If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, clear aligners may be a great option for you! The latest advances in research, technology, and materials mean that clear aligners are a comfortable, convenient alternative to braces. Gio Iuculano, DDS discusses the most recent developments.
What are clear aligners?
An alternative to traditional braces, clear aligners are a system of lightweight, removable trays that straighten your teeth. Each aligner is custom-made to fit snugly over your teeth, and over time, the aligners guide your teeth into their optimal position.
Who can wear clear aligners?
Most of the patients for whom we recommend this treatment are teenagers, but it’s also a popular option for adults.
If I opt for clear aligners, what advantages could I expect?
The advantages of aligners over traditional braces are numerous:
- They’re comfortable. Clear aligners eliminate the need for sharp metal wires and brackets that could irritate the inside of your mouth.
- They’re cosmetic. Unless you tell those around you that you’re wearing clear aligners, they likely won’t notice at all. Aligners typically won’t cause you any problems with speech or pronunciation, either.
- They’re convenient. You’ll make fewer visits to our office and spend less time here at each visit, because there are no wires to adjust or replace.
- They lead to a better overall outcome. With clear aligner treatment, patients often experience fewer cavities (because they can remove the aligners to clean their teeth) and develop more stable bites. This results in fewer instances of TMJ dysfunction (jaw joint disorders).
How would my treatment with clear aligners work?
We recommend clear aligners based on the details of your individual case. If we determine that this treatment will be beneficial to you, here’s what you may expect:
- At your initial orthodontic visit, we’ll measure your mouth and take impressions so your aligners can be made just for you. We’ll then develop a treatment plan with the aligner manufacturer, Invisalign. Invisalign offers an excellent product with unique advantages, and based on your needs, we’ll recommend the best plan for you.
- Within a few weeks, the manufacturer will fabricate the aligners and ship them to us.
- You’ll wear your aligners regularly. Most patients wear their aligners around the clock, removing them only to eat and clean their teeth. You’ll also change to a new set of upper and lower aligners every week or two, according to our instructions.
- You’ll visit our office every 6-8 weeks to receive new sets of aligners and so we can ensure your teeth are tracking properly.
How long can I expect to wear clear aligners?
Every patient is different, but recent advances in materials and treatment protocols mean that most patients can expect to wear their aligners between 6 and 12 months.
If I choose clear aligners, can I speed up my treatment timeframe?
We offer two options to speed up aligner treatment. First, you may choose to use a Propel VPro 5 device daily while your aligners do their job. This takes just five minutes a day and typically speeds up the alignment process by about two days per week. For even more time savings, we offer the option of micro-osteoperforation, a painless procedure that takes about ten minutes in our office. (Read more here about both of these options.)
Will clear aligners cause me discomfort?
As your teeth gradually shift, any discomfort you experience should be minor and treatable with an over-the-counter pain reliever. However, our patients rarely report discomfort from their aligner treatment.
How should I care for my clear aligners?
When you receive your first set of aligners in our office, we’ll advise you on the best way to keep them clean, how to protect them when you remove them, and the correct way to fit them back into your mouth.
What will my clear aligners cost?
Costs vary depending on the aligner manufacturer, your total treatment timeframe, and your insurance. We will gladly provide you a free orthodontic consultation and calculate specific cost details to help you make your decision. We typically charge less for aligner treatment than many orthodontists.
What else should I know about orthodontic treatment with clear aligners?
Because you need to remove your aligners every time you eat, you may find that you don’t snack as often! You should still clean your teeth as usual—remove the aligners, floss once each day, and brush thoroughly twice a day. It’s that easy!