Over the past decade, invisible aligners have gained popularity as orthodontic tools. They help people achieve straight, gap-free smiles without braces. While they are a popular option for many patients, they aren’t always the best choice for every dental scenario.
Invisible aligners are an alternative to traditional braces and orthodontics. They can help straighten teeth without visible hardware in the mouth. Clear trays slowly shift the position of your teeth over time. They are custom-molded for your teeth and swapped out every two weeks for another tray that shifts the teeth a little further. Over the course of many trays, teeth shift into the desired position. The trays are worn at all times except when eating.
Who Should Use Invisible Aligners?
Patients who desire small to moderate changes in their teeth are good candidates for invisible aligners. They are very popular for adults who had braces as teenagers and have had some shifting. The aligners can provide a straightening touch up without braces.
Patients with severe crowding or bite issues are often better off with traditional braces or orthodontics. While invisible liners can offer an excellent option for straightening teeth or closing gaps, they don’t have the ability to perform large adjustments or fine-tune as well as classic orthodontics can. Young patients and teenagers are often going to be better off with traditional braces that can be adjusted as they grow.
Risks of Invisible Aligners
There are no real risks to clear aligners, just limitations in what can be accomplished. The reality is that invisible aligners are not capable of correcting the full range of orthodontic issues that traditional braces can address. Your dentist can help you determine if you’ll be able to achieve the straightening you desire with invisible aligners.
Orthodontist vs. At-Home Kits
As invisible aligners have become more mainstream, several brands of at-home kits have popped up. They allow people to take their own tooth impressions and send away for a series of clear trays without ever seeing their dentist or orthodontist. This may sound appealing. However, patients are less likely to get their desired results and more likely to encounter problems with these kits.
For many kits, there’s never a dentist or orthodontist involved. Individuals with issues ill-suited for invisible liners may have unrealistic expectations about what can they can achieve when they don’t receive input from a dentist or orthodontist. Additionally, self-done impressions are at a high risk for mistakes that could impact how trays are designed and diminish results. Since there’s no ongoing follow up, if a tooth doesn’t move as expected then there’s little option for course-correcting in the next set of trays. Finally, it is common both with traditional orthodontics and invisible aligners for patients to require mild bite adjustment as teeth move into their new positions. These adjustments are not possible with at-home kits.
Monitoring by a professional helps to ensure that patients accomplish their dental goals in a safe and timely manner. While invisible liners are a great option for many patients, it is important to consult with your dentist or orthodontist to understand if they are the right option for you. With the guidance of a skilled professional, you can choose the best technology to help you achieve the smile of your dreams.
Consult Your Dentist About Invisible Aligners
Hidden Valley Dentistry is committed to providing excellent dental care to the Roanoke, VA area. Dr. James and Dr. Deyerle have over 50 years of combined dental experience, and our practice has been well-respected throughout the community for decades. Each member of our kind and welcoming staff strives to continue making our community smile even brighter! Schedule a dental appointment with us, and we’ll bring your smile to life.