It used to be that the only option to fix your crooked smile was to wear those bulky metal braces on your teeth for a couple of years, but those days are long gone. Today there are aligners that perform the same job as metal braces but they are less conspicuous, easier to maintain and require less visits to the dentist than braces did.
With any dental aligner program you first get your teeth evaluated by a professional to see if your smile can be realigned at all or if metal braces would be the best solution.
If you do qualify for teeth aligners, a 3D model of your teeth gets made so custom aligners can be fitted just for you. Then you get your full set of aligners, each clearly marked and slightly different, and you can start wearing the first one right away! Remember that you must wear the aligner at least 21 hours a day so your teeth can adjust to their new position (your teeth will move by about 0.3mm with each aligner.)
Depending on the program you choose, you just wear a new aligner every week or two and at the end of the treatment your smile will be perfect! Once the process is complete you might need to use a temporary retainer to keep your teeth in their new positions. These retainers don’t move your teeth anymore, they just hold them in place.
Aligners and metal braces do the exact same job, they both move your teeth a little bit each couple of weeks until your smile is straight. But this is where the similarities end. Aligners are clear and therefore barely noticeable while traditional braces use tiny wires and brackets. With metal braces you have to periodically go into the orthodontist’s clinic to get them adjusted, with clear aligners your teeth are adjusted every time you wear a new aligner.
Clear aligners are easy to remove and to put back on your teeth. There is no need for any extra springs or rubber bands and they come pre-molded so you are always ready to go, without the need to go to the orthodontist every single time.
The aligner itself should be cleaned at least once a day, either by brushing it gently or by using one of the many options available for this purpose. Remember that clear aligners only work when used as directed, that means that you should be wearing your aligner for 20-22 hours every day. Basically you will not be wearing the retainer only when you eat or drink (anything other than water.) The advantage is that you can brush and floss your teeth before putting the aligner back on, ensuring that your smile is not only straight but clean, healthy and beautiful. Some people say that this is the hardest part of wearing aligners but with the proper tools this shouldn’t be an issue.
Make sure you always carry a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash with you, or better yet grab a 48-Pack of our disposable mini-toothbrushes with floss so you always have a complete dental kit wherever, whenever.
The most popular clear aligner brands are: Candid Co, Byte, Invisalign, Smile Love, Smile Direct Club, and SnapCorrect. Invisalign being by far the most well known because of celebrity endorsement. They all offer similar products but their price varies a little so be sure to shop around to get the best deal.
With this information you are ready to take the first steps towards a straight, healthy, beautiful smile.