edges that can irritate the inside of your mouth.

Maintenance and Oral Hygiene

Invisalign aligners are removable, which means you can eat any food you'd like and easily maintain your regular oral hygiene routine and ensure proper oral health. You can brush and floss your teeth just as you usually would. On the other hand, braces can limit the types of foods you can eat and make brushing and flossing more challenging due to the presence of wires and brackets, requiring additional tools like interdental brushes or floss threaders.

Treatment Duration

The length of your orthodontic treatment can vary depending on your specific dental needs. In general, Invisalign treatment tends to be faster than traditional braces in achieving straight teeth. While traditional braces usually take an average of two to three years, Invisalign treatment typically takes less time ranging from four months to two years, depending on the complexity of your case. During your consultation, your Invisalign-certified dentist will give you a personalized estimate for your treatment duration.

To help you visualize the differences between Invisalign and braces, refer to the Invisalign vs. Braces comparison chart.

Invisalign vs. Mail-in Aligners

In recent years, the orthodontic industry has seen the rise of mail-in aligner companies offering at-home teeth straightening solutions. While these alternatives may appear convenient and cost-effective, it's crucial to understand the key differences and advantages of professional treatments like Invisalign.

Customized Treatment Plan

One of the primary advantages of Invisalign is the customized treatment plan it offers. Invisalign treatment begins with a comprehensive consultation by a qualified dentist who will evaluate your teeth, bite, and overall oral health. Advanced 3D imaging technology is used to create a precise digital model of your teeth, enabling the creation of custom-made aligners that are tailored to your specific needs. This personalized approach ensures optimal treatment results and addresses complex alignment issues that may not be adequately addressed by generic mail-in aligners.

Professional Supervision

Invisalign treatment is administered and monitored by experienced dental professionals throughout the entire process. Your dentist will oversee your progress, making adjustments as necessary to ensure your teeth are moving correctly and efficiently. Regular check-ups and visits allow for thorough monitoring of your oral health, ensuring that any potential issues are addressed promptly. In contrast, mail-in aligner companies generally rely on self-assessment or remote monitoring, which may not provide the same level of professional oversight.

Complex Orthodontic Issues

Invisalign is designed to treat a wide range of orthodontic issues, including overcrowding, gaps between teeth, crossbites, overbites, and underbites. The advanced technology and treatment planning software used in Invisalign allows for the precise and controlled movement of teeth, even in complex cases. Mail-in aligner companies typically focus on mild to moderate alignment issues, often excluding complex cases that require professional intervention.

Reliable and Proven Technology

Invisalign has a long-standing reputation for its reliability and effectiveness. The technology behind Invisalign aligners is continuously evolving and backed by extensive research and clinical studies. As a result, Invisalign aligners have a proven track record of achieving predictable and successful outcomes. Mail-in aligner companies, while offering convenience, may lack the same level of scientific validation and clinical evidence.

Continued Support and Aftercare

After your Invisalign treatment is complete, your dentist will provide you with retainers to help maintain the results. Additionally, they will schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor the stability of your smile. This level of continued support and aftercare ensures that your investment in treatment lasts for years to come. Mail-in aligner companies may not offer the same level of post-treatment care or follow-up.

While mail-in aligners may seem attractive due to their convenience and lower cost, the advantages of Invisalign in terms of customization, professional supervision, treatment capabilities, comfort, reliability, and post-treatment care make it the superior choice for achieving optimal results. Consulting with a qualified dental professional will help determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs, ensuring a safe, effective, and long-lasting transformation of your smile.

Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign has been proven to effectively address a wide range of orthodontic issues, including overcrowding, gaps between teeth, and various bite problems. The aligners are designed to gradually shift your teeth into their ideal positions, guided by your Invisalign provider’s treatment plan.

According to an analysis published in the BMC Oral Health Journal in 2019, invisible aligners were found to offer several advantages over braces, including an efficacy rate that matched conventional braces accomplished in a shorter amount of time.

The effectiveness of Invisalign is also supported by a 96% customer satisfaction rate, along with thousands of real-smile transformations. Many individuals have achieved remarkable results with Invisalign, transforming their smiles and boosting their confidence. To see the incredible impact of Invisalign, take a look at these inspiring before and after photos:

As you can see, Invisalign has the potential to create significant improvements in the alignment of your teeth, leading to a more harmonious, new smile.

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

When considering any orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign, it's important to understand the factors that influence the cost. The cost of Invisalign treatment can vary based on several factors, including the complexity of the case which can affect treatment duration.

Does Insurance Cover Invisalign?

If you have dental insurance, it's important to check whether your plan covers orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign. Insurance coverage can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Coverage varies among insurance providers, but it's not uncommon for plans to include $1,500 to $2,000 in coverage toward Invisalign treatment. Contact your insurance provider directly to learn the specifics of your coverage.

How Much is Invisalign Without Insurance?

At Swish Dental the cost of Invisalign treatment is $6,450. Affordability is a common concern, and fortunately, there are various financing options available to make Invisalign treatment more accessible. Read the rest of this blog to discover a special discount on Invisalign at Swish!

Invisalign Financing Options

At Swish Dental, we offer financing options to help make Invisalign more affordable. These are the financing options we support:

  • Affirm Financing: Affirm is a popular financing option that allows you to split the cost of treatment into manageable monthly payments.
  • CareCredit: CareCredit is another widely used healthcare financing option that offers flexible payment plans for dental treatments, including Invisalign. It allows you to spread out the cost over time with low monthly payments.
  • Swish Smiles Membership: We offer membership plans that provide exclusive benefits and discounts for various treatments, including Invisalign. Our membership plan includes a $1,750 discount on Invisalign treatment.
  • In-House Financing: We also have in-house financing options where you can pay for your treatment in installments directly to our office. Our in-house financing terms include a 10-month repayment period with a 5% financing charge.

The Invisalign Process at Swish Dental

Step-by-Step Breakdown of Invisalign Treatment

  1. Initial Consultation: The journey begins with an initial consultation at Swish Dental. During this visit, your dentist will evaluate your teeth, discuss your goals, and determine if Invisalign is the right treatment option for you.
  2. 3D Scanning: Rather than traditional impressions, a 3D scan of your teeth will be taken using advanced technology. This scan allows for the creation of a precise digital model of your mouth so that your doctor can create a treatment plan based on your individual needs.
  3. Aligner Creation and Invisalign Delivery: Using the digital model, a series of custom aligner trays will be created specifically for your treatment. You will receive a set of aligners and instructions on how to wear and care for them. Patients typically switch to a new set of aligners every on to two weeks.
  4. Refinements: Invisalign treatment includes unlimited refinements, ensuring that your teeth reach their desired positions. Swish Dental considers all cases as comprehensive, meaning we will work on your full case from start to finish, regardless of your specific needs. This comprehensive approach provides a better patient experience, as Swish Dental ensures that you achieve the best results possible.
  5. Retainers for Life: Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, you’ll get Vivera retainers at Swish Dental for life. These reputable Invisalign retainers are designed to maintain the alignment of your teeth and can be obtained at Swish Dental for life.
  6. End of Treatment Extras: After you and your dentist are satisfied with your results you'll receive a complementary BOOST whitening and minor contouring to even out tooth surfaces so you can achieve your best smile!

Regular Check-ups and Aligner Changes

Throughout your Invisalign treatment, regular check-ups with your dentist at Swish Dental are essential. These check-ups allow your dentist to monitor your progress, make any necessary adjustments, and provide you with new aligner trays as your treatment progresses. Following your dentist's instructions and attending these check-ups will help ensure the success of your Invisalign treatment.

What's Special About Invisalign at Swish Dental

At Swish Dental, there are a few unique aspects to our Invisalign treatment:

Vivera Retainers for Life: By receiving Invisalign treatment at Swish Dental, you’ll get access to purchase Vivera Retainers for Life.

Diamond-Plus Provider: Swish Dental is a certified Diamond-Plus Invisalign provider. This is the top status that an Invisalign provider can achieve as it requires that a provider complete 200 cases every 6 months. 

We always strive to offer top-notch service and will continue to work with you until you have achieved your dream smile!

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

The duration of Invisalign treatment can vary depending on individual cases. On average, treatment time is typically between 8 to 10 months with some taking as little as 4 months. However, in more complex cases, it may take up to 24 months to achieve the desired results. It's important to consult with your dentist at Swish Dental to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific needs.


Invisalign offers an innovative and effective solution for achieving a straighter smile. Throughout this blog post, we've discussed the benefits of Invisalign, the cost considerations, and the treatment process, and addressed frequently asked questions. If you're ready to transform your smile, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Swish Dental. Our experienced team will provide personalized guidance and create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

Take the next step toward your dream smile. Mention this blog post to receive $1,750 off your Invisalign treatment (cannot be combined with other offers). Don't wait any longer – schedule your Invisalign consultation with Swish Dental today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As you consider Invisalign as a teeth-straightening option, you may have some common questions and concerns. Let's address a few of these FAQs to provide you with more information:

Is Invisalign worth it?

Invisalign offers numerous advantages, such as a virtually invisible appearance, removability, and easier maintenance compared to traditional braces. It can address various orthodontic issues, providing a more comfortable and convenient teeth-straightening experience. Many patients find Invisalign to be worth the investment due to the benefits it offers.

Do you have to wear Invisalign 24/7?

To achieve the best results, it is recommended to wear your Invisalign aligners for a minimum of 20-22 hours per day. The aligners should only be removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Consistent wear of your aligners will ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign treatment involves a series of custom aligner trays that gradually shift your teeth into the desired position. These aligners are made using advanced technology and are designed to be switched out approximately every week. Each new set of aligners will continue the movement of your teeth until the desired alignment is achieved. For a detailed step-by-step breakdown of the Invisalign process, refer to the earlier sections of this blog post.

Does Invisalign hurt?

Invisalign treatment is generally more comfortable compared to traditional braces. Some patients may experience temporary discomfort or pressure when transitioning to a new set of aligners, but it typically subsides within a few days. Invisalign aligners are designed to fit snugly and minimize irritation.

How to clean Invisalign?

Keeping your Invisalign aligners clean is important for maintaining good oral hygiene. Rinse your aligners with lukewarm water before wearing them or after removing them. It's recommended to brush your aligners gently with a soft toothbrush and mild toothpaste to remove any buildup. Avoid using hot water, as it can warp the aligners. Additionally, Swish Dental can provide specific instructions on how to clean your aligners effectively.

How much does Invisalign cost in Austin, TX?

The cost of Invisalign in Austin, TX can vary based on individual cases and dental providers. Here at Swish, the standard Invisalign cost is $6,450. However, we frequently run promotions on our Invisalign treatments and offer flexible and convenient financing plans. Additionally, insurance coverage may help offset the cost of Invisalign treatment. It's recommended to schedule a consultation with Swish Dental to receive an accurate cost estimate tailored to your specific needs.

Clinical Content Reviewed By:
Dr. Brendan Loehr DMD
Last Modified:
January 5, 2024