The 5 Most Common Questions About Clear Aligners

1. What are clear aligners

Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional braces and orthodontics. Instead of using metal wires or brackets, clear, plastic aligners are placed over your teeth to apply consistent, gentle pressure and guide teeth into their proper position. 

What types of cases do clear aligners treat?

Clear aligners are nearly invisible, minimally invasive, and treat a wide range of spacing and bite issues, including:

Mild-to-moderate crowding 

Arch expansion 

Underbites and overbites 

Crossbites and open bites (when paired with other devices and/or procedures) 

Millions of patients worldwide have successfully improved their smiles and dental health using clear aligners. 

2. What are the benefits of clear aligners

While most assume clear aligner benefits are purely cosmetic, they offer health benefits too.  

Crowded and overlapping teeth make it easier for plaque and bacteria to accumulate. Over time, this can lead to cavities and gum disease. On the other end of the spectrum, too much space between your teeth can lead to gum damage, bone damage, and, in severe cases, loose teeth. 

Properly spaced teeth are less likely to hold onto food debris and are easier to clean. This reduces the likelihood of developing conditions like gingivitis, endocarditis, and gum disease. Patients who complete their clear aligner treatments report higher levels of confidence and better dental hygiene. 

Clear aligner treatments come with a 3-in-1 whitening and cleaning solution to help patients achieve their dental hygiene and aesthetic goals. 

3. What is the cost of clear aligners

Cost varies based on your insurance benefits and the number of clear aligners needed to perfect your smile. Your dentist may offer financing options and you can use your FSA and/or HSA funds toward your treatment. 

4. What is the clear aligner treatment process

To get started, your dentist will assess your case by taking photos of your smile and performing a digital intraoral scan of your teeth. This information will be used to design a treatment plan customized to your specific needs. Once you’ve approved the treatment plan, your dentist will order your clear aligners. You’ll schedule an appointment to receive your clear aligners and begin the treatment! 

How long does treatment last

The length of treatment can vary based on the complexity of your case and the number of steps needed. Plans can range from 4 months to 24+ months depending on case complexity. Each clear aligner step is worn for a 14-day cycle. 

How often do I need to visit the dentist

The number of appointments as well as the time between appointments will ultimately be determined by your dentist. Most patients will be seen by the doctor every 4 weeks to ensure their treatment is on track. You will change the aligner steps every 14 days. Since you are changing the aligners yourself, scheduling your follow-up visits is very flexible and can easily be planned around your busy schedule. 

What are clear aligners made out of and what do they look like

Clear aligners are molded out of clear, BPA-free and phthalate-free, medical-grade plastic for comfort and results. The interior layer of the aligner is slightly soft to allow for comfortable tooth movement. The exterior layers are rigid and durable to protect against grinding, clenching, and cracking. 

What are the benefits of working with my dentist for clear aligner treatment?

Your dentist is trained in tooth movement and will be monitoring your treatment in person to guarantee safety and effectiveness. This includes periodic evaluations and X-rays to monitor your progress and oral health. There are a variety of direct-to-consumer clear aligner treatments in the market. These companies do not offer in-person evaluation,  supervision and are not able to provide a truly custom treatment that factors in your unique physiology. Working with your dentist is, ultimately, the safest and most effective option for clear aligners. 

5. How will clear aligners impact my daily life

Clear aligners should have a minimal impact on your day-to-day activities. 

Will this impact my speech

Patients may experience changes to their speech for the first few days, and up to a week. This is often temporary and corrects itself once you have adjusted to the sensation of having the clear aligners in your mouth. 

Pro tip: Practice speaking using the Rainbow Passage, and your speech will quickly go back to normal. 

How do I clean my clear aligners

Cleaning your clear aligners is simple! Clean your aligners with soap, water, and effervescent cleaning tablets daily. Your clear aligners kit comes with a 3-in-1 cleaning, breath freshening and whitening solution that is sprayed in the clear aligner trays. 

Pro tip: Do not use warm water or toothpaste to clean your aligners. Warm water can reshape the plastic and toothpaste can reduce the clarity of the aligner, giving it a cloudy appearance. 

Do clear aligners cause pain

You may experience soreness and discomfort during the initial stages of tooth movement. You may also experience some mild discomfort for the first few days of each new aligner. Once your teeth begin to move, the discomfort will go away.

 

The 5 Most Common Questions About Clear Aligners PDF

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