How Do Clear Aligners Work?

Clear Aligners Frisco, TX

Are you considering clear aligners for straightening your teeth? Read on to learn more about this treatment option. When deciding on a course of orthodontic treatment, clear aligners should be included in the conversation. While this option may not be as popular as traditional braces, the profile of this less-invasive, less-visible smile corrector is on the rise. Find out how aligners work and decide if your smile will benefit from them.

An overview of clear aligners

Correcting a smile to make it straight takes time. Traditional braces gradually bring the teeth into proper alignment using wires and rubber bands. Each month, a patient visits the orthodontist to get evaluated on their progress. At these appointments, the practitioner decides what needs adjusting to reach the final goal.

When a patient opts for the transparent aligner system over braces, the monthly checkups function a bit differently. Instead of brackets and wires, the system uses a variety of clear plastic trays that are molded for the individual and meant to put pressure on the teeth, shifting them gradually. The trays are removable, and once the orthodontist decides the teeth have shifted adequately using one size, it is replaced with another.

The kind of issues clear aligners may help

According to the Mayo Clinic, the aligner system works best for teens and adults because of mouth growth and development. In younger children needing pre-orthodontic correction, the trays may not adequately address the issues, and as the mouth grows, the clear aligners may not fit properly. Aligners work to correct a variety of bite and spacing issues; however, many orthodontists may not recommend them for complex cases.

Spacing between teeth

As permanent teeth grow in, there can be issues with excess gaps between them. This may be due to genetic factors, jaw structure, or bite alignment. Regardless, the extra spacing between teeth is unsightly and should be tightened. Tray aligners work well for this type of orthodontic problem.

Alleviate crowding

While some contend with too many gaps, other patients must deal with too little space for teeth. Overcrowding can cause teeth to overlap each other and may even prevent some permanent teeth from growing in at all. Clear aligners aim to fix the alignment of the bite and open up space for teeth to grow properly.

Minor bite issues

For many patients, orthodontic care is more than just about getting a straighter smile. It may also be about correcting a problem with the way the jaw opens and closes. If a person has an overbite, for example, the top teeth jut out and over the bottom ones. Bite correction can improve the following things:

  • Speech
  • Proper chewing
  • Jaw pain

The tray system can fix some minor bite issues, but more complex cases may require additional means of correction.

FAQs about clear aligners

Thinking about improving your bite with clear aligners? Here are answers to some of the questions you may have:

How do clear aligners work?

Clear aligners put soft pressure on your teeth to move them into the desired position. The pressure is applied evenly across all of your teeth so they can be moved slowly and gently over time.

How long does treatment with clear aligners take?

Treatment with clear aligners typically takes anywhere from six months to two years, depending on the severity of the misalignment. However, every case is different, so be sure to discuss your treatment timeline with your orthodontist.

Are clear aligners comfortable?

Yes. Clear aligners are created from smooth, plastic materials that are designed to be comfortable to wear. You may experience mild discomfort or soreness when you first start wearing them, but this should go away in a few days as your teeth adjust to the pressure.

Can I eat whatever I want while wearing clear aligners?

You can eat anything you want while undergoing clear aligner treatment; however, you will need to remove them prior to eating or drinking anything other than water. This means no chewing gum, hard candy, or sticky foods while your aligners are in.

How do I care for my clear aligners?

To keep your clear aligners clean, brush them with toothpaste and rinse them with water before putting them back in your mouth. You should also clean your aligners every time you brush your teeth.

The bottom line

Adults and teens who want a healthy and straight smile may opt for clear aligners over traditional braces. Check with an orthodontist to find out if this is a possible treatment option for you.

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