Am I eligible for Invisalign?

As it becomes more popular and as a wider range of treatments are included in the system, it becomes more suitable for a wider range of people… But how do you know if you are eligible for Invisalign?

In this article we’ll take a look through the different options available for people with different dental problems and of different ages.

The different types of Invisalign

There are primarily 3 different types of Invisalign:

  • Invisalign full
  • Invisalign i7, Invisalign lite or Invisalign Express
  • Invisalign teen

Let’s look at each and a little more detail

Invisalign full.

This is generally suitable for adults requiring orthodontic treatment to have straighter teeth using invisible braces. It will often move front teeth and back teeth on the top and bottom at the same time. Invisalign full treatments typically take anywhere from 1 -3 years.

Invisalign i7, Invisalign Lite or Invisalign Express

This is suitable for adults requiring more minor and rapid teeth straightening, typically of the front teeth only.  The official name is Invisalign i7 however different practices call this treatment different names, including Invisalign Lite and Invisalign Express.

It may be that you have a single tooth or a couple of teeth that have bothered you for a while and you would like them straighter. Invisalign i7 treatments typically take around 3 months.

Invisalign teen

Invisalign teen is based on the same Invisalign principle of using clear orthodontic aligners however, the teen braces have a Smart Track ™ material making them a little more comfortable and easier to take on and off.

They also have Smart Force™ attachments which are little tooth coloured shapes which are attached to the teeth, this gives something for the aligners to grip, enabling them to move the teeth more predictably. They effectively work like little handles for the aligner.

Invisalign teen also has blue indicators which change depending on the amount of time the aligner is worn, this allows the parents and orthodontist to track compliance of the Child to ensure the braces are being worn for the specified amount of time.

Invisalign Teen Compliance Indicator

Who can wear Invisalign?

Invisalign is suitable for any adult or child who wishes to straighten teeth invisibly. Adults will normally have Invisalign full for complex cases or Invisalign Lite to move front teeth only. Younger people will usually be prescribed Invisalign teen as this is more suitable for their age.

Because Invisalign is completely clear and virtually imperceptible it is suitable for anyone wishing to have straighter teeth with no one knowing they are wearing braces.

5 benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign are clear!

  1. Virtually imperceptible.
  2. Removable, giving you the flexibility to take them out to eat and drink as well as to clean the aligners.
  3. Comfortable, made from a flexible material with no sharp brackets or wires to cause ulcers.
  4. Convenient, providing treatments in as little as 3 months.
  5. Predictable, using the latest 3-D technology to scan your teeth beforehand, provide you with an animated video of how your teeth will move plus track this movement throughout treatment.

Playing musical instruments

Playing musical instruments with any orthodontic treatment can sometimes be a challenge and you may have to adapt your embouchure. One of the big advantages of Invisalign is that you can take the aligner out to play your instrument, although it is worth bearing in mind that the aligners should be worn for at least 22 hours a day.

Some wind instruments, for example a clarinet may require the mouthpiece to be adapted or replaced after orthodontic treatment if it has become worn with other tooth marks that have moved from how the mouthpiece has worn.

How can I get Invisalign?

Because Invisalign is considered a cosmetic treatment it is not available on the NHS. Even if tooth alignment can be shown to be affecting health then the NHS will only provide traditional braces with metal and wires. Any treatment which has any cosmetic element, including clear orthodontics will need to be paid for privately.

Most practices offer affordable finance for Invisalign, typically this could bring treatment down to £42 per month * or just over £1 per day, less than the price of a cup of coffee!

The Invisalign process starts with a digital smile assessment using the Clincheck software, this can then work out the number of aligners you will require and how long treatment takes. This then dictates the final price.

You then have a digital scan of your teeth, Align Technology then manufacturer the aligners and send them back to your dentist, you then wear each aligner for approximately 2 weeks and then change it for a new one. This process continues throughout treatment.

You will always be closely monitored by your dentist to ensure treatment is progressing as planned and that you have no unforeseen problems.

Eligibility for Invisalign

Clinically this is determined by your dental health and current tooth position. You need to be dentally fit and healthy in order to move teeth, if you have good oral hygiene then you will usually be suitable for Invisalign treatment.


