Modern orthodontics has seen some incredible advances in recent years, from innovative techniques to cutting-edge technology. Here at Shiney Smiles Orthodontics, we combine both to offer patients a variety of exciting treatment options, including Invisalign and Clarity clear aligners! To make sure you have everything you need to know before starting treatment we’re taking a look at the truth about clear aligners.
Clear aligners are our most popular alternative to braces, but you may not be familiar with how they work. These unique systems allow us to straighten smiles using a series of clear aligners instead of brackets, wires, and bands. For patients who would prefer a more subtle way to improve their oral health, clear aligners can be the perfect solution.
While these aligners have been widely used for over twenty years now, they are still considered to be a relatively new treatment, especially when compared to traditional braces. Many people have heard of Invisalign and Clarity, but may not be sure what the clear aligners do or how the systems work to correct orthodontic issues. We believe that patients who are fully informed about their treatment options tend to have the best experience with orthodontics. With that in mind, let’s break down the truth behind clear aligners!
What are clear aligners?
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, we use both fixed and removable appliances. Braces are a fixed appliance, which means the brackets are attached directly to the surface of the teeth and can only be removed by an experienced orthodontic professional. In contrast, Invisalign and Clarity aligners are removable appliances. They are custom-designed to fit your teeth snugly, but no part of them is actually attached to the teeth.
Both systems use a series of removable aligners to shift your teeth in much the same way brackets and wires do. The aligners are made of a special type of thermoplastic resin which allows them to fit firmly but comfortably over your teeth. Using gentle pressure, the aligners gradually straighten the teeth, eventually leaving behind nothing but a beautifully aligned smile.
How do clear aligners work?
The first step in any orthodontic journey is a complimentary consultation. At Shiney Smiles Orthodontics, this visit includes digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion with Dr. Sheinis about any areas of concern he sees. This visit will also determine if clear aligners would be a good fit for you and your smile! If you do decide to move ahead with Invisalign or Clarity, we’ll begin by mapping out a precise treatment plan for you using a highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums. This plan includes the exact movements we want your teeth to make and will also give us an indication of how long we expect treatment to take.
We’ll also use this scan to generate your custom aligners. Once they’re in your hands, it’s up to you to wear them as directed. Patient compliance is essential for success with clear aligners! They must be worn for 20-22 hours each day throughout the treatment process in order to produce the desired results. They also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements of the teeth. Regular check-ups will be scheduled for every 8-10 weeks or so, during which Dr. Sheinis will check that everything is progressing according to the treatment plan.
Every smile is unique and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way, so there’s no uniform answer for how long treatment will take. In general, however, the average amount of time spent in aligners will be anywhere from 9-15 months. The good news? This is slightly less time than most patients spend in braces!
What are the benefits of clear aligners?
Clear aligners are more than an attractive alternative to traditional metal braces. They also allow extra flexibility that other methods can’t match! One example of this is food restrictions. Many people who have worn braces will tell you that having to forego some of their favorite foods was one of the hardest parts of treatment. To protect the wires and brackets, patients in braces must steer clear of anything crunchy or chewy. This is never an issue with Invisalign! You simply take them out any time you want to eat, then put them back in when you’re done.
Removable aligners make it easier to maintain a good dental hygiene routine, too. The wires, brackets, and bands that accompany traditional braces can make cleaning the teeth a time-consuming task. Clear aligners are simply removed before brushing and flossing as normal. Cleaning them is a snap, too! There are special kits designed to clean clear aligners, or you can gently clean them using denture crystals and a soft toothbrush.
Who is a good candidate for clear aligners?
When patients are fully compliant, clear aligners can work just as well as braces in treating many of the most common orthodontic issues. That said, cases that are especially complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve. During your initial consultation, Dr. Sheinis will determine if Invisalign or Clarity aligners could be a good fit for you. You can trust us to only recommend the treatment we believe is best for your individual smile!
What happens once treatment with clear aligners is complete?
Whether you wear braces or aligners, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if there’s nothing to stop them. That’s why you’ll hear us talk so much about how important retainers are! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. In order to maintain your newly straightened smile, you should always wear it exactly as directed.
Your smile is a clear winner with aligners from Shiney Smiles Orthodontics
It’s easy to see why clear aligners continue to be our most popular alternative to braces! These exciting systems are changing the way people view orthodontic treatment every day. If you would like to learn more about how Invisalign and Clarity aligners can give you a confident smile you love, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Sheinis and our team!