If you’re considering straightening your teeth but dread the thought of metal braces, you may be a candidate for clear aligners. Clear aligners are a popular orthodontic treatment that can effectively straighten teeth without the use of brackets and wires. Book a consultation with the Alex Hills Dental team to discuss the different orthodontic treatment options that are available to you.
Here’s everything you need to know about clear aligners, including how they work and what to expect during treatment.
What are clear aligners?
Clear aligners are thin, transparent plastic trays that fit snugly over your teeth. They are custom-made to gradually shift your teeth into alignment. A dentist or orthodontist will usually only recommend clear aligner treatment in cases of mild to moderate malocclusion (the proper term for poor teeth alignment). More complex cases might require more extensive treatment to effective straighten teeth. Book a consultation to discuss the most effective treatment options for you.
If you have tooth alignment issues and clear aligners are suitable for your dental issues, this is a great option. These aligners are great in that they are effective at moving teeth and yet they aren’t very visible. Clear aligners are virtually invisible when worn, so most people won’t even know you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.
How do clear aligners work?
Clear aligners work by applying gentle, consistent pressure to your teeth. This pressure slowly moves your teeth into the desired position. Clear aligners are usually worn for 20-22 hours per day and should only be removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing.
Every two weeks, you’ll receive a new set of aligners that are slightly different from the previous ones. As you progress through treatment, each new set of aligners will move your teeth incrementally closer to the final desired position. Treatment time varies depending on the severity of misalignment, but it typically takes 9-18 months to complete treatment with clear aligners. That is the average treatment time; it will differ for different patients.
What are the benefits of clear aligners?
There are many benefits of clear aligners, which is why they are such a popular orthodontic treatment option. Some of the benefits of clear aligners include:
- Virtually invisible: since clear aligners are made from transparent plastic, they are virtually invisible when worn. This means you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing you’re undergoing treatment. Many patients choose clear aligners for this reason alone. Traditional metal braces are not attractive and many patients feel self-conscious with metal wires and brackets. Clear aligners do not have the same negative impact on your physical appearance. You can smile with confidence, all the while knowing that your teeth are being straightened.
- Comfortable to wear: clear aligners are made from smooth plastic, so they are very comfortable to wear. There are no brackets or wires to irritate your gums or cheeks. Patients who have metal braces often have to use orthodontic wax to prevent the metal wires and brackets hurting the inside of their mouths. Clear aligners don’t have any sharp edges or obtrusive pieces that could could discomfort or even pain.
- Removable for eating and drinking: unlike braces, clear aligners can be removed for eating and drinking. This means you don’t have to worry about food getting stuck in your braces or damaging your aligners. Many of our patients who have metal braces say that they are self-conscious when eating in social environments because they are worried about food getting caught in their braces. This is not only embarrassing, but can make it more difficult to maintain adequate dental hygiene. Wearing clear aligners that can be easily removed solves both these potential issues.
- Easy to care for: clear aligners are easy to care for and keep clean. You simply brush and floss as usual and use a special cleaning kit to clean your aligners. Traditional metal brackets and wires often catch bits of food. In addition, it is far more complicated and difficult to brush and floss thoroughly when you have metal braces. This can increase your chances of developing a cavity or other dental problems. Fortunately, clear aligners make it very easy to maintain proper dental hygiene and, therefore, don’t increase the chances of decay etc that can be associated with metal braces.
- No dietary restrictions: since you can remove your aligners for eating, there are no dietary restrictions. Patients who have metal braces are required to avoid certain foods as these can damage the braces, and therefore interfere with the teeth alignment treatment. However, this is not the case with aligners. You can eat whatever you want without having to worry about damaging your braces or alignment.
What are the treatment costs for clear aligners?
Different patients require different orthodontic treatment plans. The complexity and duration of your orthodontic treatment will determine the overall cost. When you book a consultation at Alex Hills Dental, we will provide you with an estimate treatment cost based on your dental examination and treatment plan. Please note that we are willing to discuss different payment plans and options so that you can select the payment plan that best suits you.
If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, clear aligners may be the right option for you. Be sure to talk to your dentist or orthodontist to see if clear aligners are right for you. Contact Alex Hills Dental to book the next available consultation!