Do clear aligners work? Are braces better than clear aligners?
Yes! The majority of patients can do treatment with clear aligners or braces and get the same great result. There are even some situations where clear aligners work better than braces! Dr. Peterson will always tell you if they recommend the option of clear aligners or braces equally, or if one option is preferred over the other for your teeth. As long as you wear the aligners as instructed, you can expect amazing results!
What are the best clear aligners? Are clear aligners the same as Invisalign™?
The terms “Invisalign ™” and “Clear Aligners” are similar to the terms “Kleenex ™” and “Tissues”. Originally, Invisalign™ was the only clear aligner company. When their patent expired, many clear aligner companies formed. Now, there are dozens of clear aligner companies. We actually use 3 different aligner “brands” in our office: Invisalign™, 3m Clarity Aligners™, and Orchestrate™ Aligners. Dr. Peterson chooses the aligner brand based on our patient’s specific situation. Some of these aligners are made in house with our 3D printer, and some are sent out to be made at a local laboratory.
Regardless of the brand of aligners, the result of aligner treatment is dependent on our patients wearing the aligners as instructed and our doctor’s treatment plan. Think of clear aligners as a “tool” and our doctor as the “artist”. Many people can pick up a paint brush, but the expertise of the artist determines the result. Dr. Peterson has trained extensively on aligners. Dr. Peterson is even a consultant for the 3m™ aligner company, meaning she speaks all over and trains other doctors on how to use the aligners. In her previous practice, over half of her patients chose aligner treatment!
All of our aligners are custom made, BPA-free, clear plastic trays that gradually shift your teeth into an aligned position.
What are the benefits of clear aligners?
Patients who choose clear aligners generally have fewer appointments, and shorter appointment times than our patients in braces. Clear aligners provide more flexibility for appointment intervals. For example, we generally see our clear aligner patients for 10-12 weeks, but if our patient is away at college or going on an extended vacation, sometimes we can give more trays to accommodate this. Clear aligners are more comfortable and are generally considered more esthetic than braces. It is also much easier to brush and floss your teeth with clear aligner treatment over braces. Braces required patients to modify their diets to be careful with sticky or hard foods. With clear aligners, you simply remove the trays, eat your normal diet, rinse with water, and put the trays back in; thus, no food modifications required. Clear aligners are often a preferred option for our patients who play musical instruments or contact sports. Clear aligners can protect your teeth from grinding and can act as a night guard of sorts during treatment. Clear aligner patients can whiten their teeth during treatment. Clear aligner patients do have the option of some digital remote appointments if needed.
How do clear aligners work?
If you choose the clear aligner treatment option for your new smile, you will first have a 3d scan of your teeth taken. This takes approximately 60 seconds using video technology. From here, our doctors and team use this 3d scan to treatment plan and set up your case. In 3-6 weeks, you receive your first set of clear aligner trays. Sometimes we add small temporary attachments to your teeth that aid in specific tooth movements. You usually wear each aligner for one week, 18-22 hours per day, and then switch to the next aligner tray. You are generally given 8-12 trays at a time. The nice thing about wearing each tray for only one week is that you generally don’t have to worry about them getting stained or discolored over time.
Do clear aligners hurt?
Clear aligners are a much more comfortable option compared to braces. The trays are smooth and don’t give you the friction sores you may get from braces initially. The trays can feel tight for up to the first day. We instruct our patients to change to the new tray just before they go to bed, that way the tight feeling is generally gone when you wake up the next day.
Do we charge extra for clear aligners?
Does my insurance pay for clear aligners?
Orthodontic insurance often covers a certain amount of orthodontic treatment regardless of braces or aligners, thus if your orthodontic insurance will pay “$1500” of the treatment, for example, you are free to choose either option.
Can I do aligners if I have missing teeth or an implant?
In general, yes! Dr. Peterson will evaluate each patient’s situation, but we have many patients with missing teeth or implants using clear aligners.
Can I see some before and afters photos of patients with clear aligners?
Absolutely! Click on this link to see our before and afters photo gallery!