For individuals who are needing orthodontic work, you may have heard of the concept of clear aligners, and that clear aligner treatment is safe for adults (Rossini G et al., 2015). Not every single orthodontic procedure requires affixed braces or years of orthodontic therapy. Instead, sometimes the changes that are needed can be quite small. This article is for you if you do not understand the differences between aligners, retainers, and braces.
Braces, as you may know, come in many types. While there are some versions of clear braces, the more common ones mount to the teeth. Braces are designed to help effectuate significant changes in the way your teeth are positioned. Braces are great for big changes in your smile and can help shift teeth over the course of months or years.
Then there are retainers. Retainers are perfect once the teeth have been moved into the correct position to retain them in those positions. Retainers are great for keeping teeth from moving. Their job is to make sure that your teeth stay in place while the bone matrix hardens and sets so that the teeth no longer shift. So what then do aligners do?
Firstly, before we begin, it is good to note that there is some evidence to show that periodontal health improves and the quantity and quality of plaque is better with clear aligner treatment (Rossini G et al., 2015).
Aligners for teeth, also known as dental aligners, are clear aligners for teeth and are designed to help make incremental changes to your teeth over time. So instead of being quite as drastic as braces that can make large changes, dental aligners are designed to help make smaller changes over a period of time. This could be great for individuals who do not require anything particularly invasive and instead would rather have their orthodontic treatment be as non-invasive as possible, even if it takes a while to finish.
One thing you will notice when using them is that clear teeth aligners will not always seem to fit your teeth perfectly. This is on purpose of course since their intention is to help move the teeth slowly into the correct positions. So don’t be surprised if it feels like a tight fit as that is part of the point of wearing your aligner. In fact, when they start to feel loose, it’s time for the next set.
Best Clear Aligners
The best clear teeth aligners will be those that meet your specific needs. All orthodontic medicine is fairly individualistic. The cost you can expect, the price for your treatments, the length of time, and your particular needs will all vary and is one of the reasons why it’s important to talk with the orthodontic office about your particular needs.
Talking with a highly rated professional orthodontic office can help make sure that you get the best treatment available at the price that you need. However, there are some variations even in this industry. A ballpark figure or rough estimate when it comes to the cost of clear aligners will usually be between somewhere of $3,500 to $8,000. Of course your individual needs may vary significantly and you might either be more or less.
However, there are many benefits to clear aligners such as the ability to remove them which can be useful for individuals who want to be able to brush, floss, and eat without feeling impaired by having to wear other more cumbersome orthodontics to still get the same results.
Aligner for teeth differences
There are a couple of major differences between the types of different aligners and although there are many companies that offer them, they basically break down into two major categories – the affordable but not as effective and the highly effective but more costly. Obviously it will vary significantly depending on the individual but generally speaking, the cheaper the orthodontic apparatus, the less likely it will be to be as durable as the more expensive ones.
The reason expensive ones can command that expensive price is often because of better materials that make them stronger so there’s less chance of them breaking. They are used more often by orthodontic clinics because of their proven track record of success and helping to properly align teeth.
The less expensive, mail order ones of course are more attractive because they are cheaper. However, the cheaper aligners oftentimes come with the drawbacks of being made of inferior materials which are either not as effective that help to align the teeth or are less comfortable and/or break easier. When it comes to orthodontics, the last thing you want is to buy cheap and get what you paid for.
Caring for dental aligners
Caring for your aligner is also important. One of the things that can significantly increase the cost of your aligner treatment is simply not caring for your aligner properly. Because clear plastic aligners can be taken out of the mouth, individuals who are less responsible tend to put them in a pocket instead of in their carrying case which can often lead to them becoming warped or bent.
If your aligner becomes bent out of shape, it will either be less effective or not effective at all at helping to treat your orthodontic needs.
Another big issue that can happen for people is to simply lose it. Putting it in a spare jacket or a different pair of pants or laying it down on table and forgetting to pick it up are all very common things that can happen to individuals, especially during the early stages of wearing aligners when you are not yet familiar or have it as part of your routine. Losing it, of course, can significantly increase the costs as getting replacements are oftentimes expensive and may or may not be covered by your dental insurance.
This is why it’s important to make sure that you take special effort to wear them as often as you can and always keep them in a place where you will remember to take them with you. This is especially true because these aligners are removed when it comes time for eating, brushing, and flossing, and so people oftentimes will take them out at the table and simply walk away and forget.
However, keep your aligners with you, ensure that you clean appropriately with warm water, and brush them clean with a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste. According to research, cleaning your aligners with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste is an effective way of getting rid of the bacteria on your aligners (Levrini L et al., 2016). Furthermore, this method can help make sure that not only will your aligners stay in good shape and ultimately save you money, but that they can continue to fulfill their function of helping to align your teeth and give you the smile of your dreams.
Gabriele Rossini, Andrea Deregibus, Cesare L. Debernard, & Tommaso Castroflorio. (2014). Periodontal health during clear aligners treatment: A systematic review. European Journal of Orthodontics, 539–543. https://doi.org/doi:10.1093/ejo/cju083
Levrini, L., Mangano, A., Margherini, S., Tenconi, C., Vigetti, D., Muollo, R., & Marco Abbate, G. (2016). ATP Bioluminometers Analysis on the Surfaces of Removable Orthodontic Aligners after the Use of Different Cleaning Methods. International journal of dentistry, 2016, 5926941. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/5926941