Clear dental aligners can do many of the things braces can, and their accessibility has made them more popular than ever. Patients also appreciate being able to remove them to eat. But there are some misconceptions about the devices. Read on to separate fact from fiction when it comes to invisible aligners.
Myth: Invisible Aligners are Expensive
This myth was more believable when clear dental aligners first hit the market, Caroline Girard, DDS, of Beverly Hills Whitening, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
“They’re around the same price as braces. Sometimes, braces can be more. That’s because, with people who have to have braces, it is often a complicated case that may include surgery. People with complicated orthodontic needs need braces,” Girard says.
Lilya Horowitz, DDS, of Domino Dental, tells WebMD Connect to Care that invisible teeth aligners may, in some circumstances, even cost less than other options like crowns and veneers.
“If you're comparing it to other types of cosmetic treatments, I would say it’s one of the more affordable ones. It's because it’s not something done in a day. With veneers, for example, that’s a period of weeks or months. A typical comprehensive clear aligner treatment can be 6, 9, or 12 months,” Horowitz says.
Myth: Invisible Aligners Aren’t as Effective as Braces
“Clear aligners can correct the same issues as traditional braces. Some clear aligners can move teeth faster than traditional braces. There are advantages to them for sure,” Girard says. “It looks like this clear piece of plastic, but it’s this fascinating elastomeric, or stretchy, material.”
With clear dental aligners, you’re getting new aligners every week or every few weeks as your teeth move gradually. According to Girard, this way is more “fluid” than the method by which braces force the teeth to move quickly.
“You’re slowly pushing each tooth into place over seven days, like a rubber band. To move the tooth, you have to break it down on one side and build on the other. [Invisible aligners] do a great job to move teeth so that it is fluid,” Girard says.
With braces, you have wires attached to your teeth that tighten in order to move the teeth, whereas aligners apply a gentle but consistent push that gradually moves the teeth into place, according to Girard.
Myth: Invisible Teeth Aligners are Hard to Clean
Unlike braces, which inevitably acquire debris from food that must be brushed or rinsed off, you can remove invisible aligners in order to both keep them free of food and to clean them—and aligners don't typically require an elaborate cleaning routine.
“I always tell people to use their toothbrush to clean them…definitely scrub them once a day and then disinfect once a week or midweek,” Girard says.
Another benefit to removing your invisible aligners? No dietary restrictions. “Obviously, you’re going to have to clean [them] out, but it definitely makes it easier to eat with them than braces,” Horowitz says.
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