If you’re looking to straighten or realign your teeth, you may be considering two options: braces and clear aligners.
Most of us have a basic knowledge of how braces look and work. So let’s take a moment and learn more about clear aligners, which are becoming an increasingly popular option.
Invisalign is probably the best known and oldest clear aligner brand. It was introduced in 1998 by Align Technology. Today, there are more companies offering clear aligners such as ClearCorrect, uLab, or Spark to name a few.
Invisalign is a type of a thin clear aligner made from SmartTrack, a flexible thermoplastic material. It’s widely used in orthodontic treatments to make them look less noticeable. After all, clear, tight-fitting teeth coverings are harder to spot than wires and brackets of braces.
There are several issues Invisalign can help with:
If you think clear aligners might be right for you, start by visiting an orthodontist. They will create a three-dimensional image of your jaw and mouth, and devise a plan for realigning your teeth. Once that plan is ready, a series of customized plastic aligners will be created. Wearing them will put pressure on your teeth, slowly moving them into their proper places.
Clear aligners need to be switched out every one to two weeks, or per your orthodontist’s instructions. Usually, they need to be worn for up to 22 hours a day for maximum effectiveness. They can be removed when you’re eating or drinking, brushing or flossing your teeth, or cleaning your aligners.
Something to keep in mind – do not clean your aligners in very hot water. It can damage the plastic, which would in turn lead to altering the fit of your aligners. Ill-fitted aligners do not work properly and thus affect progress.
Another aspect to think about is the complexity of your orthodontic issues. The more problems you’re trying to fix, or the more complex your issues are, the longer your treatment may be.
According to studies, Invisalign is more effective for people ages 35-50 as the rate of teeth movement increases slightly in that age group. In addition, men between the ages of 50 – 70 experience a greater decline in tooth movement than women.
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As with all treatment options, using Invisalign comes with some pros and cons.
The cost of Invisalign is similar to the cost of traditional braces. It can range anywhere from $3,000 – $5,000. Factors affecting the total cost are:
How can you pay for Invisalign? Some insurance plans cover the total or partial cost of Invisalign. Make sure to check with your provider. In addition, if you have an FSA (Flexible Spending Account), you may be able to use it for part of your treatment. If you do not have insurance, many dentists and orthodontists can offer a payment plan. But make sure to inquire about it before the treatment begins.
To help you decide between braces and clear aligners, try answering these questions:
If you’re looking to straighten or realign your teeth, reach out to Great Lakes Dental Excellence today. Our dentist will gladly perform an exam and discuss the best options for you. You’re simply a phone call away from improving your smile.