Interested in straightening your teeth but don’t want to have fixed braces?
Clear aligners may be the answer.
What are clear aligners?
Clear aligners are a plastic tray specially made to fit your teeth. They move your teeth into the correct position. A series of aligners will be used, each one guiding the teeth into the correct position. They need to be worn for at least 20 hours a day.
I have very crowded teeth, will they work?
If you have over crowded teeth, clear aligners may not be the best option for you. Clear aligners are best suited to refined movements and your dentist may advise on having fixed braces to start your treatment and clear aligners towards the end.
What’s good about them?
- Virtually invisible
- Removable for eating, drinking and cleaning the teeth
- Easier to keep clean
- Less likely to irritate gums and cheeks
- Can prevent your teeth from grinding
What’s bad about them?
- They are removable meaning sometimes you may forget to put them back in or even loose them!
- They don’t always work
- You may lisp when you start wearing them
- Each tray is tighter meaning you may experience some discomfort while changing the trays
What is the procedure?
After your initial consultation and exam your dentist will take an impression or 3D scan of your teeth. This will be sent to the lab and the trays will be made for you. At the fit appointment some interdental stripping may be needed. This is where a small amount of your enamel will be removed to create space for movement. This is a safe practice and you will not experience any discomfort during this treatment. It’s more of a nails down the chalkboard kind of sensation. Composite attachments will be placed on your teeth if needed. The attachments are made from composite filling material and will grip the aligner’s and help move them into the position needed. Your aligners will then be fitted and your dentist will go over how to look after the aligners and how long to wear each one for.
How long will I wear each aligner for?
You will usually wear each aligner for 7-10 days before changing to the next.
How many appointments will I need during my treatment?
After your initial consultation, exam and fit appointment you will need to come back every 4-6 weeks to have the progress reviewed.
Is this treatment painful?
Not really. When you first change into the aligners your teeth may feel tender. Think pushing on a bruise kind of discomfort. This will last for the first 12 hours. It’s nothing that should have you reaching for the painkillers long term.
Tell me more about the interdental stripping.
Interdental stripping is a way of creating room for movement without extracting any teeth. Your dentist will use a diamond strip or a burr to remove your enamel. This sounds like a big deal but you won’t even notice this has been done. It is usually 0.01 of a mil that is taken away. You won’t experience any long term problems from your dentist doing this. Interdental stripping or IPR is a recognised practice and is within the GDC guidelines of treatment.
Can you guarantee this treatment will work for me?
No, We would love to say yes but we cant. Clear aligners don’t always work. This could be due to various factors. Your teeth may be very crowded and the aligners are not able to move them or you may not wear the aligners enough for the treatment to work.
What’s the difference between Invisalign and a practice offing their own brand of clear aligners?
A brand name. Invisalign and clear aligners work in the same way. Invisalign is a big company in America and clear aligners are usually made by local labs.
The cost will be higher with invisalign because of this factor. That doesn’t mean one is better than the other. It’s down to your personal preference.
How do I decide which practice and method to use?
Have a few appointments, shop around. There is no pressure for you to go with the treatment at the first practice you walk into. Some practices may offer you whitening and hygiene appointments with your treatment, some may charge extra for this. Don’t worry about telling your dentist that you are visiting other practices, we expect and understand why you do this.
How long will the treatment take?
This depends on the movement that is needed. The treatment time can take anywhere from 3 to 24 months.
What can I expect to pay?
Clear aligners can cost anything from £500.00 to £3000.00. It all depends on the movement that is required and therefore how many trays are needed for your treatment.
Will my teeth move back after the treatment?
Yes, if you don’t wear your retainers. Your dentist should provide you with a retainer either fixed or removable. You will need to wear the removable retainers every night for the rest of your life to keep your teeth in the position they are in after treatment. If you lose a retainer you must go back to your dentist and have this remade or you risk your teeth relapsing and having to go through the treatment again. This will be required after any type of orthodontic treatment.