Clear aligner therapy is the latest trend in orthodontic treatment. Sometimes referred to as “invisible braces”, clear aligners offer patients the ability to have their teeth straightened discreetly without the need for bulky metal brackets or wires. Instead, clear aligner therapy uses clear aligners as the orthodontic appliance to gradually reposition the teeth and align the bite. Additionally, because the aligners are removable, it is easier for patients to maintain their oral hygiene routine. There are different brands that use clear aligner therapy, but the two most popular are Invisalign and Clear Correct.
Invisalign has become a generic term for clear aligner therapy, however, there are several other companies that offer orthodontic treatment with clear aligners.
Clear aligner therapy may be right for you if you have crooked, overlapping, or gapped teeth. Additionally, clear aligner therapy can also be used to treat malocclusions such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. However, there are some cases that may require traditional metal braces. Therefore, you should schedule a consultation with your Knoxville dentist to determine if aligner therapy is right for you.
In order to determine if aligner therapy is right for you, your dentist will examine your teeth and bite, as well as take dental x-rays and photographs. A digital scan may also be taken of the inside of your mouth. All this information will then be used with the aligner software to determine if you are an ideal candidate and what your treatment would look like.
To begin treatment, your aligners will be made using the information obtained by the digital scan. Although the initial aligners are intended to fit your teeth, they will also exert gentle pressure on the teeth. This constant pressure will cause the teeth to gradually move. Every 1-2 weeks, you will then get a new aligner as your teeth begin to change position. However, in order to have your treatment progress as planned, you will need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day. Ideally, they should only be removed when eating, brushing, or flossing.
The length of treatment time depends on a number of factors including the amount of work that needs to be done, whether you wear your aligners for 22 hours a day, and how your teeth respond to treatment. With that being said, clear aligner treatment usually takes an average of about a year and a half to obtain the desired results.
Yes, you will still need to wear a retainer after undergoing clear aligner therapy. This is because your jawbone needs to fuse around the newly positioned teeth to hold them in position. Otherwise, they may shift after treatment. For this reason, it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions regarding your retainer.