*  Total cost of Invisalign, £2500. £500 deposit and then finance for £2000. Subject to status. Conditions apply. Representative example. Cash price of goods/amount of credit £200060 monthly payments of £42.00; Total amount repayable £2520.22; Representative 9.9% APR variable.



How to Find an Orthodontist in Essex

How to find an orthodontist

The most important questions to ask when looking for an orthodontist

If you have crooked teeth and live in the Essex, Hornchurch area then you may well be looking for an orthodontist to help you straighten crooked teeth with braces.

But how do you know which dentist/orthodontist is best?

How do you know if you will get the treatment and service you are looking for?

In this blog post we go through some of the questions that we recommend you ask a dentist in order to help you decide if this is the right person for you.

How many years experience do you have?

The more cases your dentist or orthodontist have seen then the more likely it is they will be able to recognise the best course of treatment for you. There will also be more aware of potential problems which can arise from each of the different types of treatment, this means an experienced dentist or orthodontist may help you to avoid unforeseen problems in the future.

Which orthodontic systems do you offer?

There are a wide variety of orthodontic brace systems on the market, some systems are able to move teeth great distances, including back teeth. Some braces are more focused around the cosmetic anterior teeth.

Some systems offer rapid orthodontics whilst others offer low-cost and cheaper braces.

Whilst even more systems offer imperceptible orthodontics using clear aligners, clear brackets with tooth coloured wires or brackets on the tongue side of your teeth.

Ideally, visiting an Essex dentist which offers the widest range of orthodontic systems means you get the biggest choice and a system perfectly tailored to your requirements, clinical situation and budget.

Can you show me before and after photographs of previous cases you have treated.

Being able to see before and after photographs of cases similar to your own is a great way to understand the kind of results you can expect to achieve.

Be clear about what it is you want to correct, do you feel your top teeth stick out too much (overbite)? Is it that your top teeth are rotated and look crowded? Or something else? When you go to visit your orthodontist or dentist be very specific about what it is you don’t like and ask to see similar cases that they have treated before.

Can you show me reviews that patients have written about your orthodontic treatment?

Any good dental practice will gather together reviews and testimonials by happy patients. The key thing here is to see the reviews that have been left by patients that have specifically had orthodontics. That way you know that your dentist or orthodontist comes specifically recommended for the braces they offer.

How long will each treatment take?

Treatment times vary incredibly between different types of braces, anything from 9 weeks up to a couple of years! It really depends on the type of system and your clinical situation coupled with what you want to achieve.

Being very clear about how long you want the treatment to take, or even if you want it to be finished by a specific date or event can be really helpful when looking for an orthodontist to ensure you find one that offers braces which fitting with your timescale requirements.

What are the payment options for treatment?

As with many things in life orthodontic treatments can often be quite expensive. Asking about payment plans such as monthly or staged amounts or even 0% finance can make treatments much more affordable. Many orthodontic systems can be made available from as little as £42* per month.

How frequent will my follow-up visits the throughout the treatment?

Different dentists, orthodontists and braces systems have different follow-up protocols. Understanding how many times you may need to visit the dentist and how often can have a big impact on which dentist or orthodontist you choose.

In order to find this out you may find you need to have an initial consultation so that your clinician can take a look at the clinical situation and you can have a discussion about which brace system is right for you.

You will however typically need to visit the orthodontist or dentist once every 4-6 weeks for most orthodontic systems.

What levels of service and care will I receive?

We all know that service really matters, so what’s important to you about the service you receive? Would you like to communicate with the practice by phone, text or e-mail? Does the dentist or orthodontist offer the communication preferences you prefer?

Many practices offer online booking of appointments, is this important for you?

When you visit the practice, are you looking for a practice that is modern and new with the most up-to-date equipment?

Be clear about what it is you want to receive and what’s important to you, you can then look for clues as to whether the practice can offer this as well as asking them directly.

What hours do you open?

Many people work long and unsocial hours. If you need an orthodontist in Essex, local to you,  then it’s important to find one that fits around your schedule.

