Here at Gleason Orthodontics, we hear from many people who are interested in improving their smile but aren’t sure how they feel about braces. Although modern braces are smaller and more comfortable than they used to be, some potential patients continue to be on the fence about them. If this sounds like you, we’ve got great news—clear aligners could be the perfect smile solution for you!
These exciting systems are an innovative alternative to traditional braces, offering the same exceptional results without the use of brackets and wires. Although these aligners have become increasingly popular in the last several years, there are still some misconceptions out there about how they work and what they can accomplish. With that in mind, let’s look at what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to achieving a confident smile with clear aligner therapy at Gleason Orthodontics!
Fiction: clear aligners take longer to work than braces
Orthodontists like Dr. Gleason can use fixed and removable appliances to shift the teeth into more desirable positions. Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, with brackets that are securely attached directly to the front or back surface of the teeth. Once they’re placed, traditional braces can only be removed by a professional.
In contrast, clear aligners are a removable appliance. The customized trays are made of a unique thermoplastic material and come with small tooth-colored attachments to fit comfortably over the teeth, but no part of the aligner is actually affixed to the teeth.
Clear aligners can be removed for short periods, which is one of their most desirable features! They’re designed to be taken out any time you eat and before you brush and floss, so there’s extra flexibility that isn’t possible with metal or clear braces. There is a trade-off, though—much more than braces, patient compliance is essential for success with a clear aligner system!
Because the aligners are removable, it will be up to you to wear them as directed by Dr. Gleason. That means keeping the aligners in for 20-22 hours each day throughout the treatment process and switching them out every 1-2 weeks for the next in the series. This is what allows them to keep up with the movements your teeth are making, so if the guidelines aren’t followed, it can lead to longer treatment times and may affect the final results.
All of our patients are anxious to get to the good part and enjoy their brand new smile, but there’s no “one size fits all” estimate. Every patient is different, and there are many factors that go into determining how long someone is likely to need clear aligners. We can look at averages, however. Most aligner patients who are fully compliant will wear clear aligners for anywhere from 6-18 months, which is slightly faster than treatment with traditional braces!
Fiction: clear aligner treatment is more complicated than braces treatment
As we discussed above, patient compliance is an important part of any orthodontic journey with clear aligners, but it’s not the only one! Oral hygiene also plays a big role in how successful your treatment will be. We should all be aiming for a good brushing and flossing routine, but it’s essential for orthodontic patients. Brushing with braces can be tricky, though, with the brackets and wires creating pockets that are difficult to reach. These are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and plaque, but you won’t have to worry about this with clear aligners!
Since clear aligners are designed to be removed before you brush and floss, it’s super simple to keep your teeth and gums in good shape while we straighten your smile. For the best results, we recommend that all of our patients brush thoroughly after every meal and floss every night before bed. You’ll also need to take care of your aligners to keep the treatment plan moving smoothly. You can gently brush them with water and a soft toothbrush or use one of the special kits that are available for this purpose.
Food restrictions are a thing of the past with clear aligners, too! Crunchy and chewy foods can break brackets and bend wires, so braces patients need to avoid them throughout the orthodontic process. But because clear aligners are removed before eating, you can continue eating all your favorite foods and snacks.
Fiction: clear aligners are more expensive than braces treatment
Did you know that braces have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years? Even though they’ve been around for the last couple of decades, clear aligners are still relatively new in comparison! Like many new things, they were fairly expensive when they first hit the market. But as the treatment has become more popular and accessible, the cost began to drop accordingly. While the cost of treatment will always vary from case to case, most clear aligners cost roughly the same as traditional braces these days. For your convenience, we offer a variety of options such as credit card payments, cash, financing options, and payment plans.
Fact: a confident smile is waiting for you at Gleason Orthodontics
Clear aligners are an excellent tool for straightening teeth, but they won’t be a good fit for everyone. You can trust Dr. Gleason to only recommend the treatment option that will work best for your unique smile! When you schedule a FREE consultation with our Webster office, he will examine your mouth and determine which treatment will address your specific needs. To learn more about how clear aligners can transform your smile, get in touch today and we’ll be happy to help you take the first step!