Clear Aligner Trays: An Orthodontic Option at Your Family Dentist

When you think about orthodontic work, images of metal braces and complex dental procedures might come to mind. And the ability to straighten one’s teeth was once only associated with frequent trips to an orthodontist, a dental specialist who has had advanced training focused on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities. But did you know family dentists can also provide certain orthodontic treatments to make your smile its best?

 

Advances in technology now make it possible for family dentists to straighten teeth with clear aligner trays—an effective, less intrusive alternative to traditional braces. Our previous blog reviewed many different orthodontic options, and the pros of clear aligner trays are clearly making them an increasingly popular choice (pun intended).

What Are Clear Aligner Trays?

In the same way that the Kleenex brand is now synonymous with tissue and plastic bandages are often called Bandaids, many people are familiar with Invisalign®, a popular brand of clear aligner trays used to straighten teeth. There are now many options available, and they all work similarly.

 

A series of clear aligner trays are made for each patient using gentle pressure to move the teeth into the desired alignment. As a general rule, younger patients tend to swap to their next set of trays more often, whereas adults may need more time with each set. Within nine months to a year, on average, the result is a straighter smile.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Clear Aligner Trays?

Clear aligner trays are virtually invisible, comfortable to wear, and easy to remove for eating and cleaning. This means they cause minimal disruption to your daily life while correcting your teeth alignment. Treatment with clear aligner trays is often preferred to traditional braces for a few significant reasons. Some of the benefits are:

 

  • More aesthetically pleasing since they are clear and less noticeable than brackets

  • More comfortable because they are smooth, unlike wires and brackets that can irritate lips and gums

  • More convenient since frequent visits for adjustments are not required

  • More flexible as they are removable and can be taken out for special occasions (although patients should severely limit these moments since they can prolong treatment)

  • Proven track record of excellent results for mild to moderate crookedness, crowding, and gaps and for people who previously wore braces but whose teeth have shifted

 

On the other hand, clear aligner trays can be more expensive than braces. They also won’t work for every tooth alignment problem, in which case you would be referred to an orthodontist who will work with your dentist to design the best course of treatment for you.

What’s the Process For Using Clear Aligner Trays?

The process begins with a thorough examination and consultation with your family dentist. During your appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to determine if you are a good candidate for clear aligner therapy.

 

If your dentist determines you are a good candidate, they will create a custom treatment plan for you. This plan will include the number of clear aligner trays you will need to wear, how long you will need to wear each tray, and how often you will need to see your dentist for checkups.

 

Next, a digital scan or impressions of your teeth will be taken, which will be used to create your custom aligner trays. Once your aligners are made, your dentist will guide you on how to use them. You will need to wear the trays for at least 22 hours per day, removing them for meals, brushing and flossing your teeth and for drinking anything other than water. At the initial visit when you get your trays, your dentist or their assistant will place tiny pieces of filling material called attachments on certain teeth. Occasionally these attachments will need to be placed at future visits as well. They will be removed when treatment is completed.

Do I Need to See a Dentist or Orthodontist? What About Those Ads to Order Online?

Due to their extensive training, orthodontists and general dentists can safely and effectively administer clear aligner trays. Before an orthodontist or general dentist offers clear aligner tray therapy to their patients, they receive additional training. Their dental expertise and this additional training help them assess their patients’ progress and notice any problems that might arise as the teeth move. Opting for a general dentist, such as Dr. Abrams, can be more convenient. This way, you can visit a single office for most of your dental needs.

 

We do not recommend direct-to-patient orthodontic treatment you may have seen advertised on TV or social media. Having in-person personalized care from a trained dentist or orthodontist ensures you get the best results without risking your mouth’s long-term health. Dentists and orthodontists have extensive training and experience in dealing with problems that direct-to-consumer services may not adequately address or monitor. While direct-to-consumer services may seem more convenient or cost-effective, the lack of personalized, in-person care could lead to overlooked issues or complications, either immediate or down the line. We always urge our patients to exercise extreme caution with anything related to their oral health. You only have one set of adult teeth, and you do not want to put them at unnecessary risk.

Clear Aligner Trays Are Clearly a Great Option

Overall, clear aligner trays offer a convenient, and almost invisible solution for orthodontic treatment. They present a comfortable and flexible choice for those seeking to enhance their smile. As your trusted family dentist, we’re here to guide you through every step of the process.

If you want to learn more about clear aligner tray therapy, please give us a call. Don’t wait to start your journey towards a healthier, more confident smile. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. Whether it’s clear aligners or other dental solutions, we’re always here to help provide your best smile. At Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry, your smile begins here!

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