Ask about early mornings and late evening appointments, you may also find that some practices offer Saturday appointments which can be useful if you live locally.

The last thing you want is a dentist where you are required to visit once every four weeks at appointment times that don’t fit in with your schedule, that can mean that your orthodontic appointments come delay and treatment times can then extend beyond what you initially expect.

*Subject to status. Conditions apply. Representative example. Cash price of braces £2000; 60 monthly payments of £42; total amount repayable £2520.22; representative 9.9% APR variable

Invisible Braces & Orthodontics – An Overview

Conventional dental braces have been a very effective and popular orthodontic device for correcting a wide range of orthodontic problems like misaligned teeth, crooked teeth, teeth with excessive or uneven gaps etc. One of the problems associated with braces was poor aesthetics due to their metallic appearance. Naturally, people who were conscious of their smile and appearance did not like wearing braces, except where absolutely clinically necessary.

These metal fixed braces were a rather un-aesthetic way of improving your smile. Orthodontists and technologists realized this problem and have come up with some alternative orthodontic solutions which are invisible to various degrees. If you are not happy with wearing conventional steel braces but need orthodontic correction, you can look at the alternatives below.

1.      Lingual Orthodontics

Lingual invisible braces

To move the archwire and the brackets out of sight of people, dentists can give you braces with the archwire and the brackets on the tongue-side (or lingual side) of the teeth. Teeth straightening with this type of brace is called lingual braces. Lingual braces are aesthetically far superior to the conventional braces and are particularly popular with adults because they are more conscious of their looks.

The downside of Lingual Braces

·        Inconvenience – despite being less conspicuous, lingual braces do pose some problems as the brackets come in between the tongue and the teeth. As a result, the tongue movement is hampered because of the reduced space available, and you will also feel a little odd for some time.

·        Difficulty in Playing instruments – Also, if you play wind instruments, you may have some difficulty operating them with lingual braces.

·        Special Training Required – Not all dentists are trained in providing treatment with lingual braces. Special training is required in addition to the basic dentistry degree to be able to apply lingual orthodontics.

You will need to have a full smile assessment prior to having this type of virtually invisible braces in order to determine your suitability.

2.       Clear Brackets with Tooth Coloured Wires

Clear brackets with tooth coloured wiresThis is yet another cosmetic alternative to the standard braces. The archwire is made tooth coloured to reduce its visibility against the background formed by your teeth. And the brackets are made of transparent plastic or tooth coloured ceramic so that they are not noticed. In addition, clear or transparent ligatures are used to enhance aesthetics.

Generally, the ceramic brackets are designed in such a way that they do not stain easily. However, the ligatures tend to stain easily, but this is not a big issue as they will be replaced on each visit.

The Price of Improved Aesthetics with Ceramic Braces

Ceramic clear braces are weaker than the conventional metallic braces. Therefore, they require a longer treatment time as orthodontists apply milder forces to make sure that the brackets are not overloaded. In addition, treatment with ceramic braces is costlier as compared to the conventional metallic braces.

Having a confident smile is extremely important during treatment as well is after, so straight teeth with this type of orthodontic brace can be really beneficial. No one need know you have braces fitted.

3.      Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisible bracesIn the category of orthodontic teeth alignment appliances, the Invisalign™ aligners sit at the top of the lot. A product created by engineering and dental technology the Invisalign treatment is very popular. It has really taken the orthodontic field by a storm.

How Invisalign Works

The treatment consists of wearing a custom-made plastic aligner looking like a teeth guard for two (or one week, in some cases) which moves your teeth through a pre-planned shift. Then the next numbered aligner is put on for a similar period. Successively numbered aligners move your teeth through pre-determined stages, and by the time you remove your last aligner your teeth have moved as planned to give you an excellent smile.

Some patients may be suitable for Invisalign Lite which is a reduced time system suitable for moving cosmetic front teeth only.

