The Truth About Clear Aligner Therapy

Here at Daniel Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer Central Arkansas families the latest in smile technology! We’ve seen orthodontics come along in leaps and bounds in the last several years, and these advancements mean patients have more treatment options than ever before. That includes clear aligner therapy, our most popular alternative to traditional braces. This innovative treatment allows us to achieve the same exceptional results as braces but without the use of brackets, wires, and bands.

Unlike traditional braces, which have been around in one form or another for centuries, clear aligners are still seen as a relatively “new” treatment option. Although they’ve been around for over twenty years now, many people still aren’t sure about how they work, who is a good candidate for clear aligner therapy, and how effective the aligners are. With those questions in mind, let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in clear aligner therapy!

What are clear aligners?

Although many clear aligner brands got their start over the last couple of decades, orthodontists have been using similar trays as post-treatment retainers for even longer. We knew they were an efficient way to keep a patient’s teeth in place once their braces came off, and now we know they’re just as effective at moving teeth, too!

Using cutting-edge software, we’re able to shift misaligned teeth over time with a series of customized clear aligners. Most of these aligners are made of a special thermoplastic material and custom-designed to fit snugly over your own teeth. Because there are no brackets or wires, this fit is often seamless and very comfortable.

In their earlier days, clear aligners were mainly used for treating simple spacing issues or mild crowding. However, the technology involved has evolved a great deal over the years! Today’s aligners can correct many of the most common orthodontic issues just as successfully as braces.

Clear aligners can work just as fast as braces do (and sometimes faster!)

Clear aligners are what we refer to as a removable orthodontic appliance. Unlike braces, which are a fixed orthodontic appliance, no part of the aligner is attached to the actual surface of the tooth. This is what gives patients an extra measure of freedom compared to braces, but it also means patient compliance is essential!

The aligners must be worn for the recommended 22 hours per day in order to be effective. Each aligner will also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. Failure to do so means patients may not get the results they desire. It can also lead to longer treatment times.

Every smile is unique and each patient responds to treatment in their own way. That means there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how long someone will need to wear clear aligners. In general, however, the total treatment time for clear aligners will generally be anywhere from 9-15 months. That’s actually slightly faster than the average time a patient spends in braces.

Clear aligners are comparable in cost to traditional braces

Like any new technology, clear aligners were pretty exclusive (and therefore expensive) when they first became available. Over the years, they’ve skyrocketed in popularity and accessibility, lowering the cost to a much more reasonable level. These days, clear aligners tend to cost just about as much as braces do, although multiple factors go into determining the cost of any treatment plan. This includes the patient’s specific needs, the treatment type, and the estimated length of treatment.

At Daniel Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing safe, effective, and affordable treatment options for our patients, including clear aligners. Every case we treat is different, and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way, so the total costs will always vary. Investing in your oral health has many benefits, and we believe everyone should be able to access the high-quality orthodontic care they need! We’re proud to offer payment options to fit every budget.

Clear aligners offer extra flexibility

Clear aligners come with a bit more flexibility than traditional braces, thanks in large part to their removable design. For example, take food restrictions, which are often one of the biggest learning curves for braces patients. To protect the brackets and wires, they need to avoid any crunchy or chewy foods throughout treatment. With clear aligners, you can continue eating everything you love with no restrictions! You simply remove the aligners any time you want to eat, then put them back in again when you’re done.

Removable aligners also make it easier to keep your teeth and gums clean! Carefully brushing and flossing around brackets and wires can be time-consuming, but clear aligners are taken out before you begin your normal dental hygiene routine. This allows you to brush and floss the same way you always have. Caring for the aligners themselves is pretty easy, too! There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can gently brush them yourself using nothing more than water and a soft toothbrush.

Clear aligners can be an excellent option for many patients

There’s a lot to love about clear aligners, and they can be a great solution for many patients. They aren’t for everyone, though. Those who have a particularly complex or severe case may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve.

Patients also need to be responsible enough to keep up with wearing the aligners. You’ll have to be capable of keeping up with wearing the aligners as directed and switching them out on a regular schedule. If you’re not sure you can handle—or want— that added responsibility, a fixed appliance like braces may be a better option for you!

When you schedule your complimentary consultation with our Little Rock, Benton, or Bryant office, one of our experienced doctors will assess your smile and determine if clear aligners are a good fit for you. Dr. Daniel and Dr. Jones will only recommend the treatment method that will work best for your unique smile.

Choose clear aligners from Daniel Orthodontics for a beautiful smile

Are you interested in clear aligners and want to know more about how they can transform your smile? Get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation! We look forward to helping you discover your best smile.