Many people have an issue with crooked or crowded teeth. In fact, studies show that 65% of teenagers and adults suffer from some form of tooth misalignment, yet many shy away from the idea of traditional braces. Whether it’s your own self-esteem, or the perception that metal brackets and wires are difficult to keep clean, there are many elements that might inspire you to consider the alternative option of Clear Aligner Trays. At Detail Dental, Invisalign® is our preferred choice of clear aligners for adults and teens because they are practically invisible and removable so they are easy to keep clean.
Invisalign® vs. Braces
The Good and The Bad
The idea of either braces or clear aligners has become a prominent dilemma since the introduction of aligners in the late 1990’s. With the founding of Invisalign® in 1997 and it’s mainstream market introduction in 1999, the field of orthodontics has soared to new heights with the innovative ability to discretely straighten teeth without brackets and wires. We have learned however, that clear aligners are not one-size-fits-all, and each patient requires a treatment plan that’s uniquely right for them. If you are considering whether Invisalign® might be right for you, read below the pros and cons of clear aligners verses traditional braces, and how each would fit into your lifestyle.
The Pros and Cons of Invisible Braces
There are numerous advantages that Clear Aligners have over traditional braces.
1. Aligners are removable for meals, brushing, and flossing.
2. Food does not become trapped in aligners – this prevents embarrassment and tooth decay.
3. Aligners are clear and virtually invisible.
4. Aligners are easily rinsed with lukewarm water.
5. You can eat anything you wish (including hard or sticky foods typically forbidden with traditional braces)
6. Treatment must be ongoing for 22 to 24 hours per day, with total time ranging from 8 to 24 months.
7. Fewer follow-up visits – typically only once every 4 to 6 weeks.
8. No wires or sharp metal brackets to irritate the cheeks, gums or cause mouth sores.
9. With the durable, yet flexible thermoplastic of Invisalign®, your mouth is safe from harmful toxins.
Unfortunately, there are also a few cons to Clear Aligner treatment, including:
1. Treatment success relies heavily on the patient – not wearing the aligners inhibits treatment.
2. Aligners not as effective when significant tooth movement is required, when alignment of back teeth is necessary, or when bridgework is present.
3. The cost of treatment can reach an excess of $4,000, depending on patient’s required treatment.
4. As with traditional braches, there may still be some discomfort or pain from the aligner-induced tooth movement.
5. Patients sometimes misplace aligners, leading to additional costs for replacement.
Can I have Clear Aligner Orthodontics?
Clear Aligners provide an excellent solution for most of the orthodontic problems commonly affecting both teenagers and adults: from malocclusions (incorrect bites), such as overbites and under-bites, to poorly aligned teeth, crowding and jaw problems. This treatment can be used to treat patients of any age who have either never had orthodontic treatment, or who have had braces in the past but whose teeth have shifted back out of place.The Clear Aligner system is incredibly versatile and has changed the lives and smiles of over a half a million people in the United States alone! It clearly works and almost anyone is a candidate.
How do I get started?
The Clear Aligner process, step by step, is as follows:
- You will come in for an appointment with one of our DETAIL DENTAL doctors, during which we will create a unique treatment program designed to address your specific orthodontic or dental issues. We will take a picture of your teeth with our digital scanner, a sophisticated piece of machinery that performs a quick and painless replica of your mouth and teeth. The digital images produced by this scan are then used to custom-fabricate your Clear aligners, which takes approximately 4 weeks.
- Once these have been prepared for you and sent back to our office, you can begin treatment! Clear Aligners work by slowly and gently guiding your teeth out of their over-crowded, asymmetrical and/or skewed positions and into better, straighter positions. Clear Aligners treatment utilizes a set of 18 to 30 aligners, and each is worn for an approximate period of two weeks.
- Each consecutive Clear Aligner moves the teeth little by little, applying a greater controlled force to the teeth each time. Many patients ask how much teeth move with each tray. Every two weeks, as you switch out your aligners, your teeth will have moved approximately 1/10mm.
- Throughout treatment, you will be required to have regular appointments with our doctors so that we can ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned. Unlike braces that require frequent adjustment, Clear Aligners check-ups require no more than one visit every four to six weeks
Am I too old to straighten my teeth?
No Way! The majority of our patients using Clear Aligners are adults. The great news about living with Clear Aligners is that it creates a beautiful smile in a virtually invisible manner, never interfering with your social or professional life. In addition, straight and easy-to-clean teeth can help us avoid gum defects, plaque accumulation, heart disease, stroke and even diabetes.
How long can clear aligner treatment take?
Every patient is different, so the amount of time required to wear aligners can vary greatly. The good news is that Clear Aligners work far quicker than traditional braces, with a treatment time ranging from 8 to 24 months, and an average of roughly 12 months. Your DETAIL DENTAL doctors can discuss the specifics of your proposed treatment plan with you during your initial consultation and assessment.
How often will I have to wear my clear aligners?
To ensure treatment progresses at the prescribed rate, you must wear your aligners all the time, aside from eating and cleaning your teeth. In fact, we strongly recommend that you wear them for at least 22 hours per day. The more you take your aligners out or don’t wear them, the longer it will take to realign your teeth for the desired result. The success of treatment is really in your hands and having that control over treatment is another reason many people choose clear aligners over traditional braces.
Are clear aligners comfortable?
For the most part, yes. If you have ever worn or simply researched traditional braces, you will come to appreciate just how comfortable clear aligners can be. Custom-fabricated to fit neatly over your teeth, they do not have any sharp edges or metal brackets to irritate and ulcerate your cheeks and gums. What’s more, aligners can be removed so that you can keep your teeth nice and clean.
It is worth noting however, the gentle pressure applied to your teeth by aligners may cause them to be a little sensitive for the first few days of each new treatment stage. It’s kind of like getting a new pair of shoes. But rest assured, the discomfort is positive proof that your teeth are being realigned to where they will look and function the way you want them to!
Are there any foods I need avoid during treatment?
Unlike during traditional braces, clear aligner trays means you can nearly eat just like you do now. There are virtually no foods that you have to avoid during treatment, as you can simply take your aligners out before eating.
There are a few things to look out for. Chewing gum is typically discouraged since it can stick to your retainers, and taking your aligners out for these activities will not help because it will just lengthen treatment time or even lead to the reversal of orthodontic problems. You should also note that smoking, coffee, tea and red wine can cause staining or aligners to become discolored, and all hot beverages can cause aligners to warp.
Our DETAIL DENTAL team always encourage patients to brush their teeth and clean their aligners after each meal to maintain a good standard of oral hygiene. Because immediate brushing is not always an option, an alternative solution is to rinse the aligners with warm water as soon as possible.
Will I require a retainer after treatment with clear aligners
Yes. Once you have achieved realignment, it can take up to 12 months for new bone to be deposited around the teeth to keep them in place. To make sure teeth revert out of alignment again, DETAIL DENTAL recommends patients wear a retainer between 12 and 22 hours a day for 3-6 months, depending on the extent of your initial problem. For the next 6 months, retainers should be worn nightly.
To help maintain that beautiful smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve, we further recommend retainers be worn 3-5 times a week for life. You’ve put a lot of effort into that smile, let’s keep it that way.
So, how do we get started?
Lets get started! Using the link below, set up a consultation with one of our doctors. You’ll get answers to any questions you may have and learn whether or not Invisalign® is the right option for your smile.
Invisalign®, the Invisalign logo, and iTero®, among others, are trademarks and/ or service marks of Align Technology, Inc. or one of its subsidiaries or affiliated companies and may be registered in the U.S. and/or other countries.