Skip to content

Oral Care

Select An Article

Invisible Aligners for Teeth

    Font Size

    Everybody wants a great smile, but a lot of us need help getting there. More and more people are having success with clear orthodontic devices called aligners.

    Braces use brackets connected by wires to encourage teeth to move. Aligners are a series of tight-fitting custom-made retainers that slip over the teeth. Invisalign is the largest producer of clear aligners, but it’s not the only brand. Others include Clear Correct, Inman Aligner, and Smart Moves.

    Recommended Related to Oral Health

    Brush Up Naturally

    By Ellen Strum Find out how herbal and natural ingredients can refresh your mouth-care routine   Walk down the mouth-care aisle, and you'll find several products that tout being natural or herbal. In fact, Americans spent $386,000,000 on natural oral hygiene products in 2002, up nearly 15 percent from 2001, according to Nutrition Business magazine. About nine percent of Americans choose natural oral hygiene products over the non-natural commercial ones. According to Dr. Earl Mindell,...

    Read the Brush Up Naturally article > >

    Clear (or "invisible") aligners aren't for everyone. Your orthodontist or dentist will help you decide what’s best for you. Ask them if they have experience treating people with aligners. Get references or before-and-after images of their patients.

    Can anyone get invisible teeth aligners?

    Because the invisible aligners are custom-built for a tight fit, they are best for adults or teens. Straightening a child’s teeth is more complicated. Young people, and their mouths, are still growing and developing; the doctor must think about this when setting up treatment. 

    Clear orthodontic aligners are typically used for patients who have mild or moderately crowded teeth, or have minor spacing issues. Patients who have severe crowding or spacing problems -- or severe underbites, overbites, or crossbites -- may need more complex treatment.

    How do they work?

    Once a dentist or orthodontist decides how to correct your bite, they'll make a plan for moving your teeth. If you get the clear aligners, you’ll be fitted for several versions that make slight adjustments to move your teeth over the treatment time.

    They’re made from a clear plastic or acrylic material and fit tightly over the teeth, but can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. You'll get a new aligner every few weeks to continue moving the teeth into the desired position.

    How long does it take to straighten teeth using invisible aligners?

    Treatment time with invisible teeth aligners is based on how much the teeth need to be moved or rotated.  The more your bite is off or the more crooked your teeth, the longer it will take. Treatment usually takes between 10 and 24 months. But if you're an adult who had braces as a child, and your teeth shifted slightly over the years, you may need invisible teeth aligners for as little as 10 weeks.

    Next Article:

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

    Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


    or
    Answer:
    Never
    (0)
    Good
    (1-3)
    Better
    (4-6)
    Best
    (7)

    You are currently

    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

    Start Over

    Step:  of 

    Today on WebMD

    close up of woman sticking out tongue
    Sores, discoloration, bumps and more.
    toothbrushes
    10 secrets to a brighter smile.
     
    Veneer smile
    Before and after.
    Woman checking her bite in mirror
    Why dental care is important.
     

    Woman dissatisfied with granola bar
    Slideshow
    woman with jaw pain
    Quiz
     
    eroded front teeth
    Slideshow
    brushing teeth
    Video
     

    Variety shades of tea
    Slideshow
    mouth and dental instruments
    Article
     
    Closeup of a happy young guy brushing his teeth
    Tool
    womans smile
    Video