There have been many amazing changes in the design, shape, size, and even color of traditional braces in recent years. They’re smaller, more aesthetically pleasing, and can efficiently correct a number of orthodontic issues, leaving patients with a beautiful smile they love. As exciting as these developments have been, however, some patients are still on the fence about using traditional braces to improve their oral health.
Here at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer Invisalign clear aligner as well as 3M clarity aligner therapy as an alternative to braces! This innovative system offers patients the same beautiful results as braces without having to use any brackets, wires, or bands. There are a lot of urban legends out there about what an aligner is, what it can do, how effective it is, and how much it costs. Let’s clear up any misconceptions below!
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign clear aligners were developed by Align Technology in 1998, but similar trays have been used for decades as retainers to hold newly straightened teeth in place after treatment. The Invisalign system gives us software and technology that allows us to move crooked and misaligned teeth in stages. At the end of each stage, patients will replace their current aligner with the next in the series. This usually happens every 1-2 weeks, depending on their customized treatment plan.
In its early days, Invisalign was mostly used for simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. As it became more popular and orthodontists began to realize its potential, the aligners improved to move teeth more efficiently. Currently, over 7 million patients have been treated with Invisalign aligners! When used as directed by an orthodontist, Invisalign can be just as effective as traditional braces, and offers much freedom and flexibility.
Does aligner treatment take longer than braces?
Any kind of orthodontic treatment requires a commitment from patients in order to be successful, but compliance is especially important with aligners. Because braces are a fixed appliance—meaning they are affixed to the surface of the teeth—a lot of the hard work is done without too much effort from the patient. Aligners are a removable appliance, however. For the system to work properly, aligners need to be worn 20-22 hours a day, throughout the course of treatment.
There’s no “one size fits all” answer to how long a patient will need to be in braces or aligners. Every case is different and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. In general, the average number of aligners used with aligner treatment is somewhere between 10 and 48, with the total treatment time averaging anywhere from 6 to 18 months. This is actually slightly faster than the average time spent in braces!
Is aligner treatment more expensive than braces?
Like any new technology, aligner treatment was quite pricey when it first came onto the orthodontic scene. Over the years, that cost has decreased as popularity increased. There are several factors associated with the overall cost of treatment, but comparatively speaking, aligners costs just about the same as traditional braces.
At Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics, we aim to provide affordable, high-quality orthodontic care for every budget. We offer no interest financing in-office, credit cards, and most major insurance plans as well as Health Savings Accounts (HSA). We’ll even verify your orthodontic benefits and process your insurance forms for you!
What advantages does aligners have over braces?
Removable aligners allows patients the kind of flexibility that more traditional treatment methods just can’t beat! A perfect example of this is food restrictions. Many braces patients will tell you that one of the toughest parts of treatment is having to give up some of their favorite words to keep their appliance safe. They must avoid anything crunchy or chewy while wearing braces, which eliminates several popular foods and snacks. Thanks to the removable aligners, this is no problem for Invisalign patients! You simply take them out any time you want to eat, then put them back in when you’re done. No food restrictions make orthodontic treatment a lot more fun!
Removable aligners make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, too. Brushing and flossing around wires, brackets, and bands can be frustrating and time-consuming. With aligner treatment, aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as normal, and caring for the aligners themselves couldn’t be simpler. There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can gently brush them using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
Because they’re removable and don’t have any wires or brackets to get in the way, Invisalign aligners are great for athletes and musicians who play certain instruments. Since they can be removed for short periods of time, they’re also perfect for those special events where you only want your natural smile shining through, like a wedding, prom, or senior pictures.
Will Aligners work for everyone?
In general, aligners tend to work best for adult and teen patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Cases that are more complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. When you schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Chiang, he will be able to determine if aligner treatment is a good fit for you, or if you’d be better served by more traditional orthodontic treatment. Our practice will only recommend the treatment we believe is best for your unique smile!
What happens once aligner treatment is complete?
No matter what kind of orthodontic treatment you choose, your teeth will always remember their previous place in your mouth. Over time, they will naturally begin to drift back towards those positions if there’s nothing there to stop them. That’s why retainers are essential for lasting results! Once your treatment is complete, our office will provide you with a retainer. In order to maintain your newly straightened smile, you should always wear it exactly as directed by Dr. Chiang.
Trust your smile to the Invisalign experts at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics
It’s not hard to see why aligner treatment is the most popular alternative to traditional braces! This exciting aligner system continues to change the way people view orthodontic treatment, and we’re proud to offer it to our patients in Missouri City and the surrounding communities.
If you’d like to learn more about Invisalign and 3M aligners and the incredible things it can do for your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chiang! With aligners and our expert team, you can achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.