Clear aligner therapy is an alternative to braces. Instead of using metal braces, it uses a series of clear, thin “aligners” that look similar to a retainer or a mouthguard. These aligners are designed to exert pressure on your teeth and move them into a healthier position, just like braces.
However, clear aligners are completely invisible and removable. This makes them a great choice for older patients who are interested in orthodontics but do not want to get braces as an adult. Contact your local Fresno dentist, and learn more about clear aligner therapy in Fresno.
To begin the process, Dr. Bauer will clean your teeth and perform an orthodontic consultation. While clear aligners can be used for most minor-to-moderate orthodontic problems, they are not appropriate for severe cases.
If Dr. Bauer approves you for aligners, he will scan your mouth with a digital scanner. Then, he will work with one of our clear aligner partners, Invisalign and SureSmile, to build your custom treatment plan.
In a few weeks, you’ll come to our office and pick up your first few sets of aligners. You will need to wear them for at least 20-22 hours per day for the best results. Most patients switch to a new set of aligners about every 2 weeks.
About every 6 weeks, you’ll visit Dr. Bauer for a quick checkup. He’ll check on your progress, then give you your next several sets of clear aligners. This same basic process will be repeated until your treatment is complete.
Once your treatment is over, it’s time to enjoy your new smile! You’ll also get a set of retainers from your dentist in Fresno, CA. Make sure to wear these at night or as instructed to keep your teeth straight, even, and beautiful.
Invisalign was the first company to introduce clear aligners in the late 1990s. They’re still one of the most popular brands of clear aligners on the market. Thanks to their variety of plastics and different treatment plans, Invisalign offers highly-versatile clear aligner solutions.
SureSmile is very similar to Invisalign, and they both use the same basic treatment concept.
Clear aligners work similarly to braces. Each aligner places gentle pressure on your teeth, forcing them to move to a new position. Once your teeth have adjusted to their new position, you will switch to a new pair of aligners, and this process will be repeated. This is similar to the process of tightening braces. Over time, this results in dramatic changes in the position of your teeth and your jaws.
The answer is “sometimes.” For patients with minor orthodontic problems, clear aligners tend to be faster than braces. This varies depending on your case, though. To find out more, we recommend scheduling an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Bauer.
First, clear aligners are removable. While braces are permanently attached to your teeth, your aligner can be removed to eat, drink, play sports, and even to play musical instruments. This makes them a lot more convenient.
They’re also much less noticeable, even when they’re worn. While braces have obvious metal brackets, wires, and rubber bands, clear aligners like Invisalign and SureSmile blend in with your teeth. Nobody will be able to tell that you’re straightening your teeth.
On average, clearer aligners shift misaligned teeth and bites within 12 to 18 months. However, the length of treatment will vary from person to person depending on the complexity of their orthodontic case and how often they wear their aligners.
Very minor cases like small gaps can be corrected in as little as 6 months. Conversely, more complex issues like severe overcrowding or significant bite problems could take up to 24 months.
Using our digital mapping software, we can digitally plan the entirety of your orthodontic treatment. You’ll be able to see exactly how we’ll move your teeth and how long it will take. This is all dependent on your ability to wear your aligner for the required 22 hours per day.
You should only remove them to eat or clean your teeth. When you take them out too often, the aligners aren’t able to shift your teeth all the way. You will notice if you don’t wear them often enough because the next set of aligners will not fit.
To sanitize your aligners, you should take a soft bristle toothbrush and a denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystal solution to brush the aligners with. This is important to do twice a day.
You can also use a clear liquid soap but this is less effective at thoroughly cleaning the aligners. We also recommend soaking them once a day for about 15 minutes to remove any stains or bacteria that could be left behind.
Always rinse your aligners out when taking them out and before putting them back in. If you have something to eat or drink, you need to brush and floss before putting your aligners back in. Otherwise, stains and plaque can build up in the aligners.
Clear aligners are generally not recommended for young children for a few reasons. The first is that children under 10 have not lost all of their baby teeth yet and it’s ideal to wait until a child has all of their permanent teeth before starting clear aligner therapy.
The second concern is that clear aligners require a lot of discipline. You need to remember to wear your aligners for 22 hours per day, put them back in after eating or cleaning your teeth, and thoroughly clean them every day.
This is a lot of commitment and effort for young children to commit. Teenagers and adults are much better candidates for Invisalign because they are more invested in improving the aesthetics of their smile, have greater self-accountability, and have fully developed teeth and jaws.
If you’re wondering if you’re old enough to receive clear aligners, you can discuss this with Dr. Bauer during your consultation at Bauer Dental Co.