The Invisalign Process Explained

Invisalign Richmond VAAre you considering Invisalign clear aligners? As an alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign is becoming increasingly popular with adults and teens.  Invisalign is a clear, custom-made aligner, used to move and align teeth for better health and a great smile. It is changed approximately every two weeks for about six to 18 months, depending upon the severity of misalignment. If you are considering Invisalign at Gardner Orthodontics, you probably want to know how the entire process works.

Your initial consultation

The process starts with a consultation with Dr. Gardner. He will begin by examining your teeth, ask you questions about your lifestyle and your goals for your orthodontic treatment, and decide if Invisalign aligners are suitable for you. This is also your first opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the process, the clear aligner system, and the function of Invisalign.


After Dr. Gardner has confirmed that you are a good candidate for Invisalign, he will gather all the necessary records. Our team uses specially designed software, called ClinCheck, to assess the alignment of your teeth and the necessary treatment. Other information may include:

  • X-Rays
  • Dental impressions
  • Photographs of your face and teeth

Invisalign creates a computerized 3D model of your teeth. The technicians can adjust the teeth on the computer model until they have reached their final positions. The model is completely digital and you will be able to see your projected final results. The model is reviewed by Dr. Gardner, and sometimes changes are made. Once he reviews the scans and determines that you are a candidate for Invisalign, a treatment plan is developed. Dr. Gardner will explain the treatment time, the need for any adjustments to the plan as time goes on and the best way to optimize your Invisalign experience.

Your Invisalign aligners

Once your ClinCheck has been finalized and approved, Invisalign then makes a series of trays, also known as aligners. It usually takes several weeks to complete the trays and ship them to our office so that treatment can begin. These aligners will be used to straighten your teeth. The number of aligners depends on your treatment plan but generally, you will have one aligner for every two weeks of treatment. As you progress from one aligner to the next, your teeth will gradually become straighter as they shift to match the aligner tray. Usually, your teeth move about 1/10mm per tray.


You will wear the aligners for a minimum of 20-22 hours a day for your teeth to move to their final position for that tray. You can, however, take the aligner out to eat, brush and floss. When brushing your teeth, you will also need to clean the aligner with a toothbrush.

Typically, you will receive 1-2 aligners at a time. There will be check-ups every six to eight weeks. These appointments are routine checks to be sure the teeth are moving as planned. Sometimes minor adjustments may be necessary to the aligners or the wear time.


As you near the end of your treatment period, extra changes may be necessary to achieve the best results. We may need to take another set of impressions and have extra aligners made. These are called refinement trays. Typically there is no additional charge for this part of the process.


When your treatment is complete, in order to keep your new smile aligned, you will be given a retainer. Biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift. You will receive a removable retainer that is similar to your aligners. These Vivera retainers are custom made using the same state-of-the-art technology as your aligners. They are strong but clear and nearly invisible. Generally, you only need to wear your removable retainer at night but exact instructions will be provided when you finish treatment and move into the retention phase.

If you’re ready to begin your Invisalign journey, contact Gardner Orthodontics for a complimentary consultation by calling (804) 282-0505 or use our convenient online appointment request form. We can’t wait to get started!


Gardner & La Rochelle Orthodontics in Richmond, VA