Understanding Clear Aligners: How They Straighten Teeth

Understanding Clear Aligners: How They Straighten Teeth

A close-up of a patient holding a clear aligner tray

When it comes to making a first impression, your smile is important. Many are turning to clear aligners to straighten teeth and give them the smile they want.

In fact, according to a study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 48% of respondents said a person’t smile is their most memorable feature after an initial encounter.

If you are not happy with the appearance of your smile, there’s good news.

Clear aligners are a popular orthodontic treatment option that straighten teeth using clear, removable plastic trays.

Unlike traditional metal braces that use wires and brackets to move teeth into the desired position, clear aligners offer a great alternative for convenience and flexibility.

Virtually invisible when worn, this alternative has made them a popular choice for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth without the noticeable appearance of braces.

How clear aligners straighten teeth

The flexible, tight-fitting aligners apply gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position over time.

Each set of trays are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth and are worn for 20-22 hours daily.

The patient will receive a series of aligners, with each set of aligners representing a different stage in the teeth-straightening process.

The teeth gradually shift into the desired position as the patient progresses through each set.

Clear aligners are typically made of a firm but flexible plastic material, which allows them to apply the necessary force to the teeth without causing discomfort.

They are also designed to be easily removable so patients can eat, brush, and floss their tnormallyormal.

How to look after your clear aligners

In order for your aligners to work correctly and produce the desired result, you will need to take care of them.

Rinse your trays whenever you take them out

This helps keep them wet to prevent plaque and saliva from drying on the trays, which can cause them to become stained and discolored.

NEVER brush your aligners with toothpaste

Using toothpaste can scratch the resin of your clear aligners, causing discoloration. Use a clear, liquid antibacterial soap with a separate soft toothbrush and rinse thoroughly.

Brush your trays whenever you brush and floss

Brushing your aligners (without toothpaste) when you brush your teeth in the morning and before bed helps prevent bacteria and plaque buildup. Removing any leftover food particles also keeps your aligners looking new.

Soak your aligners once a day

Soak for about 30 minudaily day (this could be while eating), and rinse them well before putting them back in your mouth!

Brush and floss after each meal

Besides your morning and bedtime brushing routine, you should also brush and floss each time you eat.

This should remove any food partituck between your teeth and the aligner, preventing bacteria buildup.

Don’t eat or drink with your clear aligners in your mouth

Water is the only thing you should consume while wearing your aligners. Clear aligners aren’t made for chewing and could crack under pressure.

Cleaners to avoid

Some cleanersmply too strong to use on your aligners.
Examples of these include:

  • Denture cleaners
  • Mouthwashes
  • Scented soaps
  • Toothpaste

Final reminders

It may take some getting used to wearing the aligners and creating a routine around eating and their general care will be helpful. Below are tips that should make the process easier.

  • Remove your aligner trays before you eat, as food could damage the trays.
  • Anything other than water may not harm your tray or teeth but could stain them.
  • Think twice before you snack. You will need to brush your teeth again regardless of how recently you brushed.
  • Be prepared to brush more frequently.
  • Some people find it convenient to keep a travel brush with them.
  • Try to soak your trays for around 30 minutes each day.
  • Try to stick to the allotted minimum of 20 hours.

Our office can answer any question including what foods to avoid.

Call us today to Meet with our talented board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Fodero!

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Chatham Orthodontics is proud to serve patients of Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas, including Madison, Florham Park, Summit, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Livingston, Short Hills, Millburn, Maplewood, and Morristown.

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Please call or text the office at (973) 701-2200 to schedule your appointment. If it is after hours and there is a dental emergency please text (973) 701-2200 and someone will get with you shortly.