I wish… I had a straighter smile… my one tooth was more aligned… I wouldn’t have to pay an arm or a leg for a better smile. If you’ve ever thought any of these things–you are not alone! Thanks to modern technology, there is now another option besides traditional metal braces that may be able to help you create that straighter smile you’ve always wanted. These appliances are called “clear aligners,” though you may be more familiar with the term, “Invisalign,” a brand name that has become a generic term. In actuality, several companies make clear aligners, explains a blog by the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), “Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners.” We at Boulevard Dental now offer clear aligners as a treatment option for our patients, and because of that, we want to explain exactly what aligners are and how they work.
What are Aligners?
According to an online American Dental Association (ADA) Patient Smart publication, written by Dr. Jordan Johnson, aligners are made of clear plastic or acrylic material that are worn over your teeth to straighten them. The AAO blog, “Braces vs. Clear Aligners,” further explains that these aligners are plastic replicas of your teeth, and as such, they are virtually invisible. This makes them a very attractive orthodontic option for patients.
How do Aligners Work?
A series of plastic aligners are initially created by using patient impressions or digital scans, states the AAO blog, “Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners.” The blog adds that the number of aligners needed to create the desired result will vary based upon patient needs. Once in the mouth, aligners gently put pressure on teeth to reposition them.
How Long Do I Need to Wear Aligners?
Dr. Johnson, in his ADA online publication, says that aligners are typically worn for a few weeks to a month before you receive new trays and a new stage of treatment begins. A minimum of 22 hours a day are usually prescribed, adds the AAO blog, “Braces vs. Clear Aligners.” This AAO blog also mentions that just like with braces, patients need to wear retainers after their alignment treatment plan is complete.
Are Aligners Right for Me?
The AAO blog, “Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners,” is clear that aligners may not be the right type of appliance for every kind of orthodontic problem. Traditional braces, it states, may be required for more advanced difficulties. That is why an initial and appropriate diagnosis for each patient is essential before aligners can be considered.
In summary, aligners are clear trays that are virtually invisible. They are worn for a few weeks to a month, and then replaced by the next round of trays until the desired result is achieved. They must also be worn for the prescribed amount of time on a daily basis in order to be effective. In short, aligners are an excellent option for many people who desire a straighter smile. At your next visit, ask us whether you are a good candidate for clear aligners so that we can help you determine if they are right for you!
Johnson, J. DMD. Braces and Orthodontics. Patient Smart. “https://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Braces” Accessed May 8, 2019.
American Association of Orthodontists. Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners. AAO Member Site. “https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/orthodontic-treatment-with-clear-aligners/” Accessed May 9, 2019.
American Association of Orthodontists. Braces vs. Clear Aligners. AAO Member Site. “https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/braces-vs-clear-aligners/” Accessed May 9, 2019.