By 2017, almost 20 years after its FDA approval, over five million Americans had used clear aligners to help straighten their teeth, and 20% of those were teenagers. Compared with the traditional bracket-and-wire contraption most people think of when they hear the word orthodontia, these clear plastic aligners are a revolutionary step forward.
At Chester Family Dentistry in Warren, Ohio, Dr. Ana Chester and her expert staff are proud to offer clear aligners treatment for their patients who need orthodontia. clear aligners can treat most mild-to-moderate conditions that metal braces do while offering a number of advantages as well. Here’s what you need to know.
The clear aligners basics
Clear aligners implement a series of clear trays, also called “aligners,” made of a strong, flexible, medical-grade thermoplastic called SmartTrack®. The trays are custom-made to fit over your teeth, the edges are smoothed so they don’t irritate your gums, and you can easily remove them when you eat, brush, floss, and need to clean the trays. In addition, they’re almost invisible, so no one will know you’re having orthodontic work
When you come in for your treatment, we begin by creating a digital scan of your teeth, and then the clear aligners lab creates 3D models of your mouth so that they can fabricate the aligners. Once complete, they send them back to us.
About every two weeks, you swap out the trays you’re wearing for the next ones in the series, ones that apply just a little more pressure, forcing the teeth to keep moving in the right direction. You need to wear the trays about 22 hours per day to get the full advantage of the treatment, but your total time of 9-15 months is almost half that of traditional braces, which take between 18-24 months to accomplish their task.
4 conditions that respond well to clear aligners
As we said, clear aligners treats most mild-to-moderate orthodontic problems, but the following four bite and alignment issues respond particularly well.
1. Crowded teeth
Overcrowding is a common dental problem; sometimes your mouth just isn’t large enough to accommodate all your adult teeth. As a result, the teeth become crooked and overlap, causing problems with chewing, as well as brushing and flossing thoroughly and effectively. The buildup of bacteria, plaque, and tartar can, over time, lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Your upper front teeth should somewhat overlap your lower front teeth, but an overbite, also called a “deep bite,” occurs when the overlap is more than 5-25%, the level considered healthy for your jaw. Overbites lead to problems that include, biting into the lower gum, tooth erosion, and pain in your jaw.
With an underbite, your lower jaw juts forward, so your bottom front teeth overlap your top front teeth. Many times the problem lies with the jaw, which is positioned too far forward. An underbite, when severe, can cause problems with chewing properly and speaking clearly, and it may cause excessive wear on the affected teeth.
A crossbite has, as its name implies, characteristics of both an overbite and an underbite, and it can lead to tooth wear and chipping. Your teeth may also rub up against your gums, the gums may start to recede, and the resulting damage can lead to gum disease and even bone loss.
If you’re having bite problems and think orthodontia may be in your future, contact Chester Family Dentistry to find out if you’re a good candidate for clear aligners treatment. You can call the office at 330-505-9668, or you can schedule your appointment online.