A Few Things To Know Before Starting Clear Aligner Braces

3 January 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


If you are an adult who wants straighter teeth without the appearance of metal in your mouth, then clear aligner braces may be a good option for you. While the process is simple and straightforward, there are likely a few things you do not know about the straightening process. Keep reading to learn about these things.

It May Take A Bit Longer Than Projected

Your orthodontist or cosmetic dentist will likely give you an estimate that tells you about how long you will need to wear your aligners for. This estimate follows the computer-generated movements worked out at the beginning of the straightening process. The computer maps out each movement, and a corresponding set of aligners are created to force the teeth into the correct position. The aligners are created as you move along with the dental straightening, and they are numbered.

Most people need between 20 and 30 sets of aligners. Each set is typically worn for about two weeks. This means that your original treatment estimate will be for a little under or over a year. This is the case if you wear your braces for the recommended 20 to 22 hours per day.

You should understand that estimates are just that—estimates. The straightening is likely to take longer than you are initially told. However, you can expect the straightening to take a few months longer than expected, not a year or more longer. Basically, your original timeframe will indicate the quickest possible treatment period.

There are several things that can extend the straightening process. Teeth that do not move as quickly as they should, poor compliance with aligner wear, and skipped dental visits are a few reasons. 

Once the initial straightening is completed, you also will need to wear a finishing tray for some time. This final tray is similar to a retainer and helps to allow your jaw to solidify and keep your teeth from shifting. These trays may be offered after several refinement trays, depending on how your teeth have moved over time. Retainers need to be worn during the day for some time and then only at night. This is similar to the way a traditional retainer is worn. 

You Might Need Some Tooth Attachments

Many people choose clear aligners over traditional braces because they are easy and non-intrusive. While this is definitely true of the aligners, you may need to have some attachments added to the teeth to help with movements. These attachments are small buttons formed from bonding materials. The protrusions grab onto the aligners and act as anchors to shift the teeth. The anchors are tooth-colored, so they will be virtually invisible, just like the braces.

In some cases, buttons will need to be cemented to the teeth as well. Buttons are tooth-colored brackets that are added to the tops of the teeth. Your eye teeth will typically hold them. The brackets are similar to the ones used with traditional braces, but they are smaller. The brackets help to attach rubber bands when they are needed. 

Smaller bonded anchors and buttons are added in cases where the teeth need to be moved a large amount. Teeth that need to be rotated, gaps that need to be corrected, and the movement of stubborn teeth may require attachments too. 

Attachments may be worked into your original straightening treatment plan or they will be considered once the aligner trays begin moving the teeth. If you want to know if you might need anchors, buttons, and rubber bands, then speak with your dental professional. Your age and the original position of your teeth will inform the professional whether you may need extra attachments or not. For more information, contact a dental clinic like Fayetteville Family Dentistry.