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Invisalign and Clear Aligners

The Clear Alternative to Traditional Braces

Invisalign®, Invisalign Teen and other clear aligners offer a different treatment experience from traditional braces. These options are virtually invisible in appearance. They are also easily removable for eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.

Teen with Invisalign clear aligner tray in car with adult

Clear, Plastic Trays Realign Teeth and Fix Bite Problems

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, use a series of custom-fitted plastic trays that gradually move teeth. These transparent trays are an alternative to traditional metal and wire braces for some patients.

A tray is usually worn for 20-22 hours per day, with each tray lasting between 1-2 weeks before switching to the next tray in the series.

Some patients in clear aligner treatment may require small, additional supports attached to their teeth. These supports serve as handles, giving the aligners something to gently push on in order to move the selected teeth with the right amount of force. The clear aligners fit smoothly and tightly around these tooth-colored supports, so they’re barely noticeable.

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen clear aligner tray

Invisalign and Clear Aligners are Nearly Invisible and Convenient

Depending on your specific situation, clear aligner trays may have some advantages over metal braces.

Clear Aligners Resolve Many Common Bite and Alignment Problems

As part of our initial assessment, we will determine if you/your child are a candidate for clean aligners such as Invisalign or Invisalign Teen. Generally speaking, clear aligners work for patients with mild to moderate crowding and spacing issues. Patients with more complex or severe issues are typically not good candidates for clear aligners, as other treatment options deliver better results.

Clear Aligners Are Typically Comfortable, with Little Irritation

Invisalign and clear aligner trays feel like a thin, form-fitting mouthguard or retainer on your teeth. Each tray in the series is designed to move teeth in a specific direction, so you can expect to feel some pressure when wearing the trays, especially in the first few days after switching to a new tray. This pressure is usually described as a mild discomfort, which can be managed through over-the-counter pain medication if needed.

Teen putting clear aligner tray into mouth

Clear Aligners Are Usually Worn for 12-18 Months

The exact duration of clear aligner treatment will vary by patient. Most clear aligner treatment takes 12-18 months. Some patients may see results within weeks, but it is important to keep on the full schedule we develop for maximum results.

The aligner tray must be worn 20-22 hours each day. Each tray is worn for approximately 1-2 weeks before switching to the next tray in the series.

Like traditional braces and any type of long-term orthodontic treatment, most patients will need to wear a retainer after completing clear aligner treatment to keep teeth in their desired position. We will confirm whether or not you will need a retainer as part of your individual treatment plan.

Some Special Care Is Required to Keep Clear Aligners in Good Shape

Clear aligner trays should be cleaned daily and should always be clean before inserting into your mouth. Some systems, like Invisalign, have a special cleaning program you can use, but all trays simply can be brushed with a toothbrush and toothpaste and rinsed in lukewarm water. Never rinse or immerse the tray in hot water or any hot liquid, as it can permanently wrap the plastic.

While Invisalign and clear aligners are removed to eat and drink, any food residue remaining in your mouth can stain the tray. After each meal, it is important to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth before putting your tray back in. Smoking or tobacco use will also stain a clear aligner.

Avoid leaving your tray in direct sunlight or hot locations (like a car) as the plastic may permanently warp.

Even though the trays are made from sturdy materials, you should exercise caution when removing them to prevent cracking or damaging the plastic.

Teenager wearing the nearly invisible Invisalign Teen aligner tray

What to Do for Broken, Cracked, Warped or Lost Clear Aligners

Generally speaking, Invisalign and clear aligners tend to incur fewer orthodontic emergencies than other treatment options. The most common problem of clear aligners is being lost or forgotten, although cracks and warping can occur. Call our office at (570) 387-1243 for additional guidance on next steps. We will work with you to ensure you stay on track with your treatment plan. This may involve wearing a previous set of aligners, advancing to your next set of aligners or ordering replacements aligners for your current set.

Invisalign®, the Invisalign logo, and iTero®, among others, are trademarks and/or service marks of Align Technology, Inc. or one of its subsidiaries or affiliated companies and may be registered in the U.S. and/or other countries.