How Many Refinement Trays Does Invisalign Offer?
Invisalign provides three opportunities to “tweak” or “fine-tune” the treatment until it is complete. A refinement involves taking new scans and photographs to send to Invisalign for additional sets of aligners in order to continue shifting your teeth into the desired position. A recent survey of more than 400 providers revealed that, unfortunately, over 53% reported having an average of at least two refinements per case. Every case is unique, but refining aligners typically add an average of three extra months to the original Invisalign plan. A refinement may also increase the cost of treatment depending on the scope.
It is also worth noting that you can receive a series of refining aligners and not just “one refining aligner”. The number you receive will depend on your particular case and your treatment plan. Refining aligners are similar to regular Invisalign trays, except that they are custom-made throughout the process. These digitally designed aligners are created based on tooth molds, thus customizing a specific treatment plan for each individual.
Understanding the Purpose and Progression of Invisalign Aligners
All the sets of aligners you receive have slightly different shapes from one another and each aligner has its own purpose. Each aligner is designed to apply the necessary pressure on the teeth to move them and shift their alignment into the desired position. Invisalign aligners are changed every two to three weeks according to your dentist's instructions. Every time you visit your dentist for a new set of aligners, your dentist will assess the progress of your teeth. Every patient and their smiles are unique and respond differently to treatment with Invisalign, so adjustments may be necessary along the way to ensure that the best results are achieved.
If your teeth do not move into the desired position in the timeline of your visits, your dentist may suggest and recommend that refinements need to be added to your treatment. You may only see a small gap, but I'm sure your orthodontist had to order many refining trays to correct other misalignments, not always visible to you, and also achieve the ideal bite. I have had Invisalign for more than a year, but that explains large time gaps without new trays due to COVID-related delays. You can ask your doctor if it is possible to change the trays more frequently with refinements so that they rotate more and faster. If you require refinement, a new 3D scan of your teeth will be performed and these new digital images will be sent to Invisalign.
Understanding Refinement Aligners in Your Invisalign Treatment
Due to the addition of these tight refining trays, these aligners typically add an average of three months or so to the original Invisalign plan. These photos show the discrepancy between the length of my two front teeth, which was corrected with my first fourteen-tray refinement treatment with Invisalign. The movements are usually done more slowly with refining trays in order to ensure that no indentations are left behind on your teeth and also improve other things that you may not even be aware of. My Invisalign trays have small indentations in my upper aligner where the elastics go, and then in my lower molars at the back there is a metal bump attached to my teeth in order to anchor the elastic on each side. Then, you make the adjustments you want to see on my teeth and Invisalign creates a series of trays in order to achieve those movements. Refinement is generally considered part of your treatment with Invisalign.
Depending on the type of tiered treatment plan you're on, you'll determine how many refining aligners you'll include in your treatment, and usually at no extra cost. Refinements are a necessary and common part of Invisalign, often adding treatment time at the end of your case. My seventeen-by-twenty tray for my upper teeth didn't fit me very well, so my orthodontist took another mold of my teeth in order to do some refinements. We'll approve a new ClinCheck for you and order additional alignment trays so that you can start “fine-tuning” your results.