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Clear Aligners

Do you dream of having the perfect smile? Having crooked or crowded teeth can make people self-conscious about their smiles, and can also hinder their dental hygiene, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, or other issues with oral health. Perhaps you’ve avoided orthodontic treatment because, as an adult, you don’t want to wear traditional metal braces. Fortunately, there may be a more discreet way to straighten your teeth: clear aligners.

Clear aligners are nearly invisible plastic shells that snap over your teeth. As you wear them, they apply gentle pressure on your teeth to gradually reposition them. If you have mild to moderate orthodontic problems, aligner treatments may be the orthodontic solution you’ve been looking for.

How Do Clear Aligners Work?

Clear aligners are sets of clear, thin, plastic-like trays that are custom-formed to fit your mouth and sequentially apply the pressure required to move the teeth. Typically, each aligner is worn for 1 week at a time, at least 22 hours a day, and moves teeth a fraction of a millimeter at a time.  

Aligners must be removed when you eat or drink and when brushing and flossing. The number of aligners and treatment times needed to correct misaligned teeth varies based on the individual’s orthodontic issues and the movements needed to correct them. To find out if aligners are the best solution for you, schedule a consultation with your orthodontist.

What Do Invisible Aligners Treat?

The most common conditions treated by aligners include: 

  • Gapped teeth 
  • Cramped or crowded teeth 
  • Overbite 
  • Underbite 
  • Open bite 
  • Crooked teeth 
  • Crossbite

Clear aligners may be a treatment option if you want straighter teeth and a less visible option to traditional braces.

Who Isn’t Eligible for Aligners?

Clear aligners are not right for everyone. Aligners work best at straightening teeth with mild to moderate problems. Aligners can even be combined with traditional orthodontic elastics to help with mild or moderate bite correction, those with more severe cases may need more complex treatment, which is treated more predictably with traditional braces. 

An orthodontist is best qualified to determine whether braces or clear aligners are the best treatment option for you. 

Does Dental Insurance Cover Aligner Treatment?

Dental plans with orthodontic coverage usually cover both traditional braces and clear aligners equally!  However, each plan is different, and accepted coverage varies from provider to provider. The best way to get an accurate cost assessment is to consult a qualified orthodontist who can evaluate your specific needs and provide a personalized estimate. 

To better understand your insurance and payment options for orthodontic treatment, contact your nearest AAO orthodontist.

Frequently Asked Questions About Aligners

1. Is there anything that needs to be done before getting clear aligners?
Before you get aligners, visit your family dentist for a cleaning and check-up. Any dental work needs to be completed before getting scanned for clear aligners as your aligners will be custom created to the exact shape of your teeth….
2. Is getting aligners faster than getting braces?
Not necessarily. Clear aligners are not usually fabricated on site, and delivery from the manufacturer can take 4-6 weeks. Combined with initial scans, placing attachments, and educating the user on how to properly wear and care for them, aligners can…
3. What is the process for getting clear aligners?
Scan in office (10-15 minutes)  Production and shipping of the aligners (this step can take up to 6 weeks for some offices) Delivery of aligners, placement of attachments, how-to wear and care instructions, etc. (45 minutes -1 hour) 
4. How will my mouth feel after getting clear aligners?
As with anything new, you can expect an adjustment period of about a week as it gets used to your aligners.  Mild discomfort is common for the first few days. This is temporary and can be relieved by rinsing with…
5. How many appointments are required during clear aligner treatment?
Regular check-ups with your orthodontist are recommended throughout the treatment process to make sure teeth are moving appropriately and to address any issues that may arise. Some orthodontic offices offer remote monitoring options that can minimize the number of appointments…
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