The Choice is Clear
By Cheryl Alexander
A beautiful smile is within reach
Aside from detracting from your appearance, misaligned teeth also affect your confidence level. However, because of the constraints and consequences associated with traditional braces, many people, both teens and adults, opt to do nothing to correct the problems with their teeth. If this is the case with you or your child, then now is the time to reconsider the options. Due to amazing advancements in technology, orthodontists are able to offer their patients more convenient and comfortable orthodontic treatment solutions for teeth straightening. With the help of clear aligners like Invisalign and ClearCorrect — the more comfortable and less noticeable dental braces — you can straighten your misaligned teeth without experiencing any kind of discomfort, inconvenience or mouth abrasions.
Clear aligners, available in most orthodontists’ offices, are a safe and perfect option for rectifying dental abnormalities such as crooked teeth, buckteeth, extensively spaced teeth, overcrowded teeth, crossbites, openbites, underbites and overbites. The best part is that once these dental irregularities are corrected, patients benefit from strong healthy teeth, a dazzling smile, appealing facial charm and superior physical fitness. They no longer have to worry about problems such as irregular wear of tooth surfaces, digestion problems, chewing disorders, tooth loss, gum diseases and speech impairments. Pretty amazing results!
“The biggest advantage of clear aligners,” says Dr. Ronada Davis (www.ddsassociates.com), “is that these types of braces do not employ metal wires and brackets and so are more comfortable to wear. Obviously, too, clear aligners are virtually invisible, so they are less noticeable.” Satisfied patients report that they love being able to complete the treatment without others really knowing about it and that the aligners are easily removed, so patients are able to maintain their normal oral hygiene routine: eating, drinking, brushing and flossing normally.
When you are ready to begin exploring how clear aligners can improve your smile, simply visit an Invisalign or ClearCorrect trained doctor for a consultation where you can discuss the goals you have for your smile. Once your doctor determines that clear aligners will work for you, a detailed treatment plan will be designed. The steps are simple and over time, your teeth should move to reveal the smile you’ve been looking for.
Step 1: In many cases, the initial consultation with your dentist or orthodontist will be offered free of charge. During this visit, you’ll discuss the issues you have with your teeth and the results you expect. Once your doctor decides your situation is suitable for clear aligners, a treatment plan will be mapped out with your goals in mind. Also, impressions and pictures of your teeth will most likely be taken.
Step 2: The impressions of your teeth will be digitized to enable your doctor to work with a computerized 3-D image of your teeth. Your doctor will literally plan the movements of your teeth throughout your entire treatment timeline. You will be able to see a virtual depiction of your teeth before, during and after completion of the re-alignment, which means you can see what your smile should look like when your treatment is finished.
Step 3: From your custom and precise treatment plan and the use of advanced technology, aligners are created that you will wear at each stage of your treatment. While the number of aligners varies for each individual situation, a full set typically includes 20-30. Aligners are changed out about every two weeks.
Step 4: Aligners should be worn at all times (except when you are eating and drinking) in order to complete your treatment in the timeline determined by your doctor. Occasional checkups will be required in order to monitor your progress and to receive your next set of aligners. Little by little, your smile will move into something you will love to show off. Your newfound confidence will soar.
Cost of clear aligners
Cost is always a big concern for anyone considering orthodontic work. Similar to other medical treatments, only your doctor can determine your cost based on your specific needs. Other factors may include what you specifically want corrected or the difficulty of your case, how long you are in treatment, your orthodontic insurance coverage and even where you live. In most cases, the cost of clear aligners is comparable to the cost of traditional braces. In the U.S., the cost of treatment ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with the national average about $5,000. Many dental insurance plans will cover clear aligners just as they would cover other orthodontic treatments.
Your insurance provider will be able to counsel you on the extent of your coverage. Additionally, most doctors offer flexible and affordable monthly payment plans, many with no down payment and no interest.
A straight, beautifully-aligned smile looks great and indicates a healthy smile. So consider the many benefits of a properly aligned smile:
Healthier gums: Signs of periodontal disease, such as swollen gums and redness, can surface due to teeth that are crowded or too widely spaced. Clinical studies have shown that when teeth are properly aligned, it helps the gums fit tighter around the teeth, which can lead to better periodontal health. Since correcting your teeth with clear aligners straightens your teeth, your gum health may improve also. Additionally, since you’ll be able to brush and floss normally, unlike with traditional braces, you’ll more easily prevent tooth decay and related periodontal disease.
Easier cleanings: One of the best benefits clear aligners offer is easier oral hygiene. No metal bands, brackets or wires — which can trap food and plaque — are used. Since clear aligners are removable, you can maintain good oral hygiene habits and reduce chances of plaque buildup, tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Improved chewing and speech: When you leave incorrectly positioned teeth and jaws untreated, speech and chewing can become difficult issues. Correcting your smile with clear aligners can improve both of these problems by repositioning teeth and jaws.
Comfort and tooth structure: Misaligned teeth and jaws can result in stress, causing painful trauma to supporting bone and jaw joints. These issues can also cause abnormal wear on your teeth, which can trigger future dental problems.
Options for your teen
Invisalign Teen closely mirrors the traditional Invisalign system, but includes a few innovations geared specifically toward younger patients such as compliance indicators and replacement aligners, says Dr. Davis.
Compliance Indicators address a common concern among parents regarding compliance among younger patients,
Invisalign Teen created compliance sensors — little blue circles on the aligners that fade over time with wear — to ensure that patients wear them as prescribed.
Another concern many parents have with Invisalign is what happens when their child loses one of their aligners. Invisalign Teen replaces up to six lost aligners free of charge.
“Additionally,” says Dr. Davis, “Oral hygiene is easy. Having no metal brackets and wires to brush around makes good oral hygiene with Invisalign Teen much easier.”
So how long will it take to finish your treatment? For most adults, treatment time is just under one year. Of course, your total treatment time depends on your particular situation, so it’s important to speak with your doctor about how your situation and goals fit into a clear aligner treatment program.
Success is within your grasp and under your control. Take aligners out to eat, drink and brush your teeth. But remember, the more you wear your aligners, the better. You will quickly, easily, effectively and perhaps most importantly, CLEARLY enjoy the smile you’ve always dreamed of!