Clear Orthodontic Aligners
When we think about orthodontics, most of us conjure up an image of a kid with a mouthful of metal braces. These metal braces are still an excellent tool for improving the alignment and spacing of teeth, but many people wish for a more discreet option. One popular alternative to metal braces is the use of Invisalign®.
These clear orthodontic aligners are practically invisible, formed out of polyurethane plastic. Unlike metal braces and clear braces, clear aligners can be removed easily and quickly. This allows the user to remove the aligner when eating, brushing the teeth and flossing, and on special social occasions when you might prefer not to wear the aligners. It is important to note, however, that in order to improve the results of Invisalign®, the user must wear them as often as possible.
The Invisalign® system has many advantages over traditional braces, including:
Enhanced Oral Hygiene –
Clear aligners make it easier to brush and floss, which can be difficult when wearing traditional braces.
More Dietary Options -
With metal braces or clear braces, some diet changes have to be made to protect the metal wires. However with Invisalign®, you can simply remove the appliance and eat what you choose.
A Nearly Invisible Look -
For some people, especially adults, a more discreet look is preferable, and clear orthodontic aligners provide you with a nearly-invisible orthodontic treatment.
Greater Comfort -
While braces generally don’t hurt, they can be uncomfortable at times and can irritate soft tissue in your mouth. With Invisalign®, you have improved comfort and the flexible, thin material will not irritate the inside of your mouth.
Protection From Grinding -
Many people grind their teeth or clench their jaw, particularly at nighttime. Clear aligners double as thin nightguards which can protect your teeth from grinding and clenching.
The Invisalign System
Just like braces, clear aligners apply controlled force to your teeth to help guide them into a better position. However, the clear aligners are plastic, rather than metal or a combination of metal and plastic.
Special computer software is used to create your personal Invisalign® plan. This plan details the steps needed to move your teeth from the current location into more optimum alignment. This process will include several different stages and for each stage, Invisalign® will manufacture a carefully designed set of plastic mouth aligners, often called “trays.”
Generally, you wear each set of trays for about two weeks for at least 20 hours per day. After each stage, you simply start using the next set of aligners. Gradually, your teeth will move into correct alignment. Every patient’s situation is different, but on average, it takes about a year to achieve the desired effect.
Invisalign® For Teenagers
Within the last few years, features have been added specifically to make Invisalign an appropriate orthodontic treatment for some teens. This product is known as Invisalign Teen ®. Eruption tabs have been added to hold open space for teens with molars that have not grown in fully yet. In addition, compliance indicators are built into the material itself. This makes it easier for dentists, parents and teens to ensure that the trays are fitting properly.
Proper Dental Care During Treatment
As previously stated one big advantage of Invisalign® is that you can simply remove the trays and clean your teeth. It is important to brush your teeth after you eat as this will remove food and debris that can become trapped in your aligners. Trapped food and excess plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so proper dental care is very important. You also need to clean the aligners regularly. All you need to do is brush them with a clean tooth brush and rinse them in lukewarm water.
One Final Note About Invisalign®
While the experience of using a clear aligner is quite different from wearing traditional braces, the post treatment is the same. In order to maintain proper alignment, you will need to wear a retainer or retainers as prescribed by your dentist. While clear aligners are not the best solution for every patient, call us today and set up an appointment to talk about your orthodontic options.