For people who are dissatisfied with their smiles but have not done anything about them because they are not interested in a mouthful of metal, clear aligners may be a good option. They eliminate both the discomfort of metal wires and the inconvenience of adjustments. Clear aligners straighten teeth without metal bands, brackets or wires. The custom-made trays are comfortable, and easy to remove for eating, brushing, flossing and special occasions. The clear-plastic aligners are so inconspicuous that it is difficult to tell when someone is wearing them.
Clear Aligners Technology
Clear aligners use the latest in 3-D computer imaging to determine a projected path of tooth movement for each patient. This allows a dentist to design a series of personalized aligners (repositioners) that work to straighten teeth over time. Each set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks, at which point there is a changeover to a new set.
Candidates For Clear Aligners
Clear aligners capably treat most common problems found in adults and teens. They are successful in straightening crooked teeth, eliminating crowding and closing gaps. Clear aligners can be used to treat both minor cosmetic issues and more-complex bite problems.
Benefits Of Clear Aligners
Clear aligners are nearly invisible, and do not draw attention to the mouth; most people cannot tell when someone is wearing them. Clear aligners offer many benefits over traditional metal braces including:
- More cosmetically appealing
- Lower cost
- Little-to-no impact on daily life
- Less painful
- Greater flexibility because aligners can be removed at any time
- Easier to keep teeth clean and healthy
- No dietary restrictions
With no metal or wires to irritate the mouth, an active, athletic lifestyle, free from worry about injury or bracket breakage, can be maintained.
Clear Aligners Process
Step One: Consultation With A Provider
To begin the treatment process, a dentist must be consulted. The dentist will determine whether clear aligners are suitable for the patient, and, if so, will develop an appropriate course of treatment. X-rays, photographs and impressions will be taken of the teeth.
Step Two: Fabrication Of Custom Aligners
Advanced 3-D computer-imaging technology will analyze and transform impressions of a patient's teeth into a custom-made series of clear and removable aligners. Using this same computer imaging, a dentist will be able to see the anticipated progression of the therapy, and what the teeth will look like after treatment is completed. This analysis can be done in-office before any treatment has started.
Step Three: Receiving The Clear Aligners
At the next visit, the patient receives the aligners. Each set is worn day and night for about two weeks, and is removed only to eat, drink, brush and floss. The patient sees the dentist every four to six weeks to ensure that treatment is progressing as planned, and to get the next set of aligners to take home. Treatment is complete once each set of aligners has been worn. The average treatment time, which depends on the complexity of the case, is typically six months to one year.
Clear aligners have been shown to be highly effective at straightening teeth.