Straight teeth are exciting, but few people look forward to the process of wearing metal braces and smiling through chunky metal bars. It’s no wonder that the use of clear aligners has increased in popularity over the past decade. They are marketed as a fast, easy, and convenient alternative to metal braces.
Do these clear aligners live up to the hype? What do patients really need to know before they start a course of treatment? You have questions and we have answers. Here’s what you need to know about clear aligners.
1. How Do Clear Aligners Work?
Clear aligners like Invisalign are made to straighten teeth over time. These aligners apply pressure to your teeth to move them slowly in the right direction. You will receive your complete series of aligners and replace weekly with a fresh set that continues to adjust your teeth towards the final position.
The main difference between aligners and traditional braces is that you can remove the aligners. Aligners are clear and almost completely invisible, but you can still remove them for important events or to eat. However, you will want to wear your aligners as much as possible(recommended use is 20 hours per day). The more you wear the aligners the more effective your treatment and the straighter your teeth.
2. Who Qualifies to Wear Clear Aligners?
Aligner technology continues to improve, which means more people than ever qualify to use Invisalign and other aligner brands. In most cases, both teens and adults are able to use aligners to straighten their teeth and improve their bite.
Dr. Layman will evaluate your teeth whether it be at an in-office appointment or via a Teledentistry medium. He will then determine if you are a candidate for clear aligners and provide you with a personalized treatment plan.
3. How Long Does Treatment Last?
Every patient is unique, which means there is no set time period for your treatment. However, your orthodontist will likely provide an estimate for how long you need to wear your aligners.
The average patient wears clear aligners for 12 to 18 months. The more you wear your aligners, the more effective they will be. This means you won’t have to extend your treatment.
Even before your treatment is complete, you may start to notice that your teeth are getting straighter with each passing month.
4. How Long Can You Remove Your Aligners At a Time?
One of the main benefits of clear aligners is that you can remove them for important events. However, you don’t want to keep them out for long periods of time or build a habit of not wearing them.
It’s okay to take your aligners out for an important event (like a graduation or a wedding) but try to keep them on if possible. You also need to remove them to eat and should brush your teeth before wearing them again.
5. How Do I Clean My Clear Aligners?
The best way to keep your aligners clean is to keep your mouth clean. Brush and floss before wearing your aligners so food doesn’t build up on them. Coffee, tea, and soda can also stain your aligners, giving you a yellow smile, so try to be careful when drinking these beverages.
Your orthodontist may provide a cleaning solution to help you wash your aligners if you drop them on the floor or if they get dirty.
6. Do You Need to Attend Appointments in Person?
With clear aligners, you may be able to get the treatment you need without multiple visits to an orthodontist. Dr. William “Bill” Layman, DMD is the founder of Straighten Up Orthodontics. He works with patients virtually to answer any questions they have about the aligner process. He can work with his team to take pictures of your teeth and develop a plan to straighten them.
By attending virtual appointments, you can straighten your teeth with minimal interruption to your work or school schedule.
7. What Happens When I Complete My Treatment?
Your teeth want to move, which means they are going to shift around over time and possibly revert back to where they were. Your orthodontist will give you a final set of aligners, after your treatment is complete, to wear as a retainer when you sleep at night. This will keep your teeth straight without requiring you to wear your aligners all day.
Ask Us Your Aligner Questions
These are just a few of the top questions related to clear aligners. Many of our patients have their own concerns before they start using Invisalign. At Straighten Up Orthodontics, our goal is to make you feel comfortable with your treatment plans. We want you to feel confident that you are making the best decision for your needs.
If you have questions about clear aligners, don’t be afraid to reach out. We are happy to set up a virtual appointment to help you learn more.