How Aligners Work
Aligners, like conventional braces, are designed to move the teeth a little at a time. The orthodontist must assess the patient before treatment starts and will take medical notes including x-rays, photos, and measurements or digital teeth scans. The orthodontist will arrive at a diagnosis from that knowledge and then work within the aligner software to design the smile and schedule the treatment process–which tooth moves where and in what order–to direct the teeth into healthy positions. Also, it’s all the teeth–not just the few that you see when somebody smiles. The target is a good “strike”-properly fitting top and bottom teeth. Moving teeth is a complex biological operation, and an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) requires start-to-finish supervision. Most people see their orthodontist about every six to ten weeks for a check-up.
A collection of plastic aligners are produced with the end goal in mind, using initial impressions of the patient or digital scans as the starting point. The aligners are replicas of plastic on your teeth. Wearing them puts gentle pressure on the teeth, repositioning them ever-so-slightly. Aligners are advised to be worn 22 hours per day, or as prescribed by the orthodontist. Each set of aligners will be worn for a week or two before the next set is played. Teeth find their perfect positions over time according to the strategy of the orthodontist. The total number of aligners will vary according to each patient’s needs. As with traditional braces, patients will need to wear retainers after reaching new positions in their teeth.
Pros and Cons of Aligners
Besides being next-to-invisible, many patients appreciate that aligners are removable. Take them out to eat, to brush and floss, or for short periods for work or social situations.
Aligners may not be the right “appliance” to correct every kind of orthodontic problem. Braces may be necessary for certain kinds of corrections.
In transparent aligners, tooth-colored braces are mounted on the teeth to help move the teeth in the alignments. When treatment is complete these attachments are removed.
When aligners are in, care must be taken regarding drinks and anything other than tap water should be avoided. The liquid may flow into the alignments, and it remains in contact with the teeth until the alignment is removed. This can lead to staining of the aligner and teeth, and cavities may develop if the liquid contains sugar and/or acid, as found in regular diet and soda pop. Along with flavored water, fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks stop soda pop. It can be acidic even to some bottled water!
If you’re drinking something acidic or sugary (a pH below 7.0), make sure to brush thoroughly before you put your aligners back in. And use toothpaste with fluoride-it protects the teeth.
Since aligners are reversible, if patients experience any pain they may be tempted to remove them. Aligners can not work unless they’re in the mouth! When out of mouth they can be lost or misplaced. Make it a habit to slip aligners when they come out of the mouth into their pocket. Don’t put aligners in napkins, pockets or purses. Holding aligners out of pets’ grasp, too.
If you should lose or damage an aligner, contact your orthodontist immediately for advice on the next steps.
Are Clear Aligners Right for Me?
Consulting an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is the best way to answer the issue.
Because of the extensive education and familiarity of orthodontists with the many forms of “appliances” available (devices used to shift teeth / align jaws), they will consciously recommend what’s right for you, depending on your care preferences and lifestyle requirements. Many AAO orthodontists offer initial consultations, whether complimentary or low-cost, as well as various affordable payment plans.
Trust the professional who is dedicated to creating your healthy, beautiful smile: an AAO orthodontist.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is open exclusively to orthodontists – only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” graduated from dental school and finished the additional two to three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program successfully.
Are You Looking for Clear Aligners or Invisalign to Straighten Your Teeth?
With over 30 years of professional experience helping patients renew and beautifying their smiles, Balfour Dental continues to be the preferred dental office for families in Brentwood California and the surrounding communities of Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay and beyond. Their dental office is locally owned and operated by Dr. Dimple Rayani and Dr. Sien Siao, two professionals with vast experience in cosmetic dentistry treatments as well as in general dentistry. Dr. Rayani and Dr. Siao both have many different certifications, including Invisalign Certification, Implant Dentistry, Sleep Apnea Treatment, Cerec CAD-CAM Restorations, Neuromuscular Dentistry, and Implants respectively. If you are looking to renew your smile, contact Balfour Dental today!