When you hear the word “orthodontics,” what comes to mind? Probably a young teenager whose teeth are covered by a latticework of metal. There are indeed many orthodontic patients who fit that description. However, there now exists an increasingly popular alternative to traditional metal braces: Clear Aligners
As the name implies, clear aligners are made of almost invisible
polyurethane plastic. Rather than being cemented or bonded to the teeth as
metal or clear braces are, clear aligners are completely removable —
for important social occasions, for eating, and, most importantly, for
tooth-brushing and flossing. This advantage can also be a disadvantage: It
means you must resist the temptation to take your aligners out more than is
advised. Here are some other advantages of the system:
- Improved Oral Hygiene — With an orthodontic appliance that is removable, you will be able to clean your teeth much more easily than if you were wearing metal braces.
- A Discreet Look — If you consider your orthodontic treatment to be a private matter, or simply feel that metal braces don't fit with your self-image, a practically invisible form of orthodontic treatment might suit you.
- More Dietary Choices — To protect metal wires and braces, some diet modifications are necessary. With clear aligners, you can still bite into an apple or a crispy pizza crust.
- Comfort — The thin, flexible material of which clear aligners are made will not irritate the soft tissues of the mouth, as metal wires and braces can.
— If you have a teeth-grinding or clenching habit, clear aligners
can function as thin nightguards that will protect your teeth from
Clear aligner technology has been improving over the years and can correct many malocclusions that once would have been too complicated for this form of treatment. Yet there are still some situations for which traditional braces would still be best. This can be discussed in detail with you.
Also, please keep in mind that while wearing clear aligners is very different from wearing braces, the importance of retaining your post-treatment results is exactly the same. You'll want to be sure to wear your retainer(s) exactly as prescribed after your treatment is completed to protect your investment in a beautiful new smile.