Not many adults want a mouth full of metal yet straightening your teeth is still a viable option. Clear aligners are a less obvious way that adults can straighten their smile or fix misaligned bites. We spoke with Dr. N. Danielle Tart, D.D.S. of Triangle Dentistry about the treatment.
What are some of the reasons adults need braces?
Patients most often need braces for two reasons. The first is function, so the bite aligns properly, and the second is esthetics, the way the smile looks. Having teeth that align mechanically is one of the key factors in maintaining a dentition for a lifetime. In our culture today, people also value a beautiful, straight, white smile.
How do you proceed if one of your patients needs braces?
If a patient is not a candidate for clear aligners in my practice, I refer them to an orthodontist to discuss appliances and braces to reposition the teeth. If the patient is a candidate for minor tooth movement, I go through the options available for that particular patient. The most popular choice is clear aligner therapy. Invisalign or Clear Correct uses thin, clear, plastic trays to reposition the teeth. They are comfortable, easy to use, and avoid the look of brackets in the smile.
What is the difference between braces and aligners?
The main differences are control, dental hygiene, and esthetics! With removable aligner therapy, patient compliance is a must! The trays must be worn 22 hours a day to get the desired results. This differs from fixed braces where the orthodontist is in control and patients cannot remove them to eat or drink. Dental hygiene is much easier with aligners. Trays can be removed to brush and floss, and new trays are inserted every two to three weeks. In regards to esthetics, aligners are virtually invisible and hard to detect, whereas braces are significantly more noticeable.
How does Clear Correct work?
Clear correct uses computer-based technology to form clear aligners, which move the teeth slowly over time. Each tray moves the teeth with a minimal amount of tension placed on the teeth. Most patients tolerate this extremely well, and each new set of trays initially just feel a little snug. After wearing consecutive trays the teeth become straighter and better positioned.
Is it as effective as braces?
Clear aligner therapy is just as effective as traditional braces as long as the dentist follows certain guidelines. Cases that are too complicated may require braces for a brief period to complete the case. It is best to set up a consult with a dental professional to discuss each individual’s situation. Many dentists provide this as a complimentary benefit, so check with your provider!