What Are Clear Aligners and How Do They Work?

clear aligners

Many people feel self-conscious about their smiles, with around 60% of adults believing that they could benefit from straighter teeth. Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. You deserve to have a smile that makes you feel confident. Many orthodontic treatments can help you achieve a flawless smile. Clear aligners are an excellent way to straighten teeth without using cumbersome metal braces. Enjoy a more convenient way to get the smile of your dreams. 

This guide will discuss everything you need to know about clear dental aligners. We’ll also talk about how they can straighten your teeth as effectively as traditional methods. 

What Are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners can guide misaligned teeth into their proper positions. They utilize gradual force to control the movement of your teeth like metal braces. The difference is that don’t use brackets or metal wires to do so. 

Clear aligners are constructed from durable plastic. They’re individually fabricated to fit each patient’s mouth. 

While every smile is different, treatment usually lasts around six to 12 months with clear aligners. Most patients receive 25 trays, which equates to 25 weeks of treatment. 

How Do Clear Aligners Work?

Most orthodontists will recommend a series of clear aligners to straighten a person’s teeth. Each set of aligners will slowly move the teeth in small increments until they reach the desired position. You’ll receive new aligners to wear every few weeks. 

Clear aligners tend to be more comfortable and gentle than other options. That’s because the changes between each new set of aligners are small. 

Clear aligners should be worn at least 22 hours each day to be effective. You can still participate in your daily activities while getting treatment from clear aligners. These include:

  • Drink various beverages, like coffee and red wine
  • Eat your favorite foods
  • Participate in sports
  • Floss and brush like normal 

All you have to do is take out your aligners while you eat and drink. Make sure you brush before putting your aligners back in. 

Will I Need Attachments?

Some patients might need additional attachments when wearing clear aligners. These attachments are small plastic bumps that match the color of your natural teeth. They enable the aligners to grip your teeth, staying in position. 

The attachments also put additional pressure on your teeth, helping them with the strengthening process. You might have to get rubber bands to wear with your aligners. These rubber bands are similar to those some people have to wear with metal braces. 

The bands also put additional pressure on your teeth. They can also correct bite issues. 

Who Is a Candidate for Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners are perfect for treating a wide range of dental issues. These can include:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Spaced or gapped teeth
  • Crooked teeth 
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Underbite
  • Open bite

Minor and complex dental problems can get remedied with the help of clear aligners. Your orthodontist will create a personalized treatment plan that helps you achieve your goals in your timeframe. 

There are a few things to consider before getting clear aligners. You have to wear your aligners for 20-22 hours each day. If you can’t commit to that, then clear aligners might not be an option for you. 

Some questions you should ask yourself include:

  • Do I want a virtually invisible teeth straightening option?
  • Can I commit to wearing my aligners 22 hours a day?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then clear aligners are a great option for you. If you don’t think you can commit to wearing clear aligners, then you might want to explore other tooth straightening options. 

Are Clear Aligners as Good as Braces?

Clear aligners are just as effective at straightening your teeth as metal braces are. Opting for clear aligners provides you with numerous advantages that you wouldn’t experience if you went with braces. 

Fewer Trips to the Orthodontist 

You’ll need to visit your orthodontist often when you have clear aligners. They’ll have to tighten your wires and/or rubber bands. 

Your orthodontist will give you the aligners you need for your current phase and the next few series. You don’t have to schedule an appointment when it’s time to switch to a new set of trays. You can move on to the next phase of your teeth straightening plan without going into the office. 

Easier Maintenance 

Traditional metal braces are a pain to clean. You have to be careful what you eat, taking extra time to floss and brush your teeth after meals. 

You’ll remove your clear aligners when it’s time to eat. Gently brush the aligners with warm water and toothpaste before putting them back in your mouth. You don’t have to introduce any new oral hygiene techniques when you choose clear aligners. 

Eat What You Love

There are countless foods and drinks you’ll have to give up when you have metal braces. Eating some of the “forbidden” foods could result in damage to your braces, prolonging your treatment plan. 

Some of the foods you can’t eat when you have braces include:

  • Popcorn 
  • Nuts
  • Gum
  • Candies
  • Apples
  • Corn on the cob

Eat the food you love without worrying you’ll damage your clear aligners. 

Invisible Treatment Plan

Many people feel self-conscious when they’re wearing braces, especially as an adult. Clear aligners give you the option of straightening your teeth in a nearly invisible way. No one will know that you’re wearing them unless you let them know. 

Minimal Discomfort

Traditional metal braces utilize wires and brackets to move your teeth into place. This additional tension can cause soreness and difficulty chewing. 

You’ll experience less discomfort when you wear clear aligners. You don’t have to worry about metal scraping against your gums, cheek, or tongue. 

Safe for All Ages

Patients of all ages can wear clear aligners. It’s recommended that patients be at least 13 or 14 before wearing them. The patient should be old and mature enough to ensure they don’t lose any of their clear aligners. 

The Process of Wearing Clear Aligners 

Getting clear aligners is a fairly straightforward orthodontic process. Let’s discuss what you can expect when you make an appointment for clear aligners. 

Initial Consultation 

While most people are candidates for clear aligners, a consultation is still necessary. Clear aligners aren’t a solution for all dental issues. We’ll need to evaluate your smile for problems like:

  • Decayed teeth
  • Infections 
  • Abnormalities 

There might be certain dental care procedures we have to perform before you can get fitted for clear aligners. The consultation will also let us know how severe your misalignment is. This information helps us determine how long your treatment will be. 

Treatment Plan Creation 

We’ll start creating a customized treatment plan once we’ve determined you’re ready for clear aligners. We’ll gather the following information:

  • X-rays
  • Teeth impressions
  • Photographs

This information gets sent to a company that creates your clear aligners for your teeth. They’ll create a 3D rendering of your mouth and a computer model that highlights how they’ll move into the final position.

Once we’re satisfied with the proposed treatment plan, your clear aligners will get made. It takes three to four weeks for them to arrive at our office. 

Get Your Clear Aligners

We’ll let you know how long you need to wear each set of clear aligners. We’ll also schedule check-ins so we can monitor your progress. Our team might make modifications to your treatment plan if we’re not seeing the results we expect. 

We Evaluate Your Smile

We’ll review your smile after you’ve worn your last tray for around two weeks. Your teeth might need a few more adjustments before completing treatment. You could need a few refinement trays to achieve your ideal smile. 

Smile Maintenance 

Some patients might have to wear a retainer after they’ve completed treatment. A retainer helps your jawbone solidify around your teeth’s new positions. You must wear your retainer at all times after you’re done with your treatment. 

What Are Common Misconceptions About Clear Aligners

Like with any type of dental or medical treatment, there are common myths about its effectiveness. Here are some of the most prevalent misconceptions about clean aligners. 

They Take Longer Than Traditional Braces

As we mentioned earlier, clear aligners can take six to 12 months. Depending on your dental health problems, metal braces can take one to three years to straighten your teeth. 

You’ll Talk With a Lisp

It might take you a few days to get used to talking with clear aligners. That’s because you’re not used to having something in your mouth while you talk. Any lisp you might experience will gradually disappear as you get used to the clear aligners. 

Schedule an Appointment for Clear Aligners Consultation 

If you’re looking for an easy and subtle way to straighten your teeth and correct other dental issues, clear aligners are a great choice. Your orthodontist will discuss with you if clear aligners will help you achieve your smile goals. 

Denture Rescue is here to help you find the best clear aligners for your smile. Schedule a consultation at our office today. 

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