Clear Aligners - How do clear aligners work?

May 8, 2024
Clear aligners

Clear aligners are sets of clear, thin, plastic-like trays that are custom-formed to fit your mouth and sequentially applies pressure to move your teeth. Typically, each aligner is worn for 2 weeks at a time, at least 22 hours a day, and moves the teeth a fraction of a millimetre at a time.

Aligners must be removed when you eat or drink and when brushing and flossing. The number of aligners and treatment times needed to correct misaligned teeth varies based on the individual’s orthodontic issues and the movements needed to correct the teeth.

What Do Clear Aligners Treat?

The most common conditions treated by Aligners include:

  • Gapped teeth
  • Cramped or crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Open bite
  • Crooked teeth
  • Crossbite

Clear Aligners VS Wire Braces?

We all know braces as the “old-school” way of straightening your teeth.  Braces or fixed orthodontics are still being used but there is another option to getting your teeth straight that does not involve braces.  Clear Aligners are now being widely used to straighten teeth.

Braces cannot be removed during your treatment whereas aligners can.  Aligners and braces can take the same amount of time to get similar results.

The most important difference is that the Clear Aligners are almost invisible!


Can anyone get Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners are custom-built for a tight fit so they are best for adults and teens. Straightening a child’s teeth is more complicated. Young people, and their mouths, are still growing and developing.

Clear orthodontic aligners are typically used for patients who have mild or moderately crowded teeth, or have minor spacing issues. Patients who have severe crowding or spacing problems, underbites, overbites, or crossbites — may need more complex treatment.


Benefits of Clear Aligners:

1) They are custom fit. 

Aligners are custom made for your teeth.  They are designed to guide your teeth into the correct positions, particularly to straighten your teeth or correct your bite.

2) They are removable.

Although Aligners are removable, inconsistent use can cause relapses as your teeth slowly begin to shift back into their old positions.

3) They are designed for comfort. 

Aligners do not make use of the bracket and wire system used in braces, which can sometimes be uncomfortable during long adjustment periods. With Aligners, you will open a set and wear them until it is time for the next set.

4) Oral hygiene is much simpler. 

Cleaning your teeth can be somewhat challenging with conventional braces. With Clear Aligners, all you have to do is remove your aligners and simply brush, floss, and use mouthwash.

6) There are no food restrictions, unlike traditional braces. 

As opposed to braces, having clear aligners means more freedom in your food choices. You can eat popcorn, candies and other foods without worrying. However, you will need to brush after eating anything sugary, acidic, or starchy.


 Frequently Asked Questions About Clear Aligners


  1. Is there anything that needs to be done before getting Clear Aligners?

Before you get aligners, visit your family dentist for a cleaning and check-up. Any dental work needs to be completed before getting scanned for clear aligners as your aligners will be custom created to the exact shape of your teeth.

  1. Is getting Aligners faster than getting braces?

Not necessarily. Clear aligners are not usually fabricated on site, and delivery from the manufacturer can take 4-6 weeks.


  1. What is the process for getting Clear Aligners?

Scan in office (10-15 minutes)

Production and shipping of the aligners (this step can take up to 6 weeks for some offices)

Delivery of Aligners

Placement of attachments

How-to wear and care instructions (45 minutes -1 hour)


  1. How will my mouth feel after getting clear aligners?

As with anything new, you can expect an adjustment period of about a week as it gets used to your aligners.  Mild discomfort is common for the first few days.


  1. How many appointments are required during clear aligner treatment?

Regular check-ups with your dentist are recommended throughout the treatment process to make sure teeth are moving appropriately and to address any issues that may arise.

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