Things To Know Before Getting Clear Aligners (Real Patient Tips!)

Written by Dr. Rashmi Punnooran, BDS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shaista Salam, BDS; Dr. Zein El Hammouz, DDS, MFD/RCSI Fact Checked ✓

Table of Contents 

1. 6 things to know before getting clear aligners

2. Myths and Facts on clear aligners 

3. How can patients prepare for clear aligners?

 

A smile is the finest expression a person can wear. It comes with joy, excitement, or even an act of gratitude. Having uneven or misaligned teeth can do more than make your smile look unaesthetic; it can take away your confidence too!

When it comes to correcting a smile that is crooked or has gaps between the teeth, clear aligners are usually the best option. Instead of using traditional fixed braces, you can use clear aligners to correct your smile comfortably and discreetly. 

6 things to know before getting clear aligners:

It is common knowledge that these transparent custom-made trays are designed for convenience and flexibility. Nevertheless, let’s look at some things to know before getting clear aligners for your smile transformation journey. 

 

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things to know before getting aligners

 

1. Patience is key!

The time it takes to see visible results with clear aligners may vary from person to person. Most aligner treatments take an average time of 8 to 10 months for teeth correction. Simple cases can be treated in just 6 months, whereas advanced cases can take around 18 months, depending on the severity of the problem.  (1)  

2. A commitment of 22 hours a day

A  cardinal rule of clear aligner treatments is that you should commit to wearing them a minimum of 22 hours daily to allow the teeth to move into their correct positions. Not wearing them for the minimum required duration will slow the teeth' movements or even halt them. This will end up delaying your treatment even longer! 

3. Mild discomfort for the first couple of days

Compared to traditional braces, clear aligners cause less pain and pressure on the teeth. However, it is completely normal to feel slight discomfort when wearing your trays for the first time. After all, your teeth require some movements to get that perfect smile!  

4. A slight lisp 

Another thing you need to know before getting clear aligners is that you might have a slight lisp when you initially start wearing them. This generally lasts for the first couple of days with each aligner step as your teeth get used to wearing the aligners. Often, the lisp is so minor that it is unnoticeable to others and will go away in a few days. Here are a few ways to correct the lisp: 

  • Focus on the letters that are most difficult and practice your pronunciation by reading aloud. 
  • Use clear aligner chewies to help your trays fit into place. Keep the chewie between your upper and lower teeth, then bite down continuously. 
  • While speaking, concentrate on a single sentence or phrase. 
  • Perform tongue exercises. Move your tongue from side to side, then up and down to get used to the aligners.

5.  Proper hygiene is important

When wearing clear aligners, brush, and floss after every meal and before putting the trays back on. You must keep your mouth clean to prevent bacteria from building up on the trays. 

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6. Treatment doesn’t stop with clear aligners

Even after wearing all of your aligner trays, you must wear the retainers provided by your doctor.  Remember, your teeth are still adjusting to their new positions, and without proper retention, there is a high chance of them returning to their original positions. This is standard practice for all types of orthodontic correction, be it metal braces or aligners. 

Myths and Facts on clear aligners 

When preparing for clear aligners treatment, it’s important to distinguish between a myth and a fact. Let’s bust some common myths related to aligners. 

Myth 1: Clear aligner treatments are expensive.

Fact: Orthodontic treatment with clear aligners is cost-effective and not ‘expensive’. The treatment costs depend on the type of teeth problem that you are looking to correct. 

In truth, clear aligner treatment should be considered an investment for long-term oral health. Most doctors offer flexible or monthly payment options, making aligner treatments more affordable. Moreover, if patients look at the bigger picture, the benefits of clear aligners are much more significant when taking the cost into account. 

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Myth 2: Clear aligners are hard to maintain. 

Fact: Unlike braces, clear aligners do not have an elaborate cleaning routine. Patients should rinse their trays everytime they remove and wear them. You can also clean your trays daily with mild soap and water. (3) 

Myth 3: There are food and drink restrictions with clear aligner treatment. 

Fact: NO, you do not have to give up your favorite snacks and drinks. This is one of the most important things to know before getting clear aligners. You are free to eat anything you want, whenever you want, with aligners as long as you take them out before eating or drinking. If you don't, you run the risk of damaging the aligners from the chewing pressure as well as staining from the foods.

Myth 4: Transparent trays cannot move teeth as effectively as orthodontic braces. 

Fact: Clear aligners are capable of working as effectively as metal braces. With the advent of modern plastics, clear aligners make tooth movement possible. Aligners can even treat complex cases like deep bits, open bites, severe crowding, crossbite, etc., using auxiliary attachments like elastics, temporary anchorage devices, and attachments. 

How can patients prepare for clear aligners

While patients generally do not have to prepare for clear aligner treatments, there are a few things that they can do to enjoy a hassle-free treatment process. Let’s look at them.

