Cosmetic Dentistry |4 min read

How Do Clear Aligners Work?

Dark-haired, smiling woman holding her clear aligner, demonstrating that it's removable.

Clear aligners are a popular orthodontic treatment that has revolutionized how people think about straightening their teeth. Unlike traditional metal braces, clear aligners allow people to indulge in their favorite foods, not draw unwanted attention to their teeth, and attain a straighter smile.

While there’s a ton of hype about the benefits of Invisalign, before you see our Wichita, KS, dentist, you may have a few questions, such as:

“How do clear aligners work?” and “Do clear aligners work the same as braces?”

We’re here to explain.

Creating your aligners

Rather than wires, brackets, and bands, Invisalign uses clear aligners. These custom-crafted trays fit over your teeth and are worn between 20 and 22 hours each day. They look similar to clear retainers or teeth-bleaching trays.

Our Wichita dentist will customize them to your particular needs to control the shifting of your teeth.

The process begins with a comprehensive evaluation, including X-rays. At this point, we determine if Invisalign is right for you and provide you with an anticipated timeline. Each set of aligners is designed to shift your teeth into their proper position over time gradually. The evaluation results are then sent to the lab and created using 3-D imaging technology.

Once the aligner creation process is complete, we contact you so you may begin the process.

Keep in mind that we may alter the plan throughout your treatment depending on how your teeth respond.

How the treatment process works

After the initial fitting of your new clear aligners, our dentist sends you home with instructions, including proper care and how long to wear them daily.

Depending on our recommendations, you receive several labeled aligners at once and wear each for one to two weeks.

How the clear aligners straighten

Now for the good stuff. Clear aligners work similarly to braces since they use controlled pressure on the teeth. However, braces apply pressure to each tooth individually, while aligners apply it to the whole arch of teeth.

Because of how they work, clear aligners often provide results more rapidly than braces. Braces usually take an average of two years; some patients may need them for up to three years. You may need to wear Invisalign anywhere from six months to a year to see the full results, sometimes longer.

Each tray moves your teeth in a certain direction and only to a certain degree. As you wear the aligners, the pressure gradually causes the teeth to shift into the desired position. Then, you change the tray, and it’ll shift the teeth a bit farther into the desired position until the teeth are aligned.

We schedule return visits throughout your treatment to allow our dentist to evaluate the results. At every visit, you receive another group of aligners to use until the following appointment.

How we maintain results

After you complete your Invisalign treatment, the teeth may return to their original position since periodontal ligaments hold the teeth in place. And this tissue has elasticity, not a hard bone fixed in place.

Once the aligners no longer place pressure, the soft tissue will “remember” its previous position and progressively return to its original positioning.

As a result, we recommend you wear a retainer while you sleep to maintain results. This device holds your teeth in their new position. Over time, you may wear it less and less until you only need it every few nights.

Clear aligners are a highly customizable approach for correcting gaps, misalignments, and other imperfections. One of the primary advantages of clear aligners is their ability to provide effective orthodontic treatment without using metal wires and brackets.

This means that clear aligners are much more comfortable to wear than traditional braces and don’t cause the irritation and discomfort that metal braces can cause. Clear aligners are also removable, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene and enjoy your favorite foods without dietary restrictions.

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Farmer & Williamson is located on West Village Circle in Wichita, KS. In addition to Wichita, we excitedly welcome patients from the surrounding areas, such as Newton, El Dorado, Andover, Derby, Haysville, Winfield, Newton, and Hutchinson.

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