A Complete Guide to Invisalign: All You Need To Know

Published on 22 Feb 2024

Have you ever wished for a more confident smile, or struggled with chewing due to misaligned teeth?

If so, Invisalign may be your answer to straighter teeth.

In this comprehensive guide, discover how Invisalign works, the treatment fees involved, and the length of treatment required.

Furthermore, find out how it compares with other teeth-straightening options like braces.


What is Invisalign

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses a series of clear, custom-made aligner trays that exert gentle pressure on your teeth, to straighten them over time.

It is an increasingly popular choice among individuals for straightening teeth, especially those seeking a more aesthetic and discreet solution to correct their misaligned teeth. Invisalign clear aligners are fabricated using SmartTrack™, a proprietary multi-layer material which exerts a gentle force on your teeth while ensuring excellent aligner fit. The aligners are barely noticeable when worn over your teeth, allowing you to confidently go about your daily activities.

How Does Invisalign Work

The first step in the process begins with a visit to an Invisalign-accredited orthodontist, who will conduct a comprehensive oral examination to determine your eligibility for Invisalign treatment. They will also discuss your expectations and treatment goals with you.


Invisalign Treatment Planning

Along with x-rays and photos, a digital scan or impressions (“mould”) of your teeth will be taken. Your orthodontist will then plan the final teeth positions and sequence of teeth movement with precision, creating a personalised treatment plan for you.

The completed treatment plan will be sent to the Invisalign lab for the fabrication of your custom-made aligners, which will usually take approximately four to six weeks.


During the Invisalign Treatment Process

On the first visit of getting your aligners, your orthodontist will check to ensure they are properly fitted and comfortable. You will also receive detailed instructions on how to wear and care for them.

You’ll typically switch to a new set of aligners every one to two weeks, and are required to keep them on for 20-22 hours a day for the best results.

Regular visits to your orthodontist should be scheduled every six to eight weeks to monitor the progress of your tooth movement, and make adjustments when necessary to optimise the progress.

How many aligners you require, the interval of change of aligners and visits to your orthodontist will vary from patient to patient, depending on the complexity of your case and the type of tooth movements involved.

Completing the Invisalign Treatment

When you have completed the entire series of aligners, your orthodontist will assess the quality of the outcome. Additional aligners may be necessary to improve the outcome, especially for complex cases. When the entire treatment is completed, you will be provided with fixed and/or removable retainers to maintain your new smile.

How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take

The invisalign journey varies for different individuals. Simple malalignments can take as few as 3 months to correct, while more complex cases may require a longer duration, possibly a few years up to a year or two. This is because those with more complicated orthodontic problems require more teeth movement, which can take time.

Wearing your aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours daily is crucial for getting the results you want. You should only remove them for cleaning, brushing and flossing, or while eating or drinking. Failing to comply can extend your treatment duration and affect the overall results.

What Dental Issues Can Be Corrected with Invisalign

Invisalign treatment can straighten crooked teeth and close gaps between teeth, as well as address a spectrum of other bite problems, These include:


Overjet: An increased overjet refers to the upper front teeth being too far forward of the lower front teeth. This can be unaesthetic, and may increase the risk of dental trauma.


Underbite: Underbite refers to the lower front teeth being ahead of the upper front teeth. It is also known as an anterior crossbite.

Crossbite: Crossbite is when some of your upper teeth sit behind your lower teeth. Depending on the location and severity, individuals may experience tooth wear, traumatic occlusion (gum shrinkage and/or shaky teeth) and difficulty biting.


Overbite: A deep overbite refers to an increased overlap between the upper and lower front teeth. In severe cases, it can result in damage to the upper and/or lower gums.

Open Bite: Open bite refers to the lack of overlap between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are closed in the natural biting position. These can hinder incision (biting) of foods using the front teeth and can occasionally result in specific pronunciation issues.

Growth modification: Invisalign can be used to improve the jaw position in cases whereby the lower jaw is too small or too far backward compared to the upper jaw.

Jaw surgery: Invisalign can be used as a substitute for fixed braces for tooth movement, in patients who require jaw surgery to correct their severe jaw discrepancy.

Consult your orthodontist to determine if Invisalign is a feasible option to achieve your treatment goals.

Is it Important to Follow-Up with an Orthodontist During the Treatment

Yes. In-person reviews with an orthodontist is crucial for a comprehensive assessment to ensure the teeth are moving as planned, with no adverse side effects. Adjustments can also be made, when necessary, to enhance the tooth movements. This ensures timely completion of treatment with a good result.

Cost of Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign treatment cost primarily depends on the complexity of the case. Correcting severe bite and misalignment issues will require more time, more sets of aligners, and visits to the orthodontist, ultimately leading to higher treatment fees.

Treatment fees range from $2,500 to $4,000 per arch for simpler cases, and $4,500 to $9,000 for more complex orthodontic issues. Prices quoted do not include other dental treatments such as extractions, fillings and cleaning.

Can I Get Invisalign If I Have Root Canals and Crowns

Existing dental restorations, root canals and dental crowns generally do not hinder the effectiveness of Invisalign treatment. If you have outstanding dental issues, your Invisalign provider may work with your regular dentist to sequence the treatment.

Invisalign (and braces) treatment is possible as long as your teeth and gums are healthy.

Are There Any Age Restrictions for Invisalign Treatment

While there are no strict age limits for Invisalign, individuals from different age groups may wish to consider the following information before seeking treatment.


Invisalign can be used to treat children as early as 6-7 years old, as long as an adequate number of permanent teeth have emerged. Treatment at this stage is primarily done to address developing orthodontic problems, and reduces the need for complex treatment at an older age.

As there are minimal no food restrictions with Invisalign, children who are picky eaters can continue to enjoy their favourite foods while undergoing treatment.


Teenagers are often considered good candidates for Invisalign treatment, as their jaws are still actively growing and this can facilitate orthodontic correction of the teeth and jaws.

Invisalign aligners are discreet, so teenagers can maintain their social lives and engage on social media without feeling self-conscious. Furthermore, active teens using Invisalign do not need to worry about intraoral lacerations during intense contact sports, which can be a concern with traditional metal braces.

Teenagers who have a tendency to misplace items, should always store their aligners in their aligner box when not wearing them, to avoid the hassle and cost of replacement aligners.


If you’re worried that you may be too old for Invisalign, the good news is that as long as you have healthy gums and teeth, you’re likely to be a good candidate for treatment. In fact, adults tend to respond well to treatment because of better compliance. Those with busy schedules will find the convenience of removable aligners appealing as it makes eating, drinking, and maintaining oral hygiene easier, and less time-consuming.


Comparing Invisalign and Traditional Braces

Apart from Invisalign, you may also be considering other orthodontic treatments, such as traditional braces to help you achieve straighter teeth.

To provide you with a clearer understanding of how they differ from Invisalign, here’s a breakdown of their unique set of advantages and drawbacks.



  • More Aesthetic: Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible when worn, making them a good alternative for individuals who dislike the appearance of metal braces.
  • Enhanced Comfort: Invisalign aligners have smoother surfaces and are less likely to result in ulcers on the insides of the cheeks and lips.
  • Easier Maintenance and Fewer Dietary Restrictions: Compared to fixed braces, the removability of the aligners allows for better oral hygiene, and makes eating, and drinking more convenient.


  • Compliance Required: Discipline is required to wear the aligners for at least 20 hours a day for optimal results. There is also a risk of misplacing the aligners as they are removable.
  • Cost Factor: Invisalign may incur a higher treatment fee than braces.

Case selection: A comprehensive assessment is required to determine if Invisalign is the best option to treat your case. Some complex cases may require a hybrid approach (combination of Invisalign and partial fixed braces).


Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional braces feature metal or ceramic brackets that are attached to each tooth and are connected by wires to exert pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired positions.


  • Effectiveness: Braces are highly effective for correcting a wide range of dental issues, including complex cases such as impacted teeth.
  • Treatment fee: Braces are generally more affordable than Invisalign, ranging from $2,500 to $4,800 per arch. There will be higher fees incurred if one requests for ceramic (more aesthetic) or other special bracket types.
  • Built-In Compliance: The fixed nature of braces reduces the need for discipline in remembering to wear your appliance, ensuring compliance with the treatment plan.


  • Appearance: The metal brackets and wires in metal braces are highly visible and may not be ideal for individuals who prefer a more aesthetic treatment journey process. Ceramic braces are more aesthetic than metal braces, but the metal wires still do not make this option completely “invisible”.
  • Discomfort: Braces may cause more abrasions to the insides of the cheeks and lips than Invisalign, possibly resulting in ulcers.
  • Higher Maintenance: Braces require more frequent visits to the orthodontist for adjustments, and added effort is required to ensure good oral hygiene.
  • Food Restrictions: Hard and crunchy foods may cause damage to the braces and should be avoided. Sticky foods may also increase the risk of braces dislodging or cavities during treatment.


Your journey to a straighter, healthier smile can begin with the right orthodontic treatment by an invisalign provider such as NTUC Health Denticare.

If you’re considering Invisalign, schedule an initial consultation at NTUC Health's Ang Mo Kio Denticare clinic with our Invisalign-accredited orthodontist.

If you prefer fixed braces to transform your smile, visit our orthodontists at Denticare Ang Mo Kio to kickstart your journey.

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