What are clear aligners and how do they straighten teeth?
This method of orthodontic treatment helps to resolve concerns using a series of clear, removable trays. These clear aligners will alter your teeth over a period of time until they reach the prescribed positioning. This goal will have been predetermined as part of your customized orthodontic treatment plan.
Over the last decade, they’ve been a popular treatment for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth discreetly, without the wires and brackets that come with traditional metal braces.
How will you know if you are a suitable candidate?
Before jumping into treatment with clear aligners, you will need to find out if they are a good fit for you. At your consultation appointment, your orthodontist will complete an exam, including digital X-rays, photos of your teeth, dental impressions, and a bite registration (to find out how your upper and lower teeth fit together).
This is a crucial step as not every patient will be able to be treated successfully using clear aligners and some may need to consider other options.
Dental Concerns That Clear Aligners May Help Treat
After your orthodontist examines your smile and takes impressions of your teeth, your aligners will be made to treat specific orthodontic issues. Orthodontists have used Invisalign to successfully treat patients with:
- Crooked teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Open bite
- Gapped teeth
- Sleep apnea
Just like each patient’s teeth are unique, each case is different. Your specific treatment time and other factors in your treatment plan may vary depending on which teeth must be moved, and by how much. It can take longer to move some teeth than others due to their position in your mouth.
Depending on your needs and preferences, removable custom clear aligners can offer an aesthetic and comfortable alternative to fixed appliances such as braces when it comes to orthodontic treatment.
How can clear aligners help keep your oral hygiene on track?
With the brushing and flossing you’ll need to do to keep your teeth - and your aligners clean - during treatment, you’ll be diligently brushing away plaque and bacteria that can get stuck between your aligners and your teeth, leading to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.
A large part of successful treatment with clear aligners is the commitment to excellent oral hygiene - and working with your orthodontist to follow the treatment plan and minimize the chance for plaque to take hold.
Will you need to spend more or less time in the dental office?
Another benefit of clear aligners is that you’ll spend less time in your orthodontist’s office - and more time enjoying your straighter smile.
Clear aligners shouldn’t require regular adjustments or tightening, and you should only need to visit your orthodontist every couple of months to check in on your progress and ensure your treatment is going to plan.
What are some of the limitations of clear aligners?
While there are many advantages to treatment with clear aligners, not all orthodontic issues can be treated with this option. Large overbites, severe rotations, molar issues and other problems may require another orthodontic treatment option.
If your orthodontist has determined that clear aligners may not be a good option for you you are not completely out of luck. Luckily, there are a few other forms of orthodontic treatment that may work for you.