Thanks to today’s technology, modern braces are almost unrecognizable from years past. While they have smaller brackets, a sleeker appearance, and greater comfort than ever before, many teens and adults we see here at Langford Orthodontics are still hesitant about using them to straighten their smiles. Fortunately, clear aligner therapy provides an alternative to braces that gives patients the option to straighten their smiles without any brackets, bands, or wires! With so much information out there, we’re here to give you the truth about Invisalign.
Clear aligner therapy is an exciting way to give you the same incredible results as braces but with so much more freedom and flexibility. Braces have a long history of proven results, but Invisalign aligners are still a relatively new treatment in the world of orthodontics. That means there are a few misconceptions floating around out there about how they work, how effective they can be, and how much they cost compared to braces. Keep reading below to find out more about clear aligner therapy and how it can help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of!
What is clear aligner therapy?
Although clear aligners as we know them were developed in the late ’90s, similar trays had been in use for decades before as post-treatment retainers. The clear aligner system uses specialized software and technology to allow orthodontists like Dr. Allen Langford or Dr. Jordan Ringer to successfully move crooked and misaligned teeth in stages using customized aligners. At the end of each stage, the current aligner is switched out for the next in the series. This will usually happen 1-2 weeks, depending on the intervals determined in your treatment plan.
In the beginning, clear aligners were only used to treat simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. Once orthodontists became aware of their potential and the system became more popular, the design was improved dramatically. When used as directed by your orthodontist, clear aligners can now be just as effective as traditional braces for many mild to moderate orthodontic issues.
Does clear aligner therapy take longer than braces?
No matter what kind of orthodontic treatment you choose, it will require some level of commitment in order to be successful. This compliance is especially important when you choose treatment with clear aligners! Because braces are affixed to the actual surface of the teeth, much of the hard work is done without too much effort on the patient’s side. Aligners are a different story. They are a removable orthodontic appliance, and as such, they must be worn for 20-22 hours a day for the treatment to succeed. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in longer treatment times or inferior results.
Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to how long a patient will need to be in braces or aligners. That’s because every case is different and each patient responds to treatment in their own unique way. In general, however, the average number of aligners used with aligner treatment at Langford Orthodontics will be somewhere between 10 and 48, with the total treatment time averaging anywhere from 6 to 18 months. The good news? This is actually slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!
Does clear aligner therapy cost more than braces?
Like when most new things come on the market, treatment with clear aligners was considered to be quite pricey in its early days. However, that cost has decreased as the system has become more popular and readily available. While there are several factors associated with the overall cost of orthodontic treatment in general, clear aligners tend to be comparative in price to traditional braces in most cases.
Here at Langford Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to providing high-quality orthodontic services for every budget! Your treatment fees will vary depending on several factors, and our team will always make sure you understand everything included in the total cost before proceeding with the active phase of your treatment. We have a variety of payment options available for your convenience and we also accept most major insurance plans. Our team will be happy to verify your orthodontic benefits, and will even process your insurance forms for you.
What advantages do clear aligners offer over braces?
Because they can be removed for short periods of time, clear aligners give patients flexibility that other treatment methods just can’t compare to! Food restrictions are a good example of this. Crunchy and chewy foods can cause major damage to brackets and wires, so patients in braces must avoid these items throughout their orthodontic journey. This can eliminate several popular foods and snacks from the menu, but with clear aligners, you can continue to eat all your favorite foods any time you want! Simply take the aligners out whenever you’re ready to eat, then put them back in when you’re done.
Removable aligners also make it much simpler to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing around wires, brackets, and bands can often be frustrating and time-consuming. However, clear aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as you normally would! Caring for the aligners themselves is a simple task, too. There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can gently brush them using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
Since they’re removable and don’t have any wires or brackets to get in the way, clear aligners are perfect for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. Since they can be taken out for short periods of time, they’re also ideal for those special events where you only want your natural smile shining through, like a wedding, prom, or senior pictures.
Do clear aligners work for everyone?
Generally speaking, clear aligners tend to work best for teen and adult patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are particularly complex or severe may benefit from more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. When you schedule your free consultation with us, your orthodontist will be able to determine if clear aligners are a good fit for your smile, or if a different treatment method would be better. You can trust that Langford Orthodontics will only recommend the treatment best suited for your unique smile!
What happens once clear aligner therapy is complete?
Even with successful orthodontic treatment, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth. If there’s nothing in place to prevent it, your teeth will eventually begin drifting back towards those positions. This is why retainers are such an important component when it comes to achieving lasting results! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. To keep your newly straightened smile in place, you should always wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Langford or Dr. Ringer.
Find your best smile with clear aligner therapy from Langford Orthodontics
The innovative clear aligner system is currently the most popular alternative we have to traditional braces, and it’s not hard to see why! This exciting option continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment, and we’re proud to offer it to our patients in Knoxville, Seymour, and the surrounding communities.
If you’d like to learn more about the wonderful things clear aligners can do for you and your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation in one of our two conveniently located offices. We’re here to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile!