Advancements in orthodontic technology allow for more available treatment options than ever before. Clear aligners are the modern way to straighten teeth. Say goodbye to a mouth full of metal and hello to a discreet yet effective alternative.
Let’s break down our top ten tips to remember during your orthodontic journey with clear aligners.
Book an initial consultation to see if you’re a candidate
The first step of the process is to find out whether you are a candidate for treatment using clear aligners. Each doctor will have a different orthodontic consultation process depending on their practice. An orthodontist will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your smile and jaw that includes X-rays, 3D digital scans, bite registrations, dental impressions, and photographs. This process is essential to finding out whether your orthodontic condition can successfully be treated with clear aligners.
The following step will be to discuss your customized treatment plan. Some practices own a scanner where they will be able to provide you with a digital presentation of your future smile. If they do not have a scanner, the impressions will be sent to a lab. But don’t worry — the orthodontist will discuss the full plan with you and provide an estimated treatment time.
The final step will be reviewing your case. It’s important to ask any questions that you may have regarding treatment, and more importantly, payment options. Orthodontic treatment is an investment. Be sure to discuss payment plans with your dentist or orthodontist, and contact your third-party insurance provider to understand the details of your coverage and if it can be applied to your treatment.
What orthodontic issues can be treated with clear aligners?
Aligners can treat a variety of orthodontic issues but it all depends on the patient’s specific needs. Clear aligners are used to successfully treat patients with crooked teeth, crowding issues, underbites, overbites, crossbites, gapped teeth, grinding habits, and sleep apnea.
How do clear aligners work?
Clear aligners are removable, custom-made trays to straighten teeth as opposed to traditional fixed braces. It provides desired results and a significantly less number of treatment sessions over a reduced time.
Aligners are created from clear, medical-grade plastic and are designed individually for each patient. They are customized to fit the patient’s specific dental structure and apply pressure to the teeth to shift them into proper alignment.
Based on the recommendation of your dental professional, aligners are typically switched every two weeks to the next set of trays in the series. It’s crucial to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours a day. You should only remove the trays to eat, drink, brush and floss. The longer the aligners are in the mouth, the faster teeth will move.
The first tray in the series will look like your current teeth but the final set will appear much straighter. The trays in-between the first and the last will move your teeth closer to the desired and final position. Each tray differs by 0.25mm and will move the teeth the same amount of distance. For every four trays worn, your teeth will have moved by 1mm.
What are the benefits?
Clear aligners help patients maintain an easy dental hygiene routine. With traditional braces, food particles and bacteria can become trapped in the brackets and wires but with clear aligner treatment, you’re able to remove the trays before eating or drinking. This will avoid the possibility of cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. Successful treatment with clear aligners requires patient compliance and a commitment to a proper at-home oral care routine.
Another benefit of clear aligner treatment is that it requires fewer in-office appointments. There’s no need for adjustment or tightening appointments but your dentist or orthodontist will recommend occasional visits to check the progress of the treatment. It’s also important to stay up to date on regular dental examinations and professional cleanings.
Depending on your orthodontic needs, clear aligners may reduce treatment time by up to half compared to traditional braces. It typically takes 12 months to correct misalignment issues. It’s important to follow the recommendations of your dentist or orthodontist to ensure the treatment is effective.
If you’re looking to straighten your teeth without the burden of traditional braces, speak to your dentist or orthodontist about options that are suitable for your needs. Because of the technology behind clear aligners, you can achieve the smile you’ve always hoped for without interrupting your life.