Clear aligner treatment may be the perfect solution if you look for a better way to straighten your teeth than metal braces. At Trail West Family Dentistry in Greenville, SC, we want you to know what clear aligners are, how they work, and why many prefer them to be traditional or clear braces.

What Are Clear Aligners? 

As a type of orthodontic treatment, clear aligners are a series of plastic trays that cover your teeth in place of traditional metal braces. Patients change to the next tray every 1-2 weeks to gradually straighten their teeth. 

What Does an Orthodontist Do? 

Orthodontists are specialized dentists that treat alignment problems of the teeth and jaws. They differ from other dentists because they solely focus on this area rather than handling cleaning, oral health concerns, or other cosmetic dental treatments. 

What Problems Can Clear Aligners Help Fix?

Clear plastic aligners can fix many of the same problems as traditional braces, making them a welcome alternative for anyone interested in improving their smile without the less desirable appearance of permanent metal braces. Some of the most common issues these aligners can be an ideal solution for include: 

  • Crossbite and underbite (lower jaw extends further out than upper jaw)
  • Crowded teeth 
  • Gaps between teeth 
  • Overbite (upper teeth protrude further than they should) 
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth do not come together) 

What Services Does an Orthodontist Typically Provide? 

Orthodontists provide a variety of services that are primarily concerned with the alignment of your teeth. They are generally best known for applying and adjusting braces and clear aligners. Still, their work also involves managing several accessories and related treatment options that can be associated with these services. Some of the most common services orthodontists provide include: 

  • Braces: Small metal or porcelain aligners that are attached to each tooth.
  • Retainers: Removable or permanent devices that keep your teeth in place once you finish using your clear aligners or remove your braces. 
  • Clear Aligners: Removable plastic trays that cover the teeth and appear nearly like invisible braces.
  • Elastics: Small rubber bands that attach to your braces to improve your bite. 
  • Archwires: Wires that move your teeth or hold them in place.

What Are the Differences Between Clear Aligners and Braces? 

Different Materials: Aligners are made from clear materials, usually plastic, that covers your teeth, while braces are made from metal or porcelain brackets attached to your teeth and connected with wires.

  • Time to See Results: Although the exact length of your treatment is customized to fit your specific teeth and can vary significantly, clear aligners often produce results significantly faster than traditional braces. Many patients wear clear aligners for approximately one year, while an average of 18-24 months are needed to see similar results from braces.
  • Mobility: Clear aligners can be removed while eating, brushing teeth, and participating in certain activities. Most people consider this an advantage over nonremovable traditional braces. Still, it is important to be sure that you are committed to wearing them for the minimum number of hours each day to keep your treatment on schedule.
  • Comfort: Many people find that clear aligners are more comfortable overall than braces. Although they can cause a similar level of soreness as your teeth move, especially shortly after changing aligners, their smooth material means that you will not experience the painful gums, lips, and cheeks that broken metal wire in your mouth can cause.
  • Cost: The cost of clear aligner options is often similar to braces, although it can be somewhat higher in some circumstances.

Why Are Clear Aligners a Better Choice Than Other Orthodontic Options? 

Although every patient is unique, many individuals find that the more subtle appearance, increased comfort, and shorter treatment time of clear aligners makes them a better choice than other options. 

Choose Trail West Family Dentistry for Quality Clear Aligners

At Trail West Family Dentistry, we understand choosing the right orthodontic treatment options for yourself and your family can be challenging. We make it our mission to find the type of treatment for clear aligner systems to help improve your dental hygiene. Our caring and knowledgeable team is here to help patients in Greenville, SC, make good decisions for the best results. Contact us today to learn more about our clear aligners or to schedule a consultation!