Posts for tag: clear aligners

By Harshman Orthodontics
July 17, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: clear aligners   invisalign  
AClearAlternativetoBracesforTeens

It used to be that the only option for straightening a teenager's teeth involved lots of shiny hardware. Besides the esthetic downside, traditional orthodontic devices (braces) can interfere with the enjoyment of certain favorite foods, irritate the inside of the mouth, trap food particles (potentially another esthetic embarrassment and sustenance for cavity-causing bacteria), and complicate dental hygiene routines.

These aren't causes for concern with clear orthodontic aligners, however, which consist of a series of transparent plastic, removable trays that fit over the teeth and gradually move them into better positioning. About every two weeks, the teen proceeds to the next aligner in the progression (or set of aligners if treatment involves both the upper and lower teeth) until the improved alignment goal is reached. The trays are meant to be worn 22 hours a day, but they can be removed for eating, brushing and flossing, and, on a limited basis, special occasions.

Thanks to relatively recent developments in the design of clear aligner systems, teens who previously were not considered good candidates for this modality may now have this option available to them. This includes:

  • Teens whose second molars (the last to come in except for wisdom teeth) haven't fully emerged. Aligners now come with “eruption tabs” that serve as place-holders for teeth that are still growing into position.
  • Teens with severely rotated teeth requiring complicated movement. Tooth-colored attachments called “buttons” can be temporarily bonded onto teeth to provide additional leverage, and elastics (rubber bands) can also be used to promote movement.

Compliance is always a concern with any orthodontic treatment — whether it be gum chewing with traditional braces or wearing clear aligners for the requisite period of time each day. Aligners now come with built-in colored “compliance indicators” that fade with use over time. This makes it possible for orthodontists, dentists, parents and teens alike to monitor both compliance and treatment progress.

If you would like more information about clear orthodontic aligners please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners for Teens.”

By Harshman Orthodontics
May 23, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
5ReasonstoConsiderClearOrthodonticAligners

You've probably heard of the relatively new method of straightening teeth with thin, plastic orthodontic appliances (“ortho” – to straighten; “odont” – teeth) known as clear aligners. Here are some reasons you might want to consider them for your orthodontic treatment:

  1. Appearance. Looks aren't everything, as the saying goes. But it may be that metal-covered teeth will not give you a look you want to sport for perhaps a year or more. Adults in particular find that metal braces don't always fit in with their self-image. Because clear aligners are virtually invisible, your teeth will look as they always do and it will not be obvious that you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
  2. Control. When you have traditional braces, you cannot take them out of your mouth yourself. They must be professionally removed when your treatment is completed. With clear aligners, however, you can take them out to eat and also for important social occasions. Of course, that means you are also responsible for wearing them as often as needed — a minimum of 22 hours a day. It's a good bargain if you can live up to it, and most find that they can.
  3. Hygiene. One of the challenges of traditional braces is to learn to clean around them so that your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout treatment. It's not always so easy to do. With clear aligners, you can maintain your usual oral hygiene routine — and also clean the aligners themselves.
  4. Comfort. Sometimes the rigid brackets and wires of traditional braces can press into sensitive tissues of the mouth. It's something that you will eventually get used to, but it can be uncomfortable temporarily. The material of clear aligners is flexible, so this type of irritation is not an issue.
  5. Versatility. In recent years, the clear alignment system has been improved to handle more serious malocclusions (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite). Enhancements have also been made to accommodate additional growth of molar teeth in the case of teenagers.

While there are some cases in which traditional braces are still the best option, clear aligners have more applications than ever before. They also have some clear advantages that are worth considering.

If you would like more information about clear aligners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about clear aligners in general by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners For Teenagers.”