For most cases, Invisalign patients go through a smooth process and their teeth can shift perfectly to the desired position for straighter teeth. But there are also cases, although rare, where the teeth just refuse to cooperate with the treatment plan.
You need to understand that teeth are unpredictable in nature. They shift on their own naturally during and after treatment. So, sometimes, Invisalign refinements are necessary.
It is not that your Invisalign provider is not doing a good job. There are times when a treatment goes exactly as planned and then your teeth would do their natural shift by the end and it messes up our progress.
This is why regular check-ups are required while you are taking Invisalign treatment. This is to ensure that everything is going to plan and if not, changes to the dental treatment can be done immediately.
But you should be aware that these instances are rare and may not even happen to you.
Nevertheless, as someone who is getting Invisalign treatment, it is recommended that you get to know about Invisalign refinements as well. Since this is an option for you if you feel like you still need a little more work when your treatment plan ends.
What are Invisalign refinements?
Invisalign refinements are additional aligner treatments or alterations that need to be done outside of the original dental treatment because the intended result is not being achieved. The need for refinements usually takes place when you are nearing the end of your treatment.
Take note that refinement aligner is only being used when your teeth are not cooperating. If your Invisalign treatment is going well, there will be no need to get refinements.
How Invisalign refinements work
When your Invisalign provider determines that you need refinements, they will take fresh molds of your teeth or rescan them. From this new mold or scan, a set of new aligners will be created.
These new trays will “refine” the treatment plan whether it is to adjust the alignment of your teeth or whether it is to add more pressure on a particular tooth to straighten it.
Refinements can also be used at the end of treatment if the final result still needs a little work to be done to get your better smile just right. Think of it as finishing touches after straightening your teeth.
You then wear these refinements just as you wore your normal set of aligners – 20 to 22 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Most of the time, if you need refinements, this will also mean that your treatment time will be extended. This is why it is very important that you follow the instructions of your provider thoroughly and that you go to your required check-up schedules.
Not wearing your aligners on the required amount of time each day or not following through on your check-up appointments will delay your progress. Before you know it, you will be needing refinements or new trays to make up for it.
Reasons why refinements are needed for the Invisalign process
To give you an idea, here are some of the usual reasons why refinements are needed during your Invisalign treatment.
Teeth won’t move
Some teeth are being difficult or stubborn and they are moving slower than what is normally anticipated, delaying the expected progress of your treatment plan.
Teeth moved too fast
Tooth movement executed differently or faster than anticipated during the treatment.
The shape of your teeth was altered while during the treatment and as a result, your aligners no longer fit properly. When this happens, it will not be able to apply the right amount of pressure to move your teeth.
Failure to follow instructions
Failure to wear your aligners for the required 20 to 22 hours a day. This will significantly delay your progress and call for a treatment extension. Another thing under this category is failure to go to the dentist’s office to do your check-ups.
Treatment gap due to accident or illness
Getting sick or being in an accident and you had to go through a long time not wearing your aligners during the treatment.
Invisalign refinements FAQs
Do you pay extra for Invisalign refinement trays?
Invisalign refinements are usually included in a full Invisalign care package. Take note that Invisalign comes in different packages. Upon your initial consultation, it is best to ask your provider if the refinements will be included in the total cost.
If refinement trays are not part of the package, there is no need to worry. Refinements are usually just final touches so basically you are just paying for a few extra sets of Invisalign trays.
How many refinements do you get with Invisalign treatment?
Usually, a refinement will require just one to two more sets of aligners, depending on how many adjustments need to be done for moving teeth better.
Your treatment time will be extended anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on how many refinements you need. The extension will definitely not be over a year.
Are refinements common for Invisalign treatment?
As mentioned earlier, cases that need Invisalign refinements are rare. Some need it because they have complex misalignment issues or simply because they were not wearing their clear aligners 22 hours a day. If you have a mild to moderate orthodontic issue and you are disciplined enough to follow your Invisalign provider’s instructions, there will be no need to worry about getting refinements.
Invisalign is a highly personalized treatment. This is why they charge you on a case-to-case basis. Every person will respond differently to orthodontic treatments and some will need adjustments or add refinements along the way to get their better smile.
If your Invisalign provider tells you that refinements may be needed after your treatment plan, do not be discouraged. Delay of treatment does not necessarily mean that your treatment will be less efficient. It just shows that your provider is doing everything necessary to ensure that you achieve a beautiful smile and straighter teeth.