While clear aligners offer numerous benefits and are suitable for a wide range of orthodontic corrections, they may not be the ideal solution for everyone. At White Oak Dental and Orthodontics, we want our patients (and their parents, if the patient is younger) to make informed, confident decisions about their care. For this month’s blog, our team has put together the following introduction to clear aligners to help you answer the question, “Are Clear Aligners Right For Me?”
What Are Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners are transparent, custom-fitted trays that snugly cover the teeth, gradually moving them into their correct positions. They represent a significant advancement in orthodontic treatment, offering an alternative to traditional braces for straightening teeth.
The technology behind our Spark and Invisalign clear aligners is a blend of orthodontic science and cutting-edge 3D digital mapping. The process begins with a detailed scan of your mouth using a digital scanner. This scanner captures precise images of your teeth and gums, creating a highly accurate 3D model of your mouth. Then, our orthodontist, Dr. Lai, uses this model to plan your treatment program meticulously.
Because of their design, clear aligners cannot be adjusted once they are made to fit. So, how do we use them to move teeth? Easy! Dr. Lai will create a series of aligners just for you. That means you’ll get more than one set of aligners, each pair slightly different than the last, to make incremental adjustments to the teeth’s position. As you progress through the series, your teeth move closer to the desired alignment.
What Are The Benefits Of Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners have grown in popularity with adults and older teens for many reasons. The most notable reason is their near invisibility. Both Invisalign and Spark Clear Aligners are made from clear plastic, making them almost undetectable to others. But clear aligners have more than just aesthetic benefits.
- Customized for Comfort: The personalized fit of aligners enhances comfort and ensures effective teeth movement. Once you get used to them, you’ll hardly notice them.
- Removable for Convenience: Unlike traditional braces, with clear aligners, you can and should remove them daily. This removability means you can eat, brush, and floss without any restrictions! You can easily maintain proper oral hygiene and stick to your regular diet during treatment.
- Stain Resistance: Invisalign and Spark aligners are particularly resistant to staining. As long as you follow their care instructions, they remain clear throughout your treatment.
- Whiter Teeth: With fixed braces, you’ll have to postpone the use of any and all whitening products until treatment is over. With clear aligners, you can use approved whitening products throughout your orthodontic journey.
Things To Consider About Clear Aligners
Clear aligners are an incredible orthodontic treatment method that helps adults and older teens achieve the smile they’ve always wanted without broadcasting their journey to everyone they speak to. However, as we mentioned earlier, clear aligners are not the best option for everyone! Here are some things to consider when deciding between aligners and braces.
- Commitment to Wearing Aligners: One of the critical factors for successful treatment with clear aligners is the commitment to wearing them. You must wear them for 20-22 hours a day to be effective. Since they are removable, this requires a high level of discipline. Not wearing them as prescribed can significantly delay or hinder the treatment process. We recommend braces if you are not 100% certain you can commit to following the schedule.
- Maintenance and Hygiene: Clear aligners require regular cleaning to maintain hygiene and prevent staining. Neglecting this can lead to the build-up of bacteria and plaque, both on the aligners and your teeth. If you believe you might have difficulty cleaning around braces, get clear aligners. If you don’t know if you can remember to clean your aligners, get braces!
- Ideal Conditions for Treatment: Clear aligners are most effective for mild to moderate dental misalignments. Severe crowding, gaps, or bite issues could require more traditional orthodontic treatments. Using clear aligners for more complex needs could result in longer treatment times. Would you be okay with that, or are you looking to complete treatment as soon as possible?
- Responsibility of Care: Since aligners are removable, you, as the patient, have a responsibility to keep them safe and not lose them. Losing aligners can delay treatment and may incur additional costs for replacements. Keeping up with them is not hard, but it can be an unnecessary cause of stress for some people. If you believe a removable appliance could create headaches, get braces!
When choosing between the treatment options you qualify for, it’s important to be honest with yourself and our team. Treatment can take months, sometimes years, and you don’t want to pick a treatment that doesn’t suit your lifestyle. For example, if you’re prone to losing things but opt for clear aligners, you will likely have a disheartening experience and not want to finish your smile transformation. You deserve to be happy and comfortable during your journey to a straighter smile, and the right option can make all the difference. Choose carefully!
Make The Decision With The Board-Certified Orthodontist At White Oak Dental and Orthodontics!
Beginning orthodontic care is so exciting, but it can be confusing and overwhelming without help! Luckily, you have White Oak Dental and Orthodontics in Avenel, New Jersey, to guide you every step of the way. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized care that aligns (pun intended!) with your unique needs and lifestyle.
Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from achieving the smile you’ve always dreamed of. Schedule your appointment today with our board-certified orthodontist and discover if clear aligners are right for you or your teen.
About Our Orthodontist
Dr. Lai brings exceptional expertise to our practice. She earned her dental doctorate from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine and completed her orthodontics specialization at the University at Buffalo. Dr. Lai’s commitment to excellence is evident in her participation in the Align Intensive Fellowship, which focuses on advanced clear aligner treatments. Her dedication to continuous education and patient care makes her a trusted and valued member of our team.