Invisalign Teen may also help with younger patients, these have a series of indicators letting the clinician and parents know whether the braces are being worn for the required amount of time

How You Get the Invisible Aligners

At the start, the dentist takes impressions, photos, and x-rays of your teeth as they are. The impressions are digitized into a computer software which can display these in 3-D. Another specialized software helps the dentist plan a gradual movement plan for your teeth again showing the teeth in their intermediate stages, and the final stage (which you can see). This plan is fed to a computer-aided machining system which makes two to three dozen of numbered aligners which when worn continuously, and in turn, move through the planned stages.

Many practices offer a free no obligation consultation for Invisalign, so it’s worth asking if this is possible from your dental practice.

Wearing retainers

A retainer, another appliance like the last aligner, is worn for about six months to consolidate the tooth movement already achieved. This retainer practice is common with the braces correction.

Invisible braces – The Bottom Line

All orthodontic treatments have their own merits and problems. If you have an orthodontic problem, consult a good orthodontist. In case of mild to moderate orthodontic problems, and if there are no technical limitations, Invisalign often gives the best value for your money. However, for more complex cases, conventional or lingual braces may prove to be the treatment of choice.

Please also see our other blog posts talking about Invisalign and straightening crooked teeth

How much are monthly payments for Invisalign

One of the great things about monthly payments for Invisalign is that it brings the price down to an affordable level for most people, allowing you to have straighter teeth at a cost that is right for you.

Many high-priced items such as cars and luxury goods offer monthly instalment payments and Invisalign is no different.

What follows is a range of monthly payments* for different Invisalign scenarios:

Invisalign i7 monthly payments

Invisalign i7 (A new addition to the Invisalign treatment family offering an easy and convenient solution especially for minor tooth movement at the front).

  • Full cost of treatment £2000
  • 12 months 0% interest. 12 monthly payments of £166.67 per month
  • 60 months 9.9% interest. 60 monthly payments of £42 per month

Invisalign i7 monthly payments

This brings the treatment of Invisalign down to an amazing £1.38 per day, less than a cup of coffee!

Invisalign light case

An Invisalign light case would typically involve movement of multiple teeth, not just the cosmetic anterior teeth as in Invisalign i7

  • Full cost of treatment £4500
  • 12 months 0% interest. 12 monthly payments of £375 per month
  • 60 months 9.9% interest. 60 monthly payments of £94.51 per month

Invisalign light monthly payments

Invisalign comprehensive or complex case

A complex or comprehensive Invisalign case with involve movement of multiple teeth, possibly with complex bite involvement to rearrange posteriorly teeth and how they meet together.

  • Full cost of treatment £5500
  • 12 months 0% interest. 12 monthly payments of £458.33 per month
  • 60 months 9.9% interest. 60 monthly payments of £115.51 per month

Complex Invisalign monthly payments

The company we use, Chrysalis Finance offer a customised monthly payment calculator, you can access their payment calculator here.


Our dental practice in Hornchurch, Essex also offer a range of special offers on Invisalign, please visit our Invisalign page to find out more

*Subject to status. Conditions apply.

How painful is Invisalign

Does Invisalign hurt?

In order to move your teeth then needs to be some pressure applied to them, in some cases people can describe this pressure as pain although this is rarely the case. Invisalign can sometimes be a little bit uncomfortable when you first begin a new aligner as this is when the pressure on the teeth will be greatest, however, this will subside after a couple of days.

Is Invisalign more painful than any other form of orthodontics?

Absolutely not. Invisalign is generally considered one of the most comfortable for the orthodontic treatment.

Conventional orthodontics using brackets bonded to your teeth and wires between the brackets can be considerably more uncomfortable than Invisalign. These brackets and wires have a tendency to scrape the inside of your cheeks and can cause ulcers, whilst wax is usually provided by your orthodontist to cover these wires wax can dislodge.

Invisalign utilises a completely different system from moving teeth and is constructed of a completely clear and smooth aligner. The aligner is fitted over your teeth so there is nothing sharp to catch the inside of your cheeks making Invisalign and extremely comfortable way to straighten your teeth.

Any pain from Invisalign is usually classified by patients as a dull ache, rather than actual pain.

