You may have heard of or even used clear aligners as treatment or known someone who has but do you know how they work? Our Ottawa dentists discuss the science behind orthodontic treatment with clear aligners, and how they work to straighten your teeth.
What are Invisalign clear aligners and how do they work?
Clear aligners are a series of custom-made, transparent and removable clear aligner trays that work to help resolve orthodontic issues. They accomplish this by moving teeth in tiny increments into prescribed positions, as specified in a custom treatment plan developed by your dentist.
Over the last decade, they’ve been a popular treatment for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth discreetly, without the wires and brackets that come with traditional metal braces.
Your dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for clear aligners
The first step of the process is to find out whether you are a candidate for clear aligners. At your consultation appointment, your dentist will complete an exam, which includes taking digital x-rays, photos of your teeth, dental impressions, and a bite registration (to find out how your upper and lower teeth fit together).
This process is key to finding out whether your issue can successfully be treated with clear aligners.
Clear aligners are able to treat a variety of conditions
After your dentist examines your smile and takes impressions of your teeth, your aligners will be made to treat specific orthodontic issues. Dentists have used Invisalign to successfully treat patients with:
- Crooked teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Open bite
- Gapped teeth
- Sleep apnea
Just like each patient’s teeth are unique to them, each individual case is different. Your specific treatment time and other factors in your treatment plan may vary depending on which teeth must be moved, and by how much. It can take longer to move some teeth than others due to their position in your mouth.
Depending on your needs and preferences, removable custom clear aligners can offer an aesthetic and comfortable alternative to fixed appliances such as braces when it comes to orthodontic treatment.
You must practice good oral health with clear aligners
With the brushing and flossing you’ll need to do to keep your teeth - and your aligners clean - during treatment, you’ll be diligently brushing away plaque and bacteria that can get stuck between your aligners and your teeth, leading to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.
A large part of successful treatment with clear aligners is the commitment to excellent oral hygiene - and working with your dentist to follow the treatment plan and minimize the chance for plaque to take hold.
Treatment using clear aligners takes less time
Another perk to clear aligners is that you’ll spend less time in your dentist’s office - and more time enjoying your straighter smile. One of the biggest things you will appreciate with clear aligners is that you will spend less time at the dental office as well as the treatment is completed in less time. Clear aligners shouldn’t require regular adjustments or tightening, and you should only need to visit your dentist every couple of months to check in on your progress and monitor that your treatment is going to plan.
Clear aligners may not be able to help with all issues
Clear aligners are capable of improving many different oral health concerns but there are some that require more intense treatment. Large overbites, severe rotations, some molar issues and other problems may require another orthodontic treatment option.
If your case cannot be treated with Invisalign, your dentist can help you find another option that will work for you, such as traditional metal braces.