FAQs about at-home dental aligners answered
In recent years, at-home aligners have emerged as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional orthodontic treatments. With their promise of straightening teeth from the comfort of one’s home, these aligners have garnered significant attention. However, as with any emerging technology, there are bound to be questions and concerns.
In this article, we’ll delve into five frequently asked questions (FAQs) about at-home aligners to help you make an informed decision about this innovative orthodontic solution.
What are at-home aligners?
At-home aligners, also known as clear aligners, invisible braces, or Invisalign London, are a modern orthodontic treatment designed to gradually shift misaligned teeth into their desired positions. Unlike traditional metal braces, which involve brackets and wires, at-home aligners are made from BPA-free plastic materials and are virtually invisible when worn. The treatment process with invisible aligners involves a series of custom-made aligners, each designed to be worn for a specific duration, usually about two weeks. As you progress through the series of aligners, your teeth will gradually move toward their optimal alignment, which you can discuss with your team.
However, in order to be suitable for treatment with invisible aligners, your dentist needs to ascertain the extent of your misalignment. For the treatment to work, the misalignment needs to be mild or moderate and to only be on the front teeth in your mouth; otherwise, you will likely need to have a fitted brace.
Are at-home aligners effective?
One of the most common questions surrounding at-home aligners is their effectiveness compared to traditional braces. While traditional braces remain a proven option for more complex cases, at-home aligners can effectively treat mild to moderate orthodontic issues. This includes crowded teeth, gaps, overbites, and underbites. The success of at-home aligners heavily relies on the patient’s commitment to wearing the aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours per day and following the treatment plan provided by the orthodontist. Regular check-ins and adjustments with a dental professional also contribute to the overall effectiveness of the treatment.
In many cases, the check-ins you may need to take part in will involve video-based consultations over the internet, as well as sending photos of your smile to your dentist once a week, so they can assess how well the treatment is going.
How do at-home aligners compare to in-practice treatments?
Many individuals wonder how at-home aligners stack up against in-practice orthodontic treatments. In-practice treatments involve visits to an orthodontist for adjustments, which can be time-consuming for adults and teenagers and may require more frequent office visits. At-home aligners, on the other hand, offer the convenience of remote treatment. Initial impressions and treatment plans are often created using advanced technology like 3D scanning, reducing the need for physical appointments. While in-practice treatments may offer more comprehensive care for complex cases, at-home aligners provide a viable option for individuals seeking a more discreet and flexible orthodontic solution.
Remember, for this treatment to work effectively, you need to be in regular contact with your orthodontic team or your dentist, usually via a downloadable app for a smartphone. That way, if there is any issue with discomfort, the aligners fitting, or any other concerns, you should contact them urgently to make sure that the treatment is still working and that the process is going to plan.
Is at-home orthodontic care safe?
Safety is a key concern overall when it comes to orthodontic treatments. At-home aligner companies typically require patients to complete a comprehensive assessment, including dental impressions and X-rays, before approving them for treatment. This initial screening helps identify any potential issues that could affect the safety or success of the treatment. Additionally, many at-home aligner providers have licensed orthodontists or dental professionals who oversee the treatment process and provide guidance. However, it’s crucial to choose a reputable and established provider to ensure that your orthodontic journey is both safe and effective.
How long does the treatment take?
The duration of at-home invisible aligner treatment varies depending on the individual’s specific orthodontic needs. On average, mild to moderate cases can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to achieve the desired results. The treatment timeline also depends on the patient’s compliance with wearing the aligners as instructed. It’s important to note that consistent wear of the aligners is essential to achieve the predicted outcome within the estimated timeframe, so you need to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours per day, as it takes around 8 hours of constant pressure on a tooth for it to begin moving. Failure to adhere to the treatment plan may prolong the process and compromise the effectiveness of the aligners, and your teeth may stop moving or revert back to their previous positions.