Everything You Need to Know About Clear Aligners

Here at Mountain West Dental Specialists, our family is proud to serve your family! The husband-and-wife team of Dr. Keaton and Dr. Allison Tomlin offers Las Vegas patients a wide range of dental and orthodontics services under one roof for the perfect smile. This includes innovative treatment options like Invisalign clear aligners! 

As our most popular alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign allows us to achieve the same results without any brackets or wires. If you’ve been considering a straighter smile but aren’t sure if braces are for you, clear aligners could be an excellent solution. Let’s take a closer look at what they are and how they can give you the confident smile you deserve!

What are Invisalign clear aligners?

An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Allison Tomlin has received many years of education and training in using orthodontic appliances to correct a variety of issues. She uses both fixed and removable devices to achieve this. Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, which means the brackets are affixed directly to the front or back surface of the teeth. Since most of the hard work is done when braces are placed, patients are mainly responsible for keeping them clean and following the guidelines for wearing elastics.

Clear aligners are removable appliances. They’re custom-designed to fit snugly over the patient’s teeth for a snug fit over a patient’s teeth but aren’t actually attached to any part of them. Some patients who need additional force to guide their teeth to the ideal locations will have attachments bonded to the teeth—these tiny tooth-colored “bumps” are placed in precise spots and allow the aligners to grip the teeth as they shift the teeth. The aligners themselves are fully removable, however. A system like Invisalign uses a series of aligners to gradually move teeth without the use of brackets, wires, or bands.

Patients in clear aligners must be much more hands-on with them than those in braces! The trays must be worn for 20-22 hours each day and each aligner switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks for the system to succeed. This is what allows the aligners to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. Failure to comply with Dr. Tomlin’s guidelines may lead to longer treatment times and subpar results.  

How does the treatment process work with clear aligners?

We don’t do cookie-cutter treatment here at MWDS! Every smile journey begins with an initial consultation with Dr. Tomlin. During this first visit, she’ll take time to examine your smile and discuss any concerns you have about your oral health. We’ll take some digital images of your mouth, including X-rays if necessary. You’ll then be presented with a customized treatment plan that will include all the movements we want your teeth to make. This will also give you an estimate for how long we expect treatment to take and you may even get a sneak peek at what your smile will look like once you’ve completed treatment!

After you decide on a treatment plan with Dr. Tomlin, we’ll give the lab a heads-up to go ahead and create your first set of aligners. As soon as they come in, you’ll be on your way to a confident new smile! The total number of clear aligners needed will vary from case to case, but most patients can expect to use anywhere from 18-30 aligners altogether. Treatment time also depends on a number of different factors, but the average time spent in clear aligners is generally about 9-15 months.

Our expert team will be here to guide you through every step of your orthodontic journey. Regular check-ups are an important part of that, so you should expect to see Dr. Tomlin once every 6-8 weeks or so. During these visits, she’ll check that your teeth are moving in a healthy way and that everything is progressing as it should be according to your treatment plan. This gives her the chance to make any necessary adjustments as well.

What are the benefits of Invisalign clear aligners?

The fact that clear aligners are completely removable is their biggest selling point! This allows patients an extra measure of freedom that traditional braces lack. Take food restrictions, for example. In order to protect the wires and brackets during treatment, patients in braces need to avoid eating anything crunchy or chewy. Although the end result is worth it, giving up certain foods can be frustrating! 

Since clear aligners are designed to be removed before eating, you can eat and drink everything you normally would during treatment. You simply take the aligner out any time you want to eat, then replace it when you’re done! This makes it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, too. It can be time-consuming to effectively clean around brackets and wires, especially at first. But clear aligners are removed before brushing and flossing as you normally would, so it’s a cinch to care for your teeth and gums.  

Since they can be taken out for short periods of time, removable aligners are a bonus for athletes and musