For many patients, the thought of orthodontic treatment can be intimidating. Although braces are an extremely effective tool to help shape and treat common oral health issues, there is an alternative option that can be more approachable — clear aligners.
Clear aligners have transformed how the world perceives orthodontics, mainly because many of the notorious disadvantages of wearing them have been eliminated. This next generation of clear aligners delivers astounding results for patients. At Dental Arts, we’re using them to make smiles straighter and teeth healthier as well as easier to clean.
Using a system of clear, removable trays to straighten teeth, aligners are custom built to fit over your teeth and designed to gradually move them into the correct positions within the mouth. They are very discreet—almost translucent—and they gently slide over the front of your teeth like covers.
With so many different types on the market and the ongoing discussions around their benefits, we’d like to share 10 facts about clear aligners straight from our own orthodontist, Dr. Brent Benoit.
1) They are custom fit.
Your aligners are custom made for your mouth and teeth, specifically. They are designed to guide your teeth into the correct positions, particularly to straighten your teeth or correct your bite.
2) They are removable.
Although aligners are removable, inconsistent use can cause relapse as your teeth slowly begin to shift back into their old positions.
3) They are made from a thermoplastic material.
Aligners are made from an elastic thermoplastic material that applies pressure to the teeth to move into the aligner’s position. These are created from molds of your teeth, which can be created through putty impressions at an orthodontist’s office or digitally after an orthodontist takes a 3D scan of your teeth.
4) They must be worn 24/7.
After years of studies, biomechanical and orthodontic researchers recommend 14 days as the perfect required time between each set of aligners. This ensures that no unwanted tipping movement occurs, and it allows your bone and gums time to adjust.
5) They are designed for comfort.
Aligners do not make use of the bracket and wire system used in braces, which can sometimes be uncomfortable during long adjustment periods. With aligners, you will open a new box of aligners and wear them until it is time for the next set.
6) They require fewer appointments with the orthodontist.
Patients who wear braces should see their orthodontist regularly to make adjustments. However, with clear aligners, these adjustments occur with each new set, which means fewer in-person visits.
7) Oral hygiene is much simpler.
Cleaning your teeth can be somewhat challenging with conventional braces. With clear aligners, all you have to do is remove your aligners and simply brush, floss, and use mouthwash.
8) There are no food restrictions, unlike traditional braces.
As opposed to braces, having clear aligners means more freedom in your food choices. You can eat popcorn, candies and other foods without worrying. However, you will need to brush after eating anything sugary, acidic, or starchy.
9) Patient compliance is crucial with clear aligners.
Removing your aligners for long periods of time can affect your orthodontic results. The less you wear your aligners, the longer your treatment will take.
10) Retainers are necessary after treatment is complete.
After you’ve completed your aligner treatment, the chances of your teeth drifting out of alignment are significantly increased. Patients are required to wear a retainer as often as they can in order to maintain a straight smile.
Keep in mind, clear aligners are not for everyone. If you’d like to learn how they might benefit you, please schedule a consultation with our orthodontist. If you would like to get more information on local dentistry in New Orleans in general, please contact us.
Dental Arts is a full-service general dentistry and orthodontic practice for the entire family. For more than three decades, we have been providing the highest quality dental and orthodontic care available to the residents of New Orleans. Explore the Dental Arts difference today.