The Truth About Clear Aligners

We’ve seen some amazing advances in orthodontic technology over the last several years, and today’s braces are smaller, more comfortable, and more customizable than ever before. There are still some patients on the fence about them, however. Fortunately, we’re able to offer an alternative to traditional braces for teens and adults who want a more subtle way to straighten their smile! 

Here at Johnson Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer clear aligner therapy for patients who feel this is a better choice for their lifestyle and needs. Clear aligners offer the same beautiful results as braces, but don’t require any brackets, wires, or bands. They also provide patients with a little more freedom and flexibility than traditional braces. 

In the grand scheme of orthodontics, clear aligners are still relatively new, which has led to some misconceptions about how they work, how effective they are, and how much they cost when compared to braces. To learn the truth about clear aligner therapy and how it can transform your smile, keep reading below!

What is clear aligner therapy?

There are a number of clear aligner brands, including ClearCorrect and Invisalign. Although these brands got their start in the last 20 years or so, similar trays had been used previously for post-treatment retainers. The innovative software and technology that was developed meant that orthodontists like Dr. Johnson could move misaligned teeth in stages using customized aligners instead of braces. 

In the beginning, clear aligners were mostly used for treating simple spacing issues or mild crowding. In the beginning, Invisalign was used to treat mainly simple spacing issues or very mild crowding. As more people became aware of the potential for a subtle and effective treatment option, the aligners grew in popularity. The design continued to improve over time, and now clear aligners can be just as effective as braces are at correcting many mild to moderate orthodontic cases.  

Invisalign treatment takes about the same amount of time as braces (and can sometimes take less)

All orthodontic treatment requires some measure of compliance from the patient, but this is even more essential when it comes to clear aligners. Traditional braces are affixed to the surface of the teeth, so much of the hard work is done without the patient having to put too much effort into it. Aligners are completely different! Because they’re a removable appliance, patients are responsible for keeping them in for the recommended 20-22 hours a day throughout the treatment process. Aligners also need to be switched out every 1-2 weeks or so to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. If you’re a clear aligner patient and don’t follow the guidelines Dr. Johnson lays out for you,  it can result in longer treatment times or subpar results.

There’s no “one size fits all” answer for how long a patient will need to be in braces or aligners. Everyone responds to treatment in their own way and each patient will have specific needs. In general, however, the total treatment time for most patients using clear aligners will be anywhere from 6 to 18 months. That’s actually slightly faster than the average time spent in traditional braces!

The Truth About Clear Aligners

Treatment with clear aligners costs about the same as braces

When clear aligners first came on the scene, they were considered to be quite expensive compared to braces. As these systems became more popular and accessible over the years, the cost began to decrease. Although there are always several factors to consider when it comes to the overall cost of orthodontic treatment, today’s clear aligners are generally comparable in cost to braces. 

Johnson Orthodontics is committed to providing our patients with high-quality orthodontic care that’s affordable. We offer flexible appointment scheduling and treatment options, along with flexible payment options. We never want finances to stand in the way of the smile you deserve, and will always work with you to ensure you get the care you need. 

Clear aligners offer patients a more flexible orthodontic journey

Because they are removable, clear aligners come with a bit more freedom than traditional braces. A good example of this is food restrictions, which can be one of the steepest learning curves for braces patients. To protect their orthodontic appliance, 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, but with clear aligners you can continue eating everything you love! You simply take the aligners out 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. Effectively brushing and flossing with braces can take some practice, especially in the beginning, since you have to navigate around the brackets and bands. Clear aligners are removed before you begin your normal routine, allowing you to brush and floss the same way you always have. Caring for the aligners themselves is a simple task, too. There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can gently brush them using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

Since clear aligners can be removed for short periods of time, they’re also an excellent option for special events like games, concerts, prom, or weddings—any occasion where you want your natural smile to shine through!

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

We’re big fans of everything clear aligners have to offer, but they aren’t always a good fit for every patient. In general, aligners tend to work best for teens and adults who have mild to moderate orthodontic issues. That’s because complex or severe cases may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve.

As we mentioned above, clear aligners also require patients to keep up with wearing their aligners as directed and switching them out on a schedule. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to do so, a fixed appliance like braces may be a better option for you!

When you schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Johnson, he’ll be able to determine if clear aligners are a good fit for you, or if you’d be better served by a different treatment method. We only recommend the treatment methods that will work best with your unique smile!

The Truth About Clear Aligners

It’s true—your best smile is waiting for you at Johnson Orthodontics 

It’s easy to see why clear aligner therapy is such a popular choice for patients looking for an alternative to braces! These innovative aligners have changed the way people view orthodontics and we’re proud to offer it to patients in Rehoboth Beach and the surrounding communities. 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. Johnson!