What Are Clear Aligners and How Do They Work?

Fortunately, the options today for teeth adjustment are significantly better than they used to be. Years ago, you had only the option of clunky, uncomfortable braces, but nowadays, you can experience the magic of clear aligners! You don’t have to be embarrassed by the way clear aligners look. They’re an effective dental treatment that no one but you will know about. Here is an introductory guide to help you start a conversation with your orthodontist about clear aligners.

What are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners are corrective orthodontic devices that are made from plastic. You usually get two trays: one fitted for your top teeth and one for the bottom. However, you can get a tray just for your bottom or top teeth if those are the only ones you need to adjust. If you’re looking at a set of clear aligners, you will see they resemble two clear plastic moulds in the shape of your teeth.

Clear aligners are made precisely to your teeth and will move your teeth a little at a time by applying light pressure. Not only do they correct your smile, but they also will move your jaw, so you have a healthy bite. Through the length of time that you wear aligners, you will have to wear many different aligner sets. You will start with a set that matches the current positioning of your teeth. As you continue to change sets, new adjustments will be made. Length of treatment will vary depending on how extensive your dental needs are. When your treatment is done, you will have a healthy bite that’s in perfect alignment and a beautiful smile!

Clear Aligners vs Braces

One of the most apparent differences between braces and clear aligners is that aligners are invisible. Because they are clear, it’s rare that anyone will notice you are wearing them. Braces, on the other hand, are much more apparent because of their wiring and colouring. Braces are also much more uncomfortable, and by wearing them, you run the risk of accidentally cutting your mouth on the wiring. Clear aligners are smooth and cut-free!

Unlike braces, you can remove your clear aligners with ease. Because of this, aligners have far fewer restrictions than braces. Remove your aligners before eating, and you won’t have to give up corn on the cob or caramel! As long as you’re wearing your aligners for the recommended 22 hours or more a day, you have nothing to worry about.

Being able to remove your aligners is also a huge benefit when it comes to maintenance. Brushing your teeth around your braces is a challenge. You have to make sure you are cleaning your teeth behind your braces to prevent staining. With aligners, you don’t have to worry about flossing or brushing your way around them. Remove your aligners beforehand and go about your regular dental hygiene routine.

Clear aligners require frequent adjustments. You will need to change them usually every two weeks. Generally, your orthodontist will only recommend clear aligners for minor adjustments, such as an overcrowded mouth. If you have large gaps in your teeth you would like to close you will probably need to wear braces.

How Do Clear Aligners Work?

To get your clear aligners, your orthodontist or dentist will start by making a virtual model of your teeth. They will determine what the issues are with your alignment and what the end goal of your treatment should be. They will then create a plan for how to gradually adjust your smile to the end goal using a series of different aligners.

With every change, you will get a new set of aligners that make slightly different adjustments. After you are all done with your treatment and your teeth have achieved the desired placement, you will need to wear a retainer regularly to maintain the new placement. This is no different than what you would have to do if you chose braces instead of clear aligners.

As you wear your clear aligners, you will need to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Although you can remove your aligners every time you eat food, you need to make sure you are brushing your teeth before you put your aligners back in.

FAQs about Clear Aligners

Do Clear Aligners Hurt?

Nope! Clear aligners can be a little uncomfortable, especially when you first get them, and you are adjusting to the way they feel in your mouth. But they don’t cause any pain—just a slight discomfort from the tightening.

How Much Do Clear Aligners Cost?

The cost will vary depending on where you get your aligners from and what your specific concerns are. If you want a personalized estimate, talk to Swedish Dental! We can break down the cost of your clear aligners, so you know exactly how much each step of the process costs.

How Long Will I Have to Wear My Clear Aligners?

The duration of your treatment will vary depending on your needs. You’ll need to talk to your orthodontist to determine how long your treatment will take. However, patients usually wear their clear aligners for twelve to eighteen months.

How Should I Clean My Clear Aligners?

It’s important to clean the inside and outside of your aligners. Take them out of your mouth and lightly brush them with toothpaste. Use a manual toothbrush (not an electric one) and rinse them with warm water. These will keep your aligners clean and fresh!

If you’ve decided that clear aligners are the best option for your dental needs, then contact Swedish Dental. We can answer any more questions you might have about clear aligners and help you feel confident in your decision!