Everything You Need to Know About Clear Aligners

Here at Orthodontic Associates, we’re in the business of creating beautiful smiles. Dr. Adam Miller and our expert team are proud to offer patients of all ages a range of innovative treatment options, including clear aligners. These clear aligner systems are our most popular alternative to traditional braces, allowing us to achieve the same results without the use of any brackets or wires. If you’ve been considering orthodontics, but aren’t sure if braces are a good fit for you, clear aligners could be the perfect smile solution! Let’s take a closer look at what they are and how they can give you a major smile makeover. Keep reading below to learn more! 

What are clear aligners?

An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Miller has undertaken many years of education and training in using orthodontic appliances to correct a variety of issues. He can use both fixed and removable devices to achieve straighter smiles. Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, which means the brackets are affixed directly to the front or back surface of the teeth. Since most of the hard work is done when braces are placed, a patient’s main responsibilities are keeping them clean and following the guidelines they’re given for wearing elastics.

Clear aligners are removable appliances. They’re custom-designed to fit snugly over the patient’s teeth but aren’t actually attached to any part of them, although some patients who need additional force will have attachments bonded to the teeth. These tiny tooth-colored “bumps” are placed in specific spots to allow the aligners to grip the teeth as they shift them, while the aligners themselves remain fully removable.  

This exciting treatment option works by using a series of clear aligners to move the teeth into more desirable positions over time. Patients in clear aligners must be much more hands-on with them than those in braces, however. The trays must be worn for 20-22 hours each day and each aligner switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks for the system to succeed. This is what allows the aligners to keep up with the movements the teeth are making, and when patients do not comply with these guidelines, it can lead to longer treatment times and subpar results.  

Everything You Need to Know About Clear Aligners

How does the treatment process work with clear aligners?

There’s no cookie-cutter treatment here at Orthodontic Associates! Every smile journey begins with an initial consultation in one of our three conveniently located offices. During this first visit, Dr. Miller will examine your smile and discuss any concerns you have about your oral health. We’ll take some digital images of your mouth, including X-rays if necessary. You’ll then be presented with a customized treatment plan that will include all the movements we want your teeth to make. This will also give you an estimate of how long we expect treatment to take. You may even get a sneak peek at what your smile will look like once you’ve finished treatment!

After you decide on a treatment plan with Dr. Miller, we’ll give the lab a heads-up to create your first set of aligners. As soon as they come in, you’ll be on your way to a beautiful new smile! The total number of clear aligners needed will vary from case to case, but most patients use anywhere from 18-30 aligners altogether. Treatment time will also depend on a number of different factors, with the average being about 9-15 months.

Our expert team will be here to guide you through every step of your orthodontic journey. Regular check-ups are an important part of that, and you can expect to see Dr. Miller once every 6-8 weeks or so. During these visits, he’ll check that everything is progressing as it should be and will also make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

What are the benefits of clear aligners?

The removability of clear aligners is definitely their biggest selling point! This allows patients an extra measure of freedom that traditional braces lack. Take food restrictions, for example. In order to protect the wires and brackets during treatment, patients in braces need to avoid eating anything crunchy or chewy. Although the end result is worth it, giving up certain foods can be frustrating!

Since clear aligners are designed to be removed before eating, you can eat and drink everything you normally would during treatment. You simply take the aligner out any time you want to eat, then replace it when you’re done! This makes it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, too. It can be time-consuming to effectively clean around brackets and wires, especially at first. But clear aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as you normally would, so it’s a cinch to care for your teeth and gums.  

Since they can be taken out for short periods of time, removable aligners are a bonus for athletes and musicians who play specific instruments. They can also be the perfect solution for anyone who wishes to let their natural smile shine through occasionally, like at weddings, proms, or even senior photos.

Everything You Need to Know About Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are the top choice at Orthodontic Associates

It’s easy to see why clear aligner systems like Invisalign are such a popular alternative to traditional braces! Our team loves how convenient and effective this treatment option is, and would be happy to discuss the many benefits of clear aligners with you in our bilingual Bradenton, New Port Richey, or St. Petersburg locations. Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with us and take the first step towards discovering your best smile!