Clear aligners are medical-grade plastic trays custom-fitted to your teeth. Your dentist creates a series of aligners that gradually shift the position of each tooth. Every one to two weeks, as directed, you will change to the next aligner in the series. Over an approximately 12 to 18-month period, these tooth movements create optimal results and an even, brilliant smile.
The Process of Receiving Clear Aligners
Step 1: Consultation
The first step is sitting down with your dentist to learn about clear aligners and how they can help you achieve your best smile. The dentist will check on your oral health and inform you whether clear aligners will work well in your situation.
Step 2: Design
The dentist takes detailed digital intraoral scans to create a 3-D model of the hard and soft tissues in your mouth. They use this model to plan the desired arrangement of your teeth after treatment is complete, moving each tooth individually to the perfect position.
Step 3: Production
The digital models and designs go to the dental lab, where they will make your custom series of aligners from medical-grade plastic.
Step 4: Wearing Your Aligners
You will wear each aligner for approximately one to two weeks, 22 hours per day. You will take them out only to eat, drink, clean the aligners, and take care of your teeth. You will change to the next aligner in the series as directed.
Over time, you will notice gradual tooth movement. You will see your new, beautiful smile taking shape before your eyes.
Step 5: Retainer Use
After you finish treatment with clear aligners, you will need to wear a retainer as your dentist prescribes to give your teeth a chance to settle into their new positions.
Advantages of Clear Aligners
Clear aligners are popular because they present many advantages compared to other orthodontic treatments:
- Comfortable: Unlike braces, clear aligners have no wires, brackets, or sharp edges. The medical-grade plastic feels smooth to the touch.
- Discreet: No one will know you are straightening your teeth unless you tell them. Clear aligners do not attract unwanted attention like braces.
- No Dietary Restrictions: Since your aligners can come out every time you eat or drink, you can eat what you like and won't have to avoid certain foods like braces patients.
- Better Oral Health and Hygiene: The removable aligners allow you to brush and floss more thoroughly than you could with braces, leading to better oral health and a lower chance of gum disease and tooth decay when your treatment is complete.
Am I a Good Candidate for Clear Aligners?
While clear aligners can be excellent for many patients, some patients fare better with other orthodontic solutions.
Following are some of the criteria that dentists use to determine the best candidates for clear aligners:
- Minor to moderate tooth misalignment or malocclusion
- Minor to moderate dental bite issues (overbite, underbite, crossbite)
- A jawbone that has finished growing
- No missing teeth
- Generally good oral health, with no untreated tooth decay or gum disease
- Ability to follow directions and wear the aligners at least 22 hours per day
If you do not meet some of these criteria, talk to your dentist about possible steps to receive clear aligners. Otherwise, you may need to consider alternatives like traditional braces.
Tips for Success With Clear Aligners
With clear aligners, you can expect beautiful results when you follow all of your dentist's directions:
Wear As Directed
If you do not adhere to your dentist's schedule for wearing your aligners, your treatment will take longer and may not work as well.
Clean Your Aligners Carefully
You can choose to clean your clear aligners with the branded solution, with hydrogen peroxide, or with clear, unscented antibacterial soap. Do not use abrasive toothpaste because this will scratch your aligners.
Call Suwanee Family Dentistry
Your smile is important to us, and we want to help you achieve your desired look. Call our office at 678-714-2380 to inquire about receiving treatment with clear aligners. We can help you understand how these aligners can transform your outlook and improve your oral health.