How to make Invisalign more comfortable

  • When you first begin wearing a new aligner (which will happen approximately every two weeks) start wearing the new aligner when you go to bed. This will give your teeth time to adjust whilst you are asleep and generally not putting any other pressure on your teeth.
  • With each new aligner give your teeth time to settle in, approximately 3 days. This means avoid eating particularly crunchy or hard food which could put undue pressure on your teeth and make sensitivity worse.
  • Be sure to wear a sports guard if you play any sports, this should be a custom-made guard made by your dentist to give you the maximum amount of protection and prevent your teeth being knocked and made more sensitive.
  • Do what you can to reduce stress and be mindful of grinding or clenching your teeth, this grinding and clenching can put pressure on your teeth and exacerbate any mild sensitivity caused by the new aligner.

How long does it take Invisalign to work

Invisalign begins to work immediately, as soon as you wear your first aligner Invisalign is working, you won’t however be able to see any tooth movement happening. Invisalign puts continuous pressure on your teeth to move them in the desired direction, it is only with time that this movement becomes apparent… So the actual question is:

How long will it take to see results from Invisalign?

You should begin to notice very supple tooth movement after about 4 weeks of wearing your Invisalign aligners. One of the problems with noticing this is that the movement happen so slowly that you may think your teeth are not moving. We can assure you that if you wear your aligners for the recommended 22 hours per day then the required amount of tooth movement is taking place.

How long will it take to see the final result from Invisalign?

The final result from Invisalign can be seen once you have finished the full course of a line therapy. At the beginning of treatment you will be told how long this is likely to be but it is typically in the region of 6 months to 1 year, depending upon the severity of your malocclusion, or what you want to achieve.

How will I know how long treatment will take?

At the beginning of any Invisalign treatment your orthodontist will undertake a Clincheck®. This is a digitised scan of your teeth, the digitised scan is manipulated in software to show the final result. Once the software knows how far each tooth has to move it can calculate the number of aligners required, this then dictates the amount of time the whole treatment takes. A typical treatment takes upwards of 26 aligners, you will be given a written treatment plan at the beginning of any treatment so that you know exactly how long treatment would take.

Can you eat with Invisalign in your mouth

No. In order to eat you will need to remove the Invisalign aligner. Once you have finished eating or drinking anything other than water you should clean your teeth and immediately put your aligner back in.

Invisalign aligners are made from a clear plastic which sits over the top of your teeth. If you try to eat sticky food such as pizza you may find that it can pull the aligner out, you could then bite down on it and break it.

Similarly, eating foods which are extremely crunchy or have a very hard texture, such as chicken on the bone can break the aligner if you bite down on that hard substance.

As well as risking breaking the aligner, you could also do damage to your teeth if you eat with the aligner in. This is because small amount of food may creep underneath the aligner and then be held in place against your teeth.

This will give the acid excreting bacteria in your mouth something to live off, as they digest the food hey give off acid which can attack your teeth and cause tooth decay, therefore if you leave the aligner in and don’t clean your teeth after eating you increase the chances of dental disease and decay.

What can you drink whilst wearing Invisalign?

We recommend only drinking water whilst wearing Invisalign. The problem drinking anything else is that if any of the liquid gets underneath the aligner then it can be held in contact with your teeth which can lead to dental decay. To have no risk of this happening we recommend drinking water only.

Can I chew gum whilst wearing Invisalign?

No. You may find that chewing gum whilst wearing Invisalign can pull the aligner is out, this could result in breaking the aligner. Not all gum is sugarfree, so having this sugary gum in your mouth could also lead to dental decay as the aligner may keep this sugar in contact with your teeth for longer.

Can I smoke whilst wearing Invisalign?

Whilst theoretically possible to smoke whilst wearing Invisalign it is not recommended. Invisalign is made from a material which is sensitive to heat, smoking could therefore damage the aligner. Smoking will also discolour the aligner making it very obvious that you are wearing an orthodontic appliance.

How many hours a day do you need to wear Invisalign

You should ideally wear Invisalign for at least 22 hours per day, removing the aligners only to clean them and eat. Try to wear your aligner is first close to 24 hours a day as possible.

What happens if I don’t wear my aligners enough?

