Misaligned teeth are more than a cosmetic issue. Having straight teeth can also ward off a wide range of problems. Straight teeth are easier to clean and therefore less prone to tooth decay and gum disease. Misaligned teeth can also contribute to chronic earaches, headaches, and difficulties with chewing and speech. In the long term, crooked teeth are also more likely to crack or break.
How Clear Aligners Can Help Your Teeth
Clear aligners are a type of orthodontic device that corrects crooked or misaligned teeth. Similar to traditional metal braces, clear aligners are a series of tight-fitting, custom-made dental appliances that form to shape the patient’s mouth.
Today, many people favor clear aligners over metal braces as they are “transparent,” allowing patients of all ages to straighten teeth without the inconvenience of metal brackets. Clear aligners also have the advantage of being removable, allowing patients to remove them to eat and brush their teeth.
Conditions Braces Can Treat and Fix
Your dentist can use clear aligners to treat a wide range of dental conditions, such as the following:
- Overcrowding – It is common to have overcrowded or unevenly spaced teeth. If not corrected in childhood, spacing issues can carry into adulthood. Overcrowding can be corrected with clear aligners. They use gentle pressure to move the teeth into an aligned position.
- Misaligned Jaw – A misaligned jaw can cause an uneven bite, often resulting in pain or discomfort in the jaw. Over time, jaw misalignment can contribute to temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, causing symptoms like facial pain.
- Overbites/Underbites – Both overbites and underbites are common malocclusion problems that clear aligners can correct. An overbite is a mild to severe extension of the upper jaw over the lower jaw. An underbite involves the lower jaw extending more forward than the upper jaw.
- Open Bites – A rare type of malocclusion, known as an open bite. This type of misalignment occurs when the front teeth on the upper and lower jaw slant outwards and don’t touch when the mouth Is closed. Clear aligners can be effective in treating minor cases of anterior open bites.
- Diastema – Diastema is a dental condition in which a person has a gap or space between two or more teeth. The most common type of diastema is midline diastema which appears as a gap between the two front teeth. Clear aligners can be useful in correcting diastema and other forms of misalignment.
Clear Aligner Treatment Process
The clear aligner treatment process begins with a visit to your family dentistry office. During a consultation, your dentist will examine your teeth and develop a custom treatment plan. The dentist will make impressions of your teeth and use digital models to have custom aligners made.
Patients will need to change out clear aligner trays approximately every one to three weeks. The aligners must be worn between 20 and 22 hours per day for effective teeth straightening. A series of aligners are used because each aligner is only capable of shifting the teeth approximately 1mm or less.
With each set of aligners, the teeth will slowly move into the correct position. Treatment can take anywhere from 3 to 24 months. Once the treatment is complete, your dentist will provide you with a custom clear retainer made from a mold of your newly straightened teeth. This retainer should be worn every night while you are sleeping.
Schedule a Dental Consultation Today
Traditional braces can be highly effective but may not be ideal for adults and some children. Many patients prefer the discrete look of clear aligners that allow patients to correct and straighten their smile without anyone knowing that they’re receiving treatment. Clear aligners are often more comfortable than traditional braces and are relatively easy to maintain.
Interested in learning whether you may be a good candidate for dental clear aligners?
Herbert Family Dentistry is an affordable dentist in Lafayette, LA offering a wide range of services, including Clear Correct aligners. For more information or to schedule an appointment, click here or call us at 337-233-1271.