What are Clear Aligners?

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional braces and are designed to help guide teeth into their proper position. Similar to braces, clear aligners use a gradual force to control tooth movement, but without metal wires or brackets. The aligners are made of a strong plastic material and are fabricated to fit each individual’s mouth. If a series of aligners are needed, each aligner moves the teeth in incraments until the desired movement is achieved.

Aligners are worn for at least 20 hours a day to reach the desired maximum effectiveness.  Each aligner is worn for three weeks before changing to the next one. The length of treatment with aligners depends upon the severity of each case. Typically, aligner treatment can be as short as three weeks or as long as six months. Overall, aligners offer a much shorter treatment than traditional braces.

Advantages of orthodontic treatment with clear aligners

Clear aligners are a great alternative for patients who want a straighter smile, but do not want to wear traditional metal braces. Also, aligners are beneficial for patients with previous orthodontic treatment that want to make minor corrections to their smile. There are several advantages to using clear aligners:

  • Clear aligners are removable so it is easier for you to brush and floss after meals
  • Clear aligners are easier to keep clean
  • Clear aligners are comfortable and less likely to irritate your gums and cheeks
  • Clear aligners can prevent tooth wear from grinding

Health benefits

Many patients who have traditional braces find it difficult to properly take care of their teeth, because they either had poor oral hygiene to start with and do not make adjustments to their cleaning routines while wearing braces, or they fall into poor oral hygiene habits once their brackets are placed.

Oftentimes, patients will develop calcium deposits on the front of their teeth following orthodontic treatment. These deposits are visible when the braces are removed and require the patient either to have cosmetic work done or live with white spots on their teeth.

Poor hygiene habits with traditional braces also may result in swollen gums that can become problematic if the patient neglects to perform good oral hygiene. Swollen gums can then lead to gingivitis, which if left untreated can lead to lifelong health problems.

Clear aligners were first used only on simple orthodontic cases, such as slightly crowded teeth, but now they’re used for even the most advanced orthodontic cases. Not only do we find that clear aligners take away the social stigma of orthodontics, but they also tend to be more efficient when it comes to patients’ oral health.