Orthodontic Clear Aligners
Clear Aligners Are an Outstanding Option for Many Teens and Adults
Beautiful smiles come more naturally when you have confidence in your teeth. Everyone knows that traditional braces with brackets and wires can straighten teeth, but not everyone wants to endure them. This is especially true for adults and teens who don’t want the juvenile look of braces.
Clear aligners are a desirable alternative for adults and teens whose mouths are done developing. They are a series of custom-made, clear plastic pieces that fit snugly over the teeth and are periodically changed to straighten your teeth.
Clear aligners are most effective for patients with mild or moderate issues, who don’t require a complex orthodontic treatment. Aligners work well for the following orthodontic conditions:
- Crowded teeth
- Spacing between teeth
- Crooked teeth
How Clear Aligners Work
Clear aligners are custom-designed for each patient. Patients wear a set of aligners a few weeks at a time, and each set is slightly different, which causes your teeth to move gradually with every new set. You wear the aligners at all times, except for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. You will need to have periodic office visits, so we can evaluate your progress and give you the next set of aligners.
Benefits of Clear Aligners
People choose clear aligners to straighten teeth because they eliminate many of the drawbacks of traditional braces. These are the benefits that clear aligners offer:
- They are virtually invisible. Adults and teens typically don’t want it to look like they have braces, and clear aligners are barely noticeable.
- They don’t affect eating habits. You should remove the aligners when you eat, so there is no list of restricted foods, plus this makes eating much easier than it would be with a mouth full of wire and brackets.
- They make oral hygiene easy. Because you take them out to brush and floss, there is no hindrance to proper cleaning.
- They require less treatment time and fewer office visits. Clear aligners target only the teeth that need to be moved, so the correction can happen over a shorter period than with braces. Instead of dental visits every four weeks to tighten wires, we give you several aligners at your appointments, so you don’t need to come in as often.
- They are more comfortable to wear. With smooth, custom-fit aligners, the insides of your mouth and cheeks won’t get poked and scratched as often they often do with metal braces.
What to Expect During the Process
The process for clear aligners is simple and straightforward. This is what will happen:
- Step 1. You schedule an appointment to see if clear aligners are suitable for you and have a digital scan done of your teeth.
- Step 2. We analyze your bite and develop a treatment plan that is fully customized to you, including how long it will take. You see how your teeth will move and get a preview of the end result.
- Step 3. Aligners are specifically manufactured for you, to deliver the exact movement your teeth need.
- Step 4. You receive your aligners and start wearing them.
- Step 5. We monitor your progress until your new smile is complete.
Clear Aligner Choices That Atrium Dental Offers
We use Invisalign and SureSmile clear aligners. Both are comfortable, inconspicuous, and deliver excellent results.
- The Food and Drug Administration approved Invisalign in 1998, and it is the pioneer in clear aligner treatment. Invisalign aligners are made from SmartTrack material, a multilayer polymer that delivers constant, gentle force with proven control over tooth movement. Invisalign uses the iTero digital scanning system to create fast, accurate 3D digital images.
- SureSmile aligners were developed with industry-leading capabilities and made from Essix plastic, which has superior performance. It uses the world’s most advanced planning software for digital orthodontics, and the aligners are manufactured with advanced robotics and proprietary algorithms to ensure a precision fit.
At Atrium Dental, we can scan faster for SureSmile because it uses the same manufacturer as the CEREC machine we have to do the scanning. The lab cost is also less, and we can pass those savings onto our patients.
Answers to Questions About Clear Aligners
Here are responses to some of the most common questions that people have about clear aligners. You can also call us at (480) 940-4321 with any other questions.
- Is clear aligner treatment painful?
The aligners work by applying subtle and constant force, so some people do experience discomfort during the first few days they wear a new set. Patients typically describe it as pressure more than pain. We encourage you to let us know if you have prolonged discomfort.
- How long does a treatment take?
Each patient’s situation is unique, and treatment time is based on how much your teeth need to be moved, so it varies from person to person. Typically, it takes between 10 and 24 months.
- Can I remove my aligners throughout the day?
Yes. It is necessary for you to take the aligners off for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. You may also remove them for short periods of time for other activities, but you must wear them 20 to 22 hours every day to achieve the best results.
- Are there any food restrictions with clear aligners?
No. Since you must remove the aligners when you eat, there is no reason to give up any of your favorite foods. However, you cannot chew gum while wearing aligners, and you need to be very careful about drinking liquids other than water. Hot drinks can warp aligners, and colored liquids like tea, coffee, and wine can gradually cause discoloration.
- What happens if an aligner gets lost or damaged?
If you misplace or damage an aligner, we can make sure your treatment plan is not affected. You might need to start with your next set of aligners, or we might have to order replacements.