It’s no secret that clear aligners have emerged as a firm favourite for adults following orthodontic treatments. They’re popular because they are so discreet and minimally invasive in a patient’s day-to-day life. Today we are going to take a closer look at how orthodontics has advanced and, answer “what are clear aligners”, to see how clear aligners could give you the confidence in your smile you’ve been wanting.
What Are Clear Aligners?
Possibly best compared to mini mouth guards, modern orthodontic aligners are a complete redesign of traditional orthodontic braces. They do not make use of brackets and wires but are fitted over the front of your teeth, applying the necessary pressure to shift your teeth into place.
What Are The Aligners Made Out Of?
They are made from a special medical grade of plastic so they are very discreet. Because you need them to remain transparent you will need to remember to take them out for eating and drinking (this is another big benefit over traditional braces).
While you could keep your aligners in when you drink water it’s essential that you remove them before drinking very hot drinks, as very high temperatures can cause the plastic to change shape.
How Does The Process Work?
Your clear aligners are created especially for you and designed to fit the individual size and shape of your teeth and gums.
Your dental practitioner will map out all the positions your teeth need to move into incrementally, to end up straight.
Your dentist will give you a few boxes of aligners and you will wear each set for around two weeks, before moving onto a new set.
When compared to wearing metal braces when you wear clear aligners you can expect to see your dentist much less frequently as you will not need the adjustments that go along with brackets and wires.
Will Clear Aligners Straighten My Smile?
Orthodontics Australia says that aligners work best for patients who need minor corrections. They are ideal for correcting protruding teeth, gappy smiles and mildly crooked teeth. While it is possible to treat more complex issues, your dentist may recommend an alternative if the results would be more predictable.
At MyHMDentist, we use clear aligners to straighten the front six to eight teeth in your mouth. This means that the force required to shift the teeth is minimal, and much more comfortable than wearing traditional metal braces.
You have the best chances of successful orthodontic treatment if you follow all the guidelines your dentist gives you.
In order for your smile to be corrected, you will have to wear your clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day. If you don’t you may end up wearing them for longer.
How Long Will Treatment Take?
This depends on your own personal circumstances, and the duration of your treatment is something you will be notified about when your dentist prepares your treatment plan and cost estimate.
On average most patients wear their aligners for 12 to 18 months if they wear them for the mandated 22 hours a day.
Remember to wear your aligners for as long as your dentist instructs you. Even if you feel satisfied with the way your smile looks, by not completing the full course of treatment you run the risk of having your teeth shift back into their former positions.
What Special Care Needs To Be Followed?
Clear aligners need a very high degree of dental hygiene in order for the plastic not to discolour or become stained. Clean aligners are clear, and if you allow them to get dirty they are much more noticeable.
You will need to brush and floss even more diligently than before because you can only insert your clear aligners into a clean mouth. The space between your teeth and the aligner is a potential breeding ground for bacteria so your aligners and teeth should always be clean.
What Lifestyle Changes Will I Need To Make?
Unlike with traditional metal braces, clear aligners do not require major dietary modifications. Very hard and very sticky foods are not recommended, but they are usually out of bounds regardless.
If you’re a smoker you will have to quit, as tobacco will stain your clear aligners. If you were a fan of red wine or a lot of coffee, you will need to look for substitutes as these substances can stain.
Wondering if clear aligners could correct your smile? The only way to find out is with an assessment. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9158 6379.