Everything You Need To Know About Clear Aligners

Over the years, we’ve seen orthodontics come along in leaps and bounds. Advancements in technique and technological innovation have given patients more options than ever before for achieving a straighter smile! That means we can offer the latest in orthodontic treatment, including clear aligner therapy. Here at Coleman Orthodontics, we use a variety of clear aligner systems, including Invisalign. These allow us to achieve the same beautiful results as traditional braces but without any brackets, wires, and bands. If you’ve been thinking about improving your smile with orthodontics but aren’t sure if braces are for you, clear aligners could be just what you’re looking for! 

Since traditional braces have been around for centuries in one form or another, clear aligners are still a relatively “new” option In the world of orthodontics. They’ve been used for a couple of decades at this point, but there are plenty of misconceptions out there about how they work and how effective they are. When you’re knowledgeable about the treatment options available to you, it often leads to a better orthodontic experience overall. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in clear aligner therapy! Keep reading below to learn more about this exciting treatment option. 

What is clear aligner therapy?

Clear aligners have been straightening smiles for just over twenty years now, but similar trays have been used for decades as post-treatment retainers. We knew how effective they were at keeping teeth in place once a patient’s braces came off, and now we know they’re equally effective at moving teeth in the first place! Using cutting-edge software and technology, we’re able to shift misaligned teeth with a series of customized clear aligners. 

These clear aligners are made of a special thermoplastic material and custom-designed to fit snugly over your own teeth. Because there are no brackets or wires, this fit is often seamless and quite comfortable! Although they look very different from braces, aligners use the same gentle pressure to gradually move the teeth where we want them to go. In their early days, clear aligners were mostly used to treat mild crowding or simple spacing issues. The technology has continued to improve since then, and today’s aligners can correct many common orthodontic issues just as successfully as braces.

Everything You Need To Know About Clear Aligners

Clear aligners work as fast as braces do (and sometimes faster)

Clear aligners are a removable orthodontic appliance. Unlike braces, which are a fixed appliance, no part of the aligner is attached to the actual surface of the tooth. That means patient compliance is a must! 

The aligners must be worn for the recommended 22 hours per day in order to be effective. Each aligner will also need to be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. Failure to do so means patients may not get the results they desire. It can also lead to longer treatment times. 

How long does treatment take with clear aligners? That’s a tricky question! Every smile is unique and each patient responds to treatment in their own way, so there’s no concrete answer for how long any one patient will need to wear clear aligners. In general, however, the total treatment time for clear aligners will tend to be anywhere from 9-15 months. That’s actually slightly faster than the average time patients spend in braces!

Clear aligners are comparable in cost to braces

Like most new technology, clear aligners were fairly expensive when they first came on the orthodontic scene. As they became more popular over the years, they also became more accessible, eventually lowering the cost to a more reasonable level. These days, clear aligners tend to cost just about as much as braces do. Be aware, however, that multiple factors go into determining the cost of any treatment plan, including the patient’s specific needs, the materials being used, and the estimated length of treatment. 

Here at Coleman Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing Syracuse families with exceptional service at an affordable price. We offer flexible payment plans, automatic bank drafts, and accept payments via ACH, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. To keep orthodontic fees down while maintaining the highest level of professional care, we’ve established the following financial policy:

  • If full payment is made at the onset of treatment, we offer a fee discount.
  • If you have insurance, we will offer a discount for payment of your portion of the fee that will not be covered by insurance.
  • To fit your individual needs, financial arrangements can be made to extend your payments over a period of months.

If you provide your insurance information to us by text or email, we can contact your insurance company to predetermine your orthodontic benefits before your consultation. For your convenience, our team is also happy to file your insurance claims and other paperwork for you.

Clear aligners offer freedom and flexibility

Thanks to their removable design, clear aligners come with a bit more flexibility than traditional braces. A good example of this is food restrictions, which can be one of the biggest learning curves for braces patients. To protect the brackets and wires, they need to avoid any crunchy or chewy foods throughout treatment. It can be frustrating to miss out on some of your favorite snacks and foods, even though it’s temporary (and for a very good cause!) With clear aligners, you can continue eating everything you love. You simply remove the aligners any time you want to eat, then put them back in again when you’re done.

Removable aligners also make it easier to keep your teeth and gums clean throughout the treatment process. Carefully cleaning around the brackets and wires that come with braces can be time-consuming, especially in the beginning. Clear aligners are taken out before you begin your normal dental hygiene routine, allowing you to brush and floss the same way you always have. Caring for the aligners themselves is pretty simple, too! There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can gently brush them using water and a soft toothbrush.

Clear aligners are an excellent option for many patients (but not everybody)

There’s obviously a lot to love about clear aligners, but they aren’t always a good fit for every patient. When cases are particularly complex or severe, they may 

require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve.

Patients also need to be responsible enough to keep up with wearing the aligners.  

You also have to be capable of keeping up with wearing the aligners as directed and switching them out on a regular schedule. If you’re not sure you can handle that, a fixed appliance like braces may be a better option for you! 

When you schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Coleman, he’ll assess your smile and determine if clear aligners are a good fit for you. You can trust that our practice will only recommend the treatment method that will work best for your specific needs.

Everything You Need To Know About Clear Aligners

Clear aligners from Coleman Orthodontics give you a confident smile

Dr. Coleman is a Certified Preferred Invisalign® Provider and has many years of experience using clear aligners to create beautiful smiles! If you’d like to learn more about how clear aligners can transform your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE virtual consultation with Dr. Coleman. Our expert team looks forward to seeing you smile!