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What Are Clear Aligners?

If you are ready to start orthodontic treatment, the two most common options you will have to choose from are traditional braces with brackets and clear aligners. Clear aligners, which are often associated with Invisalign, are one way to gently shift your teeth over time into a more attractive and healthy position. What are clear aligners, and should you consider them for your orthodontic treatment?

How Are Clear Aligners Different?

Traditional braces consist of brackets placed on the surface of each tooth and wires that are tightened and adjusted to help the teeth shift over a series of visits. Clear aligners are translucent trays that are custom molded to your mouth. They fit snugly over the surface of the teeth, and they can be removed for eating, drinking, or cleaning. Because they can be removed and are virtually invisible, they are different from traditional braces.

There are multiple brands of clear liners on the market, but the most popular remains Invisalign. All types of clear aligners are an excellent way to adjust your teeth without the discomfort that can occur from traditional braces, and without anyone being able to tell that you’re wearing braces in the first place.

Are Clear Aligners Appropriate for Everyone? 

Another key difference between clear aligners and traditional braces is who they are most appropriate for. Traditional braces can be used to solve virtually any orthodontic problem. However, clear aligners have a more narrow scope of what they can be used for. They are best for teens and adults who can consistently and reliably wear them for 22 hours a day.

Additionally, clear aligners are most commonly used for people who have straightforward spacing issues, mild bite issues, and moderately crowded teeth. If you have a severe overbite or underbite or complex orthodontic challenges, traditional braces might be recommended instead. Your orthodontist will be able to work with you to come up with a customized treatment plan that meets your needs.

How Do Clear Aligners Work?

Unlike braces, which are attached to the surface of your teeth for the duration of your treatment, Invisalign aligners can be placed in your mouth and removed to eat and drink. Your clear aligners will be custom made to fit your mouth. Once your mouth has been mapped out, your orthodontist will use a specialized program to create a series of custom clear aligner trays. These trays will be used in order to shift your teeth into the optimal position.

When wearing Invisalign or other types of clear liners, the most important thing is wearing them as much as possible. In general, you should seek to wear yours for at least 22 hours a day. Installing them is as easy as placing the tray in your mouth and gently pressing it onto the surface of your teeth. Your orthodontist will check in with you and inform you when it is time to switch to another aligner. Unlike traditional braces, there is no need to adjust brackets or wires in your mouth, because they don’t exist!

How Long Do Clear Aligners Take to Work?

Just like traditional braces, there is no one answer as to how long your treatment will take. Depending on the severity of your orthodontic issues, how consistently you are wearing your clear aligners, and other factors, it may take anywhere from 10 months to 2 years. Your orthodontist can provide you with an initial projection and updates along the way.

What Are the Benefits of Clear Aligners? 

There are many reasons why patients continue to choose clear aligners over traditional braces, including:

  • Clear aligner trays are virtually invisible. As a result, you can feel confident whether you are taking pictures or giving a presentation. Depending on your personal preferences or line of work, being able to use translucent aligners instead of the visible brackets and wires of traditional braces may be important. 
  • Invisalign trays are designed to snugly fit your teeth and place gentle pressure. They have smooth edges and fit your teeth precisely. As a result, this often means that they are more comfortable than the wires and brackets of traditional braces. 
  • You can take out clear aligners when you eat and drink. Aside from this meaning that you don’t need to worry about adjusting your diet, it also means that it’s easier to stay hygienic. It can be challenging to floss and brush when you have braces. Being able to clean the surface of each tooth directly and clean your aligners allows you to easily maintain optimal oral health.


Mon - Fri: 9:30am - 5:30pm
Sat - Sun: Closed


Mon - Fri: 9:30am - 5:30pm
Sat - Sun: Closed

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