Author:Dr. George Orfaly
Everyone wants a perfect smile, but not everyone wants to wear braces. If you’re worried about wearing braces, then aligners are the answer for you!
Aligners are transparent trays made of special material that are used to straighten and adjust teeth. Similar to braces, clear aligners use continuous, gentle force to move misaligned teeth into position. This is achieved by wearing a series of aligners, each for about 2 weeks at a time. They are custom-made for each patient, and the number of sets made depends on the severity of the misalignment.
Clear aligners offer many advantages over conventional braces.
1. They are virtually invisible: These orthodontic devices are transparent. Aligners are impossible to detect while they are being worn, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious about your smile.
2. They are removable: Clear aligners are not affixed to the teeth like traditional braces. Instead, they are slipped on over the teeth and worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day. They can be removed while eating and drinking. So, while you need to be careful of what you eat while wearing braces, there are no such restrictions for aligners. It is also much easier to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment with aligners because they can be removed during brushing and flossing.
3. They are safer: While wearing braces, there is some risk of cuts and sores being caused by the metal wire and brackets. There is no such risk with clear aligners, as they are made with a material that is smooth and flexible. There is also less discomfort while wearing aligners compared to wearing braces.
4. Fewer dentist visits: Clear aligners do not need as much maintenance as braces, and so there is no need to visit the dentist as often. Most of the maintenance of the aligners can be done at home! Also, if your problems are minor, your dentist can directly prescribe aligners for your treatment. It might not be necessary to consult an orthodontist, saving time and money.
Since aligners are custom-made to be a tight fit, they are not always an appropriate treatment for children still growing. Clear aligners are best suited for adults or teens whose mouths and teeth are already developed.
Clear aligners are used to treat:
They cannot be used to treat very complex or severe orthodontic problems. Your dentist or orthodontist will conduct a close examination of your teeth and will then decide whether braces or clear aligners will be used for your treatment.
There are many different kinds of aligners available today, but the most popular ones are Invisalign and Reveal™ Aligners. Below is a guide on their similarities and differences.
Invisalign is one of the oldest and most popular clear aligners available. They have been sold in the US since 1999. They are practically a household name now.
Invisalign treatment starts with a consultation with an Invisalign certified dentist or orthodontist. An orthodontist doesn’t need to be consulted if the dentist has completed Invisalign’s specialized training. During the consultation, the dentist will examine your teeth and your bite and then propose a treatment plan most suitable for your unique case. The treatment will not only include how long the aligners will have to be worn and how many different sets of aligners will be required, but it will also show how your teeth will change throughout the treatment.
Sometimes simply aligners are not enough to correct the orthodontic problems. In these cases, attachments are used alongside the aligners. Attachments are tiny tooth-colored “bumps” that are attached to the teeth at select locations with the help of dental composites. They help the aligners grip the teeth as they guide them to their new positions. Invisalign uses SmartForce attachments, which anchor the aligners and give them something to gently push on. The aligners fit smoothly and tightly around the attachments, so they are not very noticeable. Buttons are small tooth-colored hooks that are attached to the teeth. They are only used if the dentist wishes to introduce rubber bands to the treatment.
These days the aligners are made of Invisalign’s own blend of plastic called SmartTrack, which was designed after 8 years of research and development. It is made of premium medical-grade multilayer polyurethane resin and is designed for durability and flexibility. It is free of BPA, BPS, latex, and gluten.
After the treatment is complete, you will be expected to wear retainers for a specific period of time, to ensure that your teeth do not shift back into their original positions. Align Tech, the company behind Invisalign, produces its own line of retainers called Vivera Retainers. They are made with the same material as Invisalign aligners so they will also be comfortable, durable, and virtually invisible.
Reveal Clear Aligners by Henry Schein Orthodontics is one of the newest aligners in the market. It is similar to Invisalign in many ways, and it also has advantages that Invisalign aligners do not have.
Like Invisalign, the treatment for Reveal aligners begins with a consultation with a specially trained dentist. After a careful examination of your teeth and bite, the dentist will create a treatment plan best suited to you. The treatment plan will include how long the treatment will be, how many sets of aligners will be required, and how the position of the teeth will change throughout the treatment.
Unlike Invisalign, Reveal Clear Aligners do not need attachments or buttons. In fact, Reveal aligners were developed to ensure that the teeth will move into the correct positions without the use of attachments or buttons.
Reveal Clear Aligners are made of a special material called ClearWear. It is BPA-free and phthalate-free plastic, manufactured through a proprietary process for crystal clear clarity and perfect fit. ClearWear ensures that the aligners are stain-resistant and much easier to maintain, unlike Invisalign aligners which can get stained if not maintained properly. Reveal aligners also have scalloped edges, which make them more comfortable to wear.
With all the different options available, choosing the right aligners can be a difficult task. Doing your research is important, and that includes discussing all your options with the dentist. Click here to learn more about how we use aligners to help you get a beautiful smile.
Dr. George Orfaly is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry and has been practicing as a dentist in Salem, MA since 2005. He has consistently improved the lives of his patients by providing them relief, confidence, and healthy smiles. He believes that oral health is directly related to overall health and well-being. Dr. Orfaly has also been an active member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and North Shore District Dental Society.
Having perfect pearly-white teeth is what everybody desires. After all, aren’t we all mesmerized by our favorite celebrity’s perfectly bright smile?
Coming to Dr Orfaly is The best decision I could have made. I didn’t have a dentist for years and they saw me when I had an emergency. Now I am getting all of my dental work here, perfect caps, bridges and hygiene. I highly recommend Dr Orfaly and his staff.
After having a negative experience with a filling with a past dentist, I was nervous to go to a new dentist with tooth pain. Dr. Orfaly and team were very understanding and knowledgable when walking me through my options for a cracked tooth. 10/10 would recommend due to their professionalism, attention to detail, and level of care. Thanks team!
Dr Orfaly is the best dentist around! I have alot of anxiety around going to the dentist & Dr Orfaly always makes sure to check in to see how I'm doing & is so nice. If a referral is needed to a specialist, he makes the call for you & gets you an appt quickly (mine was even the same day) I love how they book you with the same dental hygienist for all cleanings.. Adds another level of comfort... Shoutout to mine, Kathy!