Posted on: 30 October, 2020
Clear aligners such as Invisalign® and Inman Aligner™ are popular alternatives to braces. Find out more about clear aligner costs, benefits and treatment times.
3 minute read
If you want straighter teeth, but you don't want to wear braces, clear aligners could be the answer. Invisalign® aligners, Invisalign® Go and Inman aligners were developed to offer a more appealing alternative to traditional braces for adults and older teenagers. Today, clear aligners are one of the most popular orthodontic options in Australia.
If you're considering 'invisible' aligners, or you want to know more about how the treatment works and what it costs, here are 10 facts you should know. Your dentist can answer any other questions you have to help you make an informed decision about your teeth straightening treatment.
One of the biggest concerns that many people have about traditional braces – especially older teens and adults – is how they will affect their appearance. While modern braces are usually smaller than those of the past, clear aligners are even less noticeable on the teeth, as they're made from a transparent plastic. Clear aligners also have the extra benefit that they can be removed for short periods if necessary.
High quality clear aligners are designed for comfort as well as convenience, using a soft plastic that's moulded to fit closely over your teeth. With no brackets, wires or bands, clear aligners are usually more comfortable and take less time to adjust to compared to metal braces.
It's important to note that all orthodontic treatment involves some level of discomfort, as braces and aligners will apply gentle force to the teeth in order to move them into alignment over time. However, this should only be mild discomfort and it should fade as you get used to wearing your aligners.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is important during orthodontic treatment. If you develop a dental problem such as tooth decay and gum disease, this can interrupt your treatment, causing it to take longer to complete or affecting your results.
Wearing braces can make brushing and flossing your teeth slower and more difficult, as you have to work around the brackets to make sure you clean all surfaces, as well as cleaning the braces themselves. With clear aligners, brushing and flossing is easy, as the aligners can simply be removed.
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Being able to remove your aligners also means they won't limit what you can eat and drink. If you have braces, your dentist or orthodontist will recommend that you try to avoid foods that are overly hard, chewy or sticky, as these may damage or dislodge the braces. Some foods can also get trapped between the braces and be hard to remove.
Whichever teeth straightening option you choose, it's still important to follow a healthy, balanced diet and to avoid having too much sugar, to help keep problems like tooth decay at bay.
If you're concerned about the toxicity of some plastics, rest assured that the leading clear aligner brands are made from a medical grade polyurethane resin that's free from bisphenol A (BPA). This industrial chemical is present in many commercial plastics and exposure may be linked with increased blood pressure and other adverse health effects.
Ask your dentist or check with the manufacturer if you want to make sure your aligners are BPA free.
The success of clear aligner treatment relies on compliance from the patient. You or your child must commit to wearing your aligners for at least 22 hours a day (including when you're asleep), otherwise they might not achieve the results you desire.
Some aligner treatments for teenagers such as Invisalign Teen have coloured indicators that show the dentist whether the aligners have been worn for the recommended amount of time.
Orthodontics is a long-term treatment that involves gradually moving your teeth or jaws into their new alignment. Treatment using clear aligners isn't necessarily faster than braces, as this will depend on your individual orthodontic needs and whether your treatment was interrupted.
Invisalign aligners are worn in weekly or fortnightly sets, from anywhere between 6 and 24 months depending on the patient case. For minor teeth crowding or protrusion of the front teeth, Invisalign® Go and Inman Aligner treatment is complete with a shorter time frame, usually 6 to 20 weeks.
Dr Lewis Moore is a certified Invisalign provider and can treat a range of orthodontic issues, including overbites, underbites, crossbites, protruding teeth, widely spaced teeth, crooked and crowded teeth.
Dr Alex Stockley is a qualified Inman Aligner™ provider and Dr Bolun Zhang is a certified Invisalign® Go provider. Both can treat simple orthodontic concerns such as crowding, gapped teeth and relapses.
When you remove your last set of aligners, you'll reveal your straighter, healthier smile. To maintain this new alignment, your dentist will provide you with a retainer and advise you about how to use it.
Wearing a retainer is an essential part of orthodontic treatment. Without it, your teeth may start to go out of alignment. Some people only need to wear a retainer occasionally and for a short time, while others may need to wear their retainer for longer.
Clear aligners from our dentists in Mount Lawley cost between $5,000 and $8,000, depending on how much your teeth need to be straightened, the type of aligners you choose and other considerations.
We'll make sure you understand the costs before you agree to treatment. We also offer interest-free payment plans to help reduce your upfront costs and make your treatment easier to manage. If you choose braces over clear aligner treatment, there’s a chance your private health fund may cover part of the costs too.
DIY orthodontics is when a patient sends photos or impression kits to an online company, which then sends aligners directly to the patient. It typically won’t include a face-to-face clinical examination, x-rays or ongoing supervision by a registered dentist.
Major problems can arise in this process when pre-existing dental issues go undetected. For certain patients, it can worsen existing dental issues, cause permanent gum damage and even tooth loss. It’s why the Australian Dental Association have issued consumer warnings against the dangers of using online clear aligner companies, in the absence of a face-to-face clinical examination.
A full clinical examination that’s conducted face-to-face with a dentist, remains the best way to determine your eligibility for clear aligner treatment.
If you choose to have clear aligners at Mount Lawley Dental, we'll schedule regular appointments so your dentist can check that your treatment is progressing well and address any problems or concerns. Having face-to-face appointments can improve results and means any problems may be caught early when they're easier to correct.
If you want to know more about the pros and cons of clear aligners vs braces and other ways to straighten your teeth, book a consultation with our dentists at Mount Lawley Dental. We'll make sure you know all your options so you can decide what's best for you.
Invisalign® aligners are a registered medical device. Always read the label and follow and instructions for use from your dentist.