What are clear aligners?
We offer clear aligners as an alternative to traditional braces within our orthodontic treatment options. Clear aligners straighten teeth by using a system of clear, removable trays. Each custom-made aligner fits over your teeth, and helps gradually guide the teeth into their optimal position. While this option is effective for many orthodontic patients, we do not recommend it for everyone. The details of your case will help us to determine if clear aligners are right for you.
How do clear aligners work?
Similar to braces, clear aligners control tooth movement through gradual force applied over time. The aligners are fabricated to fit your mouth and made from a strong plastic. Because the shape of each successive aligner differs slightly from the one before it, your teeth will move a little more each time you switch to a new aligner.
What are the daily and overall timeframes for wearing aligners?
You wear each aligner at least 20 hours each day for about two weeks before switching aligners. Your overall treatment timeframe will depend on the details of your case; it may last anywhere from 6-24 months.
What are the advantages of orthodontic treatment with clear aligners?
For patients who want straighter smiles and do not require metal braces, or for patients who want to make minor smile corrections after previous orthodontic treatment, clear aligners may be a good option. Orthodontic treatment with clear aligners is advantageous because the aligners are:
- Comfortable and less likely than traditional metal braces to irritate gums and cheeks
- Protective of teeth by preventing wear from tooth grinding
- Removable for easy flossing and brushing after meals
- Easy to keep clean, allowing patients to easily maintain the health of their teeth and gums
We offer two clear aligner options: ClearCorrect and Invisalign®. Each of these options is explained below. If you’re interested in clear aligners as an orthodontic treatment option, please schedule an appointment with us to talk about whether or not this is the right treatment option for you.
What is ClearCorrect?
ClearCorrect is a system of clear tooth aligners that are comfortable and almost invisible when worn. Each aligner is removable, making it easy for you to eat, floss, and brush. After its founding by a group of physicians, ClearCorrect received its FDA approval in 2009, and manufactures all of its 100% US-made products in Round Rock, Texas.
- Comfort: The product is designed with your comfort in mind. The aligners move your teeth only up to .3 mm within a two-week step period, and all aligner material is thoroughly tested for biocompatibility. Some patients have experienced tightness during their initial few days of treatment, but report that the aligners are generally very comfortable and painless.
- Durability: The aligners are made from Zendura, a leading polyurethane resin in stress retention, crack and impact resistance, clarity, and stain resistance. Zendura is made in the USA by Bay Materials.
- Environmentally friendly: ClearCorrect aligners do not contain BPA or phthalates. ClearCorrect ships its aligners in biodegradable plastic bags, uses recyclable materials in manufacturing and packaging, and participates in recycling programs.
How does the ClearCorrect process work?
You wear each set of aligners day and night for about two weeks. You may remove them for up to two hours each day to eat, brush, and floss. Your teeth will move a little at a time until you have completed all the treatment phases. Because we customize your treatment according to your needs, we will provide an individual estimate of your total treatment time.
What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® aligners are comfortable, removable, and clear (invisible)—no one can tell you’re wearing them! The makers of Invisalign use 3D computer imaging technology, and the aligners have been proven effective.
Invisalign® aligners are made of a medical-grade polyurethane resin that has been tested and determined to be highly biocompatible. It is free of BPA and phthalates. The FDA granted clearance to Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign® devices, to market and sell them in 1998.
The aligners are clear and nearly impossible to see, so you can smile with confidence during your treatment! There is no metal to cause abrasions in your mouth, so they are comfortable. Without metal or wires, you can expect to spend less time in our office for adjustments. The aligners are also removable, so flossing and brushing are easy; and unlike traditional metal braces, which carry limitations on certain types of foods, you can eat and drink what you want during your Invisalign® treatment. At the beginning of your treatment process, the Invisalign® system provides a virtual view of your treatment plan, so you can see how your straight teeth will look at the end of your treatment process.
How does Invisalign® work?
You can expect to wear each set of aligners for approximately two weeks. You’ll remove them only to eat, floss, and brush. As you advance through the series of aligners, your teeth will shift gradually until they have reached the optimal position we have prescribed. We’ll schedule office visits with you every six weeks or so, to ensure that your treatment is progressing according to plan. Treatment timeframes frequently average 9-15 months, but this will vary from case to case.