Your smile is one of the first things others notice about you, which is why most people desire straight teeth in order to complement their features and support their self-confidence. However, dental surgery can be expensive, and wearing braces as an adult can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Luckily, there’s another way for adults to improve their smile in an easy and discreet way: Clear Aligners. Clear Aligners is a completely clear, invisible retainer that can fix crowding and gaps over time with regular wear.
Have Clear Aligners questions but not sure where to begin? In this Clear Aligners FAQ, we’ll cover some of the most common questions about Clear Aligners asked by potential patients (and their answers):
In order to get Invisalign, you’ll have to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Once you and your dentist decide that Clear Aligners is right for you, you’ll schedule another appointment to take x-rays, tooth impressions, and “before” photos. These are sent to Clear Aligners headquarters along with your prescription, and your custom-designed aligners will arrive within 4 to 6 weeks of your first appointment.
When you come in to pick up your new Clear Aligners, your dentist will provide you with detailed instructions about how to care for and clean your aligners as well as when to wear them. At this time, you’ll be given 2 sets of aligners to wear for 4 to 6 weeks, depending on your next appointment time and your dentist’s specific instructions.
At your next appointment, you’ll be given your next set of 2 aligners that allow for the slight shifts that your first sets caused within your teeth, and the cycle will continue until your last set, which will represent your ideal smile. The total amount of time included within the entire process varies depending on your dental goals.
Clear Aligners is designed to fill a role similar to traditional retainers. Therefore, it’s best for tooth appearance issues that don’t require surgery or braces to fix. This includes:
If you’re unsure whether or not Clear Aligners is the right tool to help with your specific issues, consult with your dentist. Certain patients may not be a great candidate, such as those with extremely crooked teeth, significant over or underbite, gaps larger than 6 millimeters, and certain types of previous dental work.
This is one of the most common Clear Aligners questions from concerned patients. Invisalign is designed to be a slow, smooth process of tooth alignment; therefore, you shouldn’t experience much pain at all throughout the process. Plus, you won’t need to worry about any painful brackets or loose metal wires poking your mouth.
The only time you may experience some discomfort is during the first few hours of a brand-new aligner. Generally, this discomfort is minimal and can be easily remedied with Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain medication.
The ability to take your Clear Aligners out is a huge benefit that this method holds over other methods of tooth alignment. However, it’s still important to keep your aligners in as much as possible in order to see the best results in the shortest possible amount of time.
Clear Aligners should be taken out while eating and drinking, while brushing and flossing your teeth, and for cleaning. Otherwise, your aligners should remain in place. Most dentists suggest that the aligners should be worn for 22 hours a day in order to work effectively.
Once you’ve received your first set of aligners and have officially begun your tooth alignment process, the frequency of your return visits to your dentist will depend on your specific situation. Some Clear Aligners users come in once a month or every 5-6 weeks, and some come in between every 8 and 10 weeks. Ask your dentist what your timetable will look like for your specific tooth alignment goals.
For most patients, Invisalign takes between 12 and 18 months from start to finish. However, your personal experience with Clear Aligners can depend on how consistently you wear your aligners, whether or not you lost any time due to misplaced or broken aligners, and any other interruptions to the process.
Ask your dentist about how long Invisalign may take in total for you in order to reach your specific goals.
Much like any change to your dental environment, your Clear Aligners might take some getting used to. Some users report a slight change in their speech patterns or even slightly increased saliva production; however, these symptoms typically pass within the first couple of days as you become used to your aligners.
You’ll be removing your aligners when you eat and drink, so that means you won’t have to make any changes to your normal diet in order for your Clear Aligners to work. However, it’s still important to avoid too many sugary foods and staining substances like coffee and wine in order to keep your teeth bright and healthy. That way, you won’t have to worry about sitting right back down in the dentist’s chair for a cleaning as soon as you’re done with Clear Aligners!
In addition to watching what you eat, make sure to keep up your routine dental exams and cleanings all throughout your Clear Aligners process and beyond.
Want to learn more about improving the appearance of your teeth with Clear Aligners? Request an appointment today with DeAngelis Family Dentistry.