If you don’t wear your aligner is all the prescribed amount of time each day then treatment time will increase and your Invisalign result won’t happen as fast as you may have originally thought.

Can I take my Invisalign aligners out during the day?

Yes, you’re aligners Are designed to be removed for cleaning and eating. If you take them out to eat always remember to wait 20 min, then brush your teeth and put your aligners back in as soon as possible.

Are the Invisalign aligners difficult to take in and out?

Some people find they get a little frustrated in the first 24 hours of wearing each new aligner. This is because it will be tight and actively putting pressure on the teeth in the correct direction, to remove the aligner simply put your fingernails around the edge and pull gently, the aligner should snap out quite easily.

I only want to wear Invisalign at night, will this work?

If you’re thinking that you would only like to wear Invisalign at night then it may not be the system for you. You do need to commit to wearing your aligner is for as close to 24 hours per day as possible.

You will however find that Invisalign is so see-through and transparent that it is barely noticeable whilst you are wearing it, you should therefore be able to wear Invisalign throughout the day without any problem at all.

Do you wear Invisalign whilst asleep

Yes. Invisalign is designed to be worn for 22 hours each day.

When you decide to go with any orthodontic system, Invisalign included, you need to be aware of what is required of you. If you can wear your Invisalign braces for us close to 24 hours per day as possible then you will see the best results in the shortest amount of time.

Is Invisalign uncomfortable to wear at night?

No. Invisalign is made from an extremely thin almost completely see-through acrylic resin. The Invisalign aligner fits very precisely over your teeth but the outer surface is extremely smooth. This makes it very comfortable to wear as you will barely even notice it is in place.

Could I swallow Invisalign at night?

No. Invisalign covers all of your teeth and is therefore reasonable size, it is not possible to swallow the Invisalign aligner at night. The aligner will also fit very tightly over your teeth needing a definite pull to remove it each day. This means the aligner will be fixed in tightly and not able to come out on its own at night.

Can I just wear Invisalign at night and not in the day?

No. If you only did this then you would be wearing your Invisalign aligner is for probably a maximum of eight hours per day. Invisalign is designed to be worn for at least 22 hours per day and is also designed to be barely noticeable whilst being worn.

This design makes it the perfect orthodontic brace to be well worn by people with busy lives and who don’t want others to know they are having orthodontic brace treatment.

How long does it take to get straight teeth with Invisalign?

Treatment with Invisalign will take a different amount of time for each person depending upon the amount of tooth movement and the severity of any malocclusion prior to treatment. Treatment times are usually in the region of 1 -2 years.

What things impact the treatment time with Invisalign?

The following factors can impact Invisalign treatment time:

  1. If you just need the cosmetic six front teeth moved treatment is quicker, if you need more tooth movement then treatment take longer.
  2. The complexity of tooth movement. Rotating or tipping teeth can be done quite quickly, but if teeth need to be moved bodily then this can take longer.
  3. Your dental health. If your dental health is not in good enough condition before treatment then this would need to be looked at prior to beginning orthodontics. This is because orthodontic treatments should only be undertaken on healthy teeth and gums.
  4. The length of time you wear your aligner for each day. You should ideally wear your aligner for 20 hours each day, taking it out only to clean and eat. If you’re retainer remained out of your mouth for much longer than this each day then it will take longer to achieve the desired result.

How will I know how long treatment will take with Invisalign?

Before each Invisalign treatment begins your Invisalign dentist will plan treatment in detail. Your overall treatment plan will be modelled on a computer program, this computer program will calculate the number of aligners required.

Each aligner is worn for about 2 weeks, so it’s quite easy to calculate the length of treatment prior to beginning.

This calculation will be shown in a video simulation of your tooth movement known as a Clincheck®.

Does treatment ever take longer than expected?

Yes, sometimes treatment can take a little longer than initially planned. Your dentist will review the treatment with you regularly. Normally only 4 sets of aligners are made at the beginning, you will then have a review which will determine how many additional aligner is need to be made. Any adjustments to the treatment plan can then be factored in.

This doesn’t happen very often but it is worth knowing that treatment can sometimes take longer than initially planned for a variety of unforeseen reasons.