1. Choose an aligner expert

When it comes to creating a plan for your perfect smile, an aligner expert who is certified in aligner treatments will do the best job. Choose a doctor who is confident, supportive, and shares clear treatment plans with you. This will make your aligner journey much smoother.   

2. Choose a reliable aligner brand 

Select an aligner brand that understands and cares for your needs (4). Your chosen aligner brand must be reliable and trusted to provide esthetic and comfortable treatments.  Make sure to check out reviews and patient testimonials from previous cases before settling on one. 

3. Aligner care & maintenance

Clear aligners need to be stored in a clean, dry case with vent holes for air circulation when not in use. Do not leave them lying around wrapped in tissue paper since it is easy to misplace the trays. Pop them back on after meals only after rinsing the aligners and your mouth (6) Lastly, change your aligners as and when indicated by your doctor. 

4. A few hacks to relieve the initial discomfort 

Like any orthodontic treatment, you can expect mild discomfort for a few days when you initially start wearing your aligner. This happens because your teeth are moving.  Here are a few tips to help you prepare for clear aligner treatments: 

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  • Soft Diet: The teeth will adapt to the aligners in a few days, which will lessen the pressure. In the meantime, taking soft food can ease the discomfort brought on by new aligner trays. 
  • Aligner Chewies: Use aligner chewies to improve the fit of your aligners and help them adjust faster to your mouth. 
  • Painkillers: Patients can have a painkiller if there is excessive pain. 
  • Regular Wear: Regular aligner wear for a minimum of 22 hours a day ensures your teeth adjust to the aligners faster, lessening your discomfort. 

Conclusion 

Before you decide to wear aligners, get a proper consultation with a certified aligner expert or orthodontist. The doctor will tell you if you are an eligible candidate for clear aligner treatments. 

Undoubtedly, clear aligners are more comfortable and esthetically pleasing when compared to fixed orthodontic appliances. Not to forget, it makes maintenance of dental hygiene much easier. Typically, clear aligner treatments require fewer emergency visits and shorter appointments. (7) 

With Eon Aligner, your orthodontic treatment journey will be as smooth and clear as your aligners. What are you waiting for? Get in touch with our team and we will connect you with a certified aligner expert in your locality! 

 

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FAQs

1. What do I need to know before getting clear aligners? 

Firstly, consult with a certified aligner expert or orthodontist to find out if you are a suitable candidate. The treatment process is typically faster with aligners and can achieve the same results as fixed braces. Your doctor will brief you on everything you need to know before starting the treatment. 

2. What don’t they tell you about clear aligners? 

Your doctor will inform you of everything you need to know before getting clear aligners. There is a misconception that clear aligners are expensive and not as effective as braces. In reality, aligner treatments are much more affordable with flexible payment plans, especially with brands like Eon Aligners. Additionally, they can treat even advanced cases like open bite, crossbite, deep bite, etc, using auxiliaries and the right clinical knowledge. 

3. What should I expect in the first week of wearing clear aligners? 

Just like any orthodontic treatment, you might feel slightly uncomfortable the first few days of wearing aligners. But if you wear your trays for a minimum of 22 hours daily, this discomfort will go away in a few days as your mouth adjusts to the aligners.  

4. Do aligners hurt? 

Clear aligners don't hurt, but the tooth movement that happens can cause mild discomfort in the first few days. 

References

  1. Tamer, İ., Öztaş, E., & Marşan, G. (2019). Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review. Turkish Journal of Orthodontics, 32(4), 241-246. https://doi.org/10.5152/TurkJOrthod.2019.18083 
  2. WebMD. (n.d.). 6 Tips for Keeping Your Invisible Aligners Clean. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/teeth-straightening/tips-for-keeping-invisible-aligners-clean.
  3. WebMD. (n.d.). 3 Invisible Aligner Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/teeth-straightening/invisible-aligner-myths
  4. Tamer, İ., Öztaş, E., & Marşan, G. (2019). Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review. Turkish Journal of Orthodontics, 32(4), 241-246. https://doi.org/10.5152/TurkJOrthod.2019.18083 
  5. Anon, (2022). 5 Invisalign Tips And Tricks For Surviving Your First Week | Blog. [online] Available at: https://susanjcurleydds.com/5-invisalign-tips-and-tricks-for-surviving-your-first-week/
  6. WebMD. (n.d.). Preparing Your Teen for Clear Teeth Aligners: 4 Tips for Success. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/teeth-straightening/preparing-teens-for-aligners
  7. Tamer, İ., Öztaş, E., & Marşan, G. (2019). Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review. Turkish Journal of Orthodontics, 32(4), 241-246. https://doi.org/10.5152/TurkJOrthod.2019.18083