Traditionally, braces have been the primary way for orthodontists to move teeth and jaws into the proper alignment. However, braces can be uncomfortable and challenging to keep clean. They’re vulnerable if the patient eats hard foods or plays contact sports. Plus, they can get in the way of the patient’s smile.

Clear aligners were invented as an alternative to braces to address each of these issues. They’re convenient, comfortable, and nearly impossible for outside viewers to see — helping patients keep smiling worry-free as they correct alignment issues. This article will discuss clear aligners in more detail and explain how they help patients fix tooth and jaw alignment issues more comfortably and conveniently.

What are clear aligners?

Clear aligners are a transparent orthodontic device that helps patients move their teeth and jaws into the right place. Doing this can prevent dental issues like chipped teeth, gum disease, and aesthetic issues like a patient’s smile.

Aligners are a bit more expensive than braces, but they can be a great alternative due to their convenience and comfort. Patients can remove aligners when eating to keep them clean and minimize eating discomfort. This also makes them easier to clean since patients can take them out for cleaning purposes. Removing them makes brushing and flossing teeth easier as well.

Clear aligners are practically invisible, which can help patients fix teeth issues without the visible appearance of an orthodontic device. Aligners also tend to be less painful when wearing them. Patients often don’t need to visit their dentist or orthodontist as many times as with braces, and these appointments can take less time. Lastly, aligners generally work faster than braces. It’s worth noting that dentists and orthodontists can both do clear aligner treatments, whereas only orthodontists can create braces in many cases.

How clear aligners fix dental issues

Clear aligners fix dental issues by slowly moving their teeth or jaws into the correct position. The patient will get a set of several aligners, such as three aligners, meant to be worn in order. In general, the patient must swap out each aligner every few weeks (or as instructed) as their teeth slowly shift.

In many cases, patients must wear the aligners 20 to 22 hours daily for effective treatment. They should only remove them for cleaning and eating. Patients should remove them if they play contact sports as well.

Patients may have to schedule intermittent appointments with their provider to check on progress. These appointments are typically quick if everything’s going well. If there are issues, the provider may have a new set made to fix things.

How to decide if clear aligners are the right choice

Clear aligners are more convenient, comfortable, and discrete than braces. Plus, they treat tooth and jaw issues more rapidly. That said, they can cost a little more than traditional braces. Overall, clear aligners may be suitable for patients who are willing to spend a little bit more to correct tooth or jaw misalignment while minimizing interruptions to their lives and their smiles.

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