6 Things you didn’t know about clear aligners

If you’re considering getting orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth and give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of, then you’re probably excited by the concept of clear aligners. This form of orthodontic treatment uses a series of clear plastic trays to gently guide the teeth into their new position. When worn and cared for correctly, their appearance is imperceptible to the casual observer which makes them a popular choice for image conscious adults.

Here are six things you may not know about this form of treatment:

There are different brands

For many people, clear aligner treatment is synonymous with Invisalign®. However, that’s just one of the brands of clear aligners available to orthodontists in Australia. Other popular brand names include ClearCorrect® and OrthoCaps. At Orthodontics Australia we don’t endorse any particular brand over the others as orthodontists will work with the brand that is the best fit for their practice and patients.

You may need attachments

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of clear aligner treatment is the fact that unlike traditional metal braces, your aligner trays can be removed at your leisure. To ensure the most effective use of your aligner trays throughout your treatment, it is recommended that you keep them in for at least 22 hours a day and only remove them when eating and brushing your teeth.

However, some tooth movements may require the use of additional attachments to complete your treatment. These small ‘buttons’ are clear or tooth-coloured and are attached to your teeth with dental adhesive. If your treatment requires the use of attachments, they will need to be added or removed by your orthodontist at your regular consultations, and may be slightly visible when your clear aligners are removed.

You should only drink cold drinks

If you’re the type of person who likes to sip on a hot mug of tea throughout the day, then we have bad news for you. As clear aligners are made from plastic, they can be warped by hot liquids. While undergoing treatment you should limit your intake of hot coffee and tea to protect the shape of your aligners and stop them from becoming stained.

If you must have a coffee, you should remove your aligner, drink it quickly and if you can’t brush your teeth afterwards you should at least drink some cold water before putting your trays back in. Otherwise, try and stick to plain old cold water throughout the day.

You’ll need to brush your teeth more often

It’s often recommended that we brush our teeth after every meal, but most people tend to stick to just morning and night. When you are undergoing orthodontic treatment it is particularly important that you brush your teeth after every meal. With clear aligners, plaque and food particles can get trapped, which leads to cavities and bad breath.

You should be brushing your teeth every time you remove your aligners, whether it’s for a light snack or a full meal. As a result, you’ll find that you will not only brush your teeth more throughout the day, but might cut back on some of the mindless snacking we all fall victim to.

There may be a refinement period

Sometimes you might have a couple of smaller teeth that are resistant to shifting during the normal course of your treatment. Following your planned course of treatment, you may be given some refinement trays to encourage the last few stubborn teeth to move into their new position – it all depends on how your teeth have responded to the treatment.

Regardless of the number of trays you used throughout your treatment, you will be given a final tray and encouraged by your orthodontist to continue regularly wearing it for short periods of time to help your teeth maintain their new position.

Not everyone is suited to clear aligners

While clear aligners might seem like the magical option for adults wanting to get an amazing smile, they’re not always the best option. Whether you’re suited to clear aligners depends on your case and the types of movements you need to undertake, as more complex moves would require a fixed orthodontic appliance to complete. If you’re not likely to wear it consistently for at least 22 hours a day, then you may not be a good candidate for this type of treatment.

If you want to learn more about clear aligners, you can read our helpful ebook. Otherwise you can find a specialist orthodontist near you using our Finder Tool.

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