A family dentist plays a key role in the oral health of patients both young and old. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately one in five children between the ages of 5 and 11 have untreated cavities. There is more access to dental care than ever before, but many parents struggle with establishing…
Clear Aligner Teeth Straightening Treatment Overview
Whether you are an adult or a teenager, a clear aligner might be just what you need if your dentist recommends a minimal alignment or straightening of your teeth. Clear aligners are designed especially for minimal alignment issues and can help restore your smile and your confidence.
What are clear aligners?
Clear aligners are devices that an orthodontist can use to help straighten a patient's teeth. Many companies now provide quality clear aligners.
Clear aligners are custom-made, 3D trays created from a unique biocompatible polyurethane resin. Patients wear the transparent aligners over their teeth to straighten them. They work exactly like traditional wired braces, but in contrast to the discomfort and inconvenience of metal wires and braces, aligners are more comfortable, discreet, and convenient and utilize mild and consistent force to shift teeth into the correct positions.
How do they work?
Similar to metallic braces, clear aligners incrementally reposition the teeth to make them better fit in the mouth, improve the smile, and most importantly, perfect the bite. The bite is the way that the teeth fit and work together. When the bite does not match evenly, this could lead to unnecessary loss of tooth structure, creating more problems.
What is the treatment process for a clear aligner?
Similar to braces, a clear aligner treatment has three distinct phases.
Phase 1: Determining the plan
The orthodontist will perform a thorough examination of the mouth and teeth. The standard procedure, as recorded by the American Association of Orthodontists, involves the orthodontist taking numerous X-rays, measurements, impressions, photographs, and even digital scans. All this information will help the orthodontist develop a clear aligner treatment plan tailored to the patient's needs and treatment goals. Once they have created a specific treatment plan, a series of aligners (plastic replicas of the patient's teeth) will be made.
Phase 2: Implementing the plan
This is the longest phase of the treatment. WebMD states that the length of treatment depends on how many teeth need to be repositioned or rotated. On average, treatment takes between 10 and 24 months. However, this time may be significantly reduced if the patient is an adult who had braces as a child. During this treatment time, they will visit the orthodontist about every two weeks or so to get a new set of aligners. When they have completed the course of treatment with the aligners, they will graduate to phase three.
Phase 3: Maintaining placement
Once the teeth have achieved the desired positioning, the orthodontist will discontinue the use of the clear aligners. However, patients should not be surprised if they have to wear a retainer for a while afterward. The orthodontist wants to give the teeth a chance to prove that they are solid in their new positions. Once the retainer is off, all patients have to do is keep up regular appointments with their dentist and orthodontist and enjoy their new smile!
The pros and cons of using transparent aligners to straighten teeth
Aligners for teeth are convenient orthodontic tools because they can be removed quickly and easily for cleaning and for chewing and flossing the teeth. Aligners have certain limitations, though, and one main problem is that they cannot be substituted for orthodontic braces for more sophisticated orthodontic procedures.
Patients often take off the aligners, and doing so for more than four hours per day results in less-than-optimal tooth mobility. Placing removed aligners in unsanitary environments increases their risk of becoming a cause of illness. Putting them somewhere dirty, such as a table, napkin, or pocket, is not a good idea.
Tooth-colored attachments secure the aligners to the teeth, but the trays are vulnerable to staining when they come into contact with liquids. Some beverages are better left unconsumed, including flavored water, energy drinks, fruit juices, soda, and very sweet or acidic drinks. When these substances come into contact with aligners and remain there for an extended amount of time, they may stain the aligners and even the teeth.
Drinks with a pH value lower than 7.0 are generally not advisable. In addition, using a fluoride toothpaste for brushing during aligner treatment may help prevent tooth decay.
If your dentist has referred you to an orthodontist for teeth straightening, be sure to ask about clear aligners. Easy to use, removable, and similar in price to alternative straighteners, clear aligners have much to offer! Contact our office today!
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Clear Aligners in Coconut Grove, FL.
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