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Dental Aligners: The Invisible Way to Improve Your Smile

You've just finished your annual dental check-up and are feeling pretty good about things. There are no cavities that need to be treated and the hygienist just removed some rather dark coffee stains from your teeth by means of a thorough cleaning and whitening treatment. Yet, as you look over your teeth in the small mirror the dentist just handed you, there's still a nagging feeling of doubt; that all is NOT as perfect as it could be. Some of the teeth you're staring at are slightly crooked in places and somewhat crowded together. They have been ever since you can remember. As though your dentist can read your mind, she gently takes the mirror from you and says: "Have you ever thought about getting braces? Even though you are in your late twenties, it's never too late to look into straightening those teeth."

Ouch! Those words, albeit well-meaning, have been known to strike fear and dread into the hearts of even the most dedicated patient. Let's be real. The word "braces" conjures up all sorts of unsightly, decidedly not cool images of a mouthful of metal brackets and wires going to and fro. Not to mention the discomfort that has usually been associated with wearing braces. Well, here's some really great news if you've been tossing around the idea of getting braces. As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to reassure America: "The only thing that we have to fear is fear itself." It's a brand new day as far as rocking braces are concerned. They've come a long, long way from the very visible collection of metal that mom and dad had to wear when they were kids. Today's welcome alternative to old-school braces involves wearing a series of clear, almost transparent, specially customized dental appliances called ALIGNERS or INVISIBLE BRACES. And that's not simply a marketing catchphrase. Aligners are quite hard to detect in a person's mouth. 

Far too many of us have the misconception that braces are just for children or teenagers. Not true at all! Nowadays, more and more adults are opting to wear braces for both personal and professional reasons; regardless of age. Hey, we all want to have a smile that everyone will admire. But wearing braces can benefit one's oral health, as well. Braces can help to correct a bad overbite, jaw and joint disorders and even assist the patient in their emotional health. After all, once those crooked teeth have been corrected, a new sense of self-confidence quickly blooms. Invisible braces are NOT for everyone, especially children. Straightening a child's teeth can be a bit complicated. It also depends on how severe your issues are regarding spacing between teeth, overbite, etc. The best thing to do is consult your dentist and make an informed choice.

With aligners, you can say goodbye to the brackets, metal and wires and say a warm and huggy HELLO to the new way to wear braces. Aligners are made from either a clear plastic or acrylic material. They are tight-fitting but are still comfortable. Best of all, the materials involved won't irritate your gums, which cannot be said for old-school braces. You will receive a new aligner every few weeks so that your teeth can be adjusted and continue to move into the desired position; one that will give you a totally NEW look. Invisible braces are customized, based on a 3D scan of your mouth. The end result will be a digital copy of your teeth. That is what the dentist or orthodontist will use in crafting the succession of aligners that you will wear. 

 There are TWO TYPES of aligners. The traditional CLEAR variety has to be worn for around twenty hours per day while the NIGHT-ONLY aligners come in at only ten hours daily. Be advised, however, that the drawback here is that wearing the aligners just overnight may NOT be enough time to generate the needed prolonged pressure to work at shifting your teeth. So, be prepared for weeks, if not months, to be added to your aligner timeline. One of the HUGE benefits of clear aligners is that you CAN remove them any time of the day or night in order to eat, brush and floss. Thank goodness; no more disgusting bits of food peeking out from behind those wires and brackets. Resilient and highly efficient, clear aligners do their work discreetly, without impacting your daily routine or letting the entire world know what's going on. INVISALIGN is considered the absolute gold standard when it comes to invisible aligners. They've been at this for a long time now and offer both in-office and at-home treatment plans. The Clear Correct brand also offers dual options. However, most of the other aligner brands like Byte or Smile Direct Club offer the ultimate convenience of doing the process completed in the comfort of your house or apartment. Be assured, though, that your aligners are crafted by professionals and the company's in-house team of dentists/orthodontists will oversee everything.

It's up to you! Do some thinking and talk with a trusted dental professional before making any hard and fast decision. Remember, your goal is achieving that photogenic FOREVER SMILE. So invest some time in researching the companies and see what the BEST fit is for you.

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