When you think of orthodontic appliances, you may be picturing metal wires and clunky brackets on your teeth, and maybe even elastic bands. But what if you could make your smile straighter without all that hardware? Better yet, what if the apparatus that straightened your teeth was virtually invisible—and if you could easily remove it from time to time?
Sound too good to be true? Actually, this high-tech orthodontic appliance is available right now: It’s called a clear aligner, and it’s the choice of countless Hollywood celebrities, high-profile VIPs… and plenty of regular folks too.
What exactly are clear aligners? In essence they consist of thin plastic trays, custom fabricated to fit your bite, which are part of a system that can gradually re-align your teeth. Each aligner in the series is worn over your teeth for 22 hours per day, but may be removed for cleaning—and you’ll wear each one for about two weeks before you move on to the next tray in the series.
Here’s how it works: When you’re ready to get started, a general dentist or an orthodontic specialist will take impressions of your teeth, so that a dental laboratory can make a digital model of your bite. This allows your dentist or orthodontist to see where your teeth are right now, and how they can be re-positioned for a better alignment. Next, a computerized manufacturing process uses the digital information to create a series of aligner trays just for you. Each one is designed to move the teeth by just a small amount; all together, they can create a major improvement in your smile.
There are a number of reasons why clear aligners are preferred by so many people. For one thing, this system makes it easy to keep your teeth clean—which is essential during orthodontic treatment. You can simply remove the aligner tray, and then brush and floss as you normally would. The trays can also be removed when you are eating a meal, or for an important social occasion—but it’s important to note that you must wear them at least 22 hours every day for them to be effective.
For another thing, it offers a way to keep your orthodontic treatment more private. They trays are almost invisible, so hardly anyone will know you’re having your teeth straightened—unless you tell them. That’s why this system has been chosen by so many celebrities—including supermodel Gisele Bundchen, singer Justin Bieber, actress Katherine Heigl and popstar/style icon Cheryl Cole (who now uses just her first name). In fact, even under the glare of spotlights, Cheryl’s orthodontic treatment went almost unnoticed… until a colleague gave up her secret.
Clear aligners can work well in many circumstances, but they aren’t for everyone. They are most effective in situations where teeth need a small to moderate amount of realignment. For more severe cases of malocclusion (bad bite), traditional braces generally offer a more effective treatment. Also, you must be conscientious about wearing them as often as recommended; that’s why (particularly for teenagers) they can be obtained with “compliance indicators” that tell how much they are being worn. Aligners generally cost a bit more than standard braces do, but many find that this convenient and discreet system is worth the extra expense.
Wondering whether clear aligners could work for you? Just ask your dentist or orthodontist. After an examination, you’ll have a clearer idea of what needs to be done, and what options are available to help you get a better and brighter smile. To learn more call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.