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Who Is A Good Candidate for Invisalign, And Who Isn’t?

Smiling girl holding Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign clear aligners may offer more appealing and alluring perks to orthodontic patients, including (but not limited to):

  • More discretion, meaning a more cosmetically-appealing appearance
  • Removability, meaning no orthodontic-related dietary restrictions
  • Less maintenance, meaning less tedious cleaning
  • Less applied pressure, meaning less discomfort

It’s not hard to see why certain patients would be more attracted to these factors than the ones offered by traditional braces. The near transparent design can illuminate your smile well, and you won’t have any appliance-related limitations to impede you from eating well. Still, how do you know if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign aligners?

Determining that isn’t as straightforward as just being able to afford the slightly pricier Invisalign cost. There is a myriad of factors that would make someone a good (or not so good) candidate for Invisalign. Keep reading this comprehensive explainer to learn those factors.

What Makes A Good Invisalign Candidate?

The following variables can make a patient a good candidate for Invisalign:

  • Personal responsibility
  • Good oral hygiene discipline
  • Not smoking
  • Healthy gum tissue
  • Matured jaw

There’s a reason that most Invisalign clear aligner patients are adolescents and adults; this orthodontia doesn’t just demand dental maturity, but a heightened level of overall maturity. Even though you won’t have to worry about food debris getting caught in your appliance, you will still need to be diligent about cleaning their teeth, as well as your Invisalign aligner trays. That means making sure to:

  • Brush at least 2-3 times a day, for 2 minutes at a time
  • Floss, and for good measure, using a Waterpik or interdental brush
  • Have cleaning products at-home and on the go
  • Brush your aligners carefully
  • Soak your aligners using Invisalign Cleaning Crystals
  • Rinse and dry your trays before storage, to minimize bacteria buildup

Patients of all ages should exercise due diligence, responsibility, and refrain from bad habits. It's common knowledge that smoking is an overall health hazard (the FDA has identified over 7,000 tobacco product chemicals linked to illness), but it can also stain your teeth, your trays, and subsequently disrupt your routine.

Likewise, if a teen or adult patient is constantly taking off their trays to snack, well over the allotted timeframe they should, then that can also be counterintuitive for their overall health and oral health treatment. 

Granted, even someone with good discipline may be better suited for different treatments depending on their case; braces, and possibly, orthognathic jaw surgery, may be required for more complex malocclusions. Invisalign is fine for basic misalignments, but not more complicated ones.

Who Is NOT an Invisalign Candidate?

To reiterate some previous points, patients with poorer diets, tobacco cravings, and some other bad habits may not be ideal candidates for Invisalign. Usually, most Invisalign patients will be required to wear their aligners for 22 hours a day, with those two free removal hours meant for eating, drinking, and cleaning. 

A patient who would constantly remove their aligner trays for smoke breaks or snack breaks will NOT be a good Invisalign candidate. Beyond not practicing healthy habits and inconsistently following treatment schedule, here are some other factors that would make you a poor Invisalign candidate:

  • Active gum disease (should be treated prior to Invisalign)
  • Irresponsible storage and carelessness (characteristic of irresponsibility
  • Active cavity (should be treated prior to Invisalign) 
  • Severe oral issues that require more extensive treatment (not always a dealbreaker, but certainly can be)

The removability of Invisalign may seem like it’s always an advantage over traditional fixed orthodontic appliances; in reality, it can be a double-edged sword if you aren’t careful. Failing to store your clear aligners effectively could easily them to being damaged, misplaced, stolen, or contaminated by external elements. 

Additionally, Invisalign trays aren’t strong enough to act as an impervious Kevlar vest for your teeth. While they can offer protection for mild cases of dental grinding and clenching at night, Invisalign trays will not last in the face of severe sleep bruxism

The unconscious motions that occur can “eat” through the aligner material, damage the trays, and impede treatment progress. And just as severe bruxism isn’t conducive for Invisalign, neither are severe malocclusions, for which alternative treatments are better suited. However, if you’re a younger patient with an underdeveloped palate, then that could potentially be fixable via a palatal expansion. Consult an experienced, licensed orthodontist to learn more.

Who Is A Candidate for Invisalign Express?

Expedited Invisalign treatments entail a maximum 10 sets of trays and can usually be completed in six months. It offers the same effective results as standard Invisalign aligners, just over a shorter timeframe! As it utilizes the same program, it entails the same comprehensive features, such as:

  • 3D iTero scanning and additional diagnostic imaging
  • In-office visits and follow-up appointments
  • SmartTrack aligner material and SmartForce accessories (if needed)
  • Complementary teeth whitening

To be an effective candidate for Invisalign Express, an experienced orthodontist must determine that your case is mild enough to completed in 10 tray sets or less. This means only minor spacing or crowding, and an experienced orthodontist will have the expertise needed to assess how minor (or major) your crowding and spacing are. For more elaborations regarding how this evaluation happens, refer to our Invisalign Express Guide.

This form of clear aligner treatment can be good for patients who only require simple cosmetic adjustments, or former orthodontic patients who’ve since seen their results slightly regress and relapse. Since it’s cosmetic, you’re probably less likely to receive insurance coverage for this particular treatment. Fortunately, it’s lower cost than full-time Invisalign, and can be made more affordable with the help of low monthly payment plans.

How Do You Know If You Are A Good Candidate for Invisalign?

If you’ve assessed all of the above factoids and still don’t know whether or not you’re a good Invisalign candidate, their official Smile Assessment Quiz can help. But if you’re still unsure after all of that, there is only one sole, singular, and straightforward solution to your uncertainty: consulting a licensed, reputable, and reliable orthodontist!

A trusted orthodontic professional will be equipped with all the expertise, know-how, and talents necessary to pinpoint and discern the best solution for your occlusal issues. Often, they can make these discernments during the same day of your initial complementary consultation! So, if you still harbor any doubts about your Invisalign candidacy potential, what are you waiting for?