Clear Plastic Aligners And How They Work

Dentist Blog

If you have crooked teeth and would like to transform the look of your smile in less than 12 months, you may be considering a cosmetic dental application like invisalign. However, many cosmetic dental services, such as veneers, do not directly address misaligned teeth. Veneers may be used to cover the teeth that have a minor misalignment, but they do not reposition the teeth. 

To move the teeth into a straight alignment, an orthodontic application is needed. Braces are commonly used to straighten the teeth. However, they may require up to three years to move the teeth into the desired configuration.

Clear plastic aligners can often reposition the teeth in as few as six months. Here is a bit of information about aligners and how they work. 

What Are Plastic Aligners?

Plastic aligners are removable, customized orthodontic trays that fit over the teeth, applying alignment pressure. The aligners, which are transparent, are designed from an impression of the patient's mouth. 

Instead of a single set of aligners, multiple sets are applied during the treatment process in a specific order. Each set is worn for several weeks and then replaced with the next set of aligners in the prescribed plan. 

Each subsequent set of aligners in the treatment schedule moves the teeth closer to a straight alignment. Once the final set has been worn for the designated period, the repositioning of the teeth is complete.

How Long Do You Have to Wear the Aligners?

Since aligners are removable, some patients may assume that they can leave the trays out of the mouth whenever they desire. However, that is not the case. The aligners must remain in place for most of the day and night. In fact, they should not be left out of the mouth for more than a couple of hours during each 24-hour period. 

Still, the removability of the aligners makes it easy to brush your teeth and floss. It also makes eating less cumbersome and embarrassing. The appliance is out of the mouth, so it doesn't trap bits of food between the aligning trays and the teeth.

Is a Retainer Still Needed After the Treatment?

Once the aligners have straightened the teeth, the teeth may still start to migrate to their former positions. Thus, the dentist may prescribe a retainer to help maintain the new alignment. 

If you would like to have your teeth straightened with clear plastic aligners, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.


13 December 2019