What to Expect During Your Invisalign Treatment: A Step-by-Step Guide

Invisalign® clear aligners were a revolutionary orthodontic treatment when they hit the market in the 90’s and have stayed a favorite since! In fact, there’s been an increase in their popularity among teens and adults since 2020. With these clear aligners offering a virtually invisible, comfortable, and discreet treatment, it’s no wonder there’s 1.6 million smiles being transformed by Invisalign – and the number keeps growing!

If you’re considering Invisalign for your smile, here’s what you can expect during your treatment – step by step.


Step 1: Invisalign consultation with a certified orthodontist

The first step in the Invisalign process is to schedule a consultation with an Invisalign doctor. While general dentists may offer Invisalign treatment too, an orthodontist has the specialized training to diagnose and treat your orthodontic condition(s) starting at the root!  

Dr. Matsumoto is a certified Invisalign provider and a Board-Certified Orthodontist and Periodontist (one of only a few in the entire country)! When you schedule a complimentary Invisalign consultation in Wilmington (NC), he’ll evaluate your teeth, jaws, and help determine whether Invisalign is the right treatment option for you. Included in your initial exam, are diagnostic photos and a CBCT scan which will show him the complete picture of your dental and craniofacial health. 


Step 2: Creating a Custom Treatment Plan

Using the images, scans, and notes from your orthodontic exam, Dr. Matusmoto and our friendly team will then present to you your custom smile transformation plan! This comprehensive plan will break down your treatment details, including the length of treatment, cost, and expected results.

If you decide to move forward with Invisalign, our team will get started on your treatment process right away. The first part is taking some digital scans of your teeth using a 3D intraoral scanner called iTero®. You’ll be able to see a cool 3D image of your teeth and gums being built as we take pictures using a handheld wand. This process takes about 5 minutes to complete and while Dr.Matsumoto reviews and solidifies your personalized treatment plan, we’ll be able to show you a simulated image of your expected smile results!


Step 3: Receiving your Invisalign aligners

Once your Invisalign treatment plan is finalized, your scan will be sent straight to the Invisalign labs from the iTero! 

Invisalign will then create a series of custom aligners that are designed just for your smile. Once your series of aligners come in, we’ll give you a call to come pick them up and walk you through instructions for wearing your Invisalign for the best possible smile results. 

Treatment with Invisalign takes an average of 12 and 18 months, depending on the complexity of your case. While everyone’s experience is unique, most people find that Invisalign is a comfortable and convenient way to straighten their teeth and achieve the smile they’ve always wanted!


Step 4: Wearing your Invisalign aligners

Once you’ve got your aligners and a welcome packet filled with resources, you’re ready to rock and roll.  

Wearing your Invisalign aligners is easy and comfortable! Simply insert the aligners over your teeth and wear them for 20 – 22 hours a day, removing them only to eat, brush, and floss. Because the aligners are made of smooth plastic, they won’t irritate your cheeks and gums like traditional braces can. About every 1 to 2 weeks, you’ll move on to the next set of aligners in your plan. Many Invisalign wearers start seeing results within 6 weeks!


Step 5: Monitoring your progress

Throughout your Invisalign treatment, you’ll have regular check-ins with Dr. Matsumoto to monitor your progress. These checkup appointments happen every 8 to 12 weeks. Your orthodontist will complete a fit check to see if your teeth are progressing as they projected. And our team may take additional scans or make any necessary treatment adjustments.

If you’ve got a busy lifestyle and prefer virtual appointments, we offer virtual check-ins via the Dental Monitoring app! 

How does it work? You’ll get a notification when your progress photos are due, set up your dental scan box with your phone, snap a few teeth selfies with your aligners in, and upload them to the app. Voilà!  (You can also use this app to communicate with our team if you have any questions or concerns about your aligners or treatment.)


Step 6: Finishing your treatment

Once you’ve finished your last set of aligners, your treatment is complete! And now it’s time for a very important phase – retention

Wearing a retainer after Invisalign is a must if you want to keep your beautiful new smile. Your retainer will hold your teeth in their new position while the ligaments and bone that holds your teeth heals from your smile journey. Retainer wear will be similar to your Invisalign wear for next 6 months – only taking them out for eating, brushing, or flossing. Then you’ll be able to switch to retainer wear for nights only! 


Have more questions about the Invisalign process?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re here to guide you through your treatment process to help you experience the greatest possible results. 

Before you begin treatment, Dr. Matsumoto and our experienced team will explain everything you need to know about your wearing, cleaning and caring for your Invisalign.

Ready to start your smile transformation? Request your complimentary exam with Matsumoto Orthodontics & Periodontics at our orthodontist office in Wilmington, NC, at Porters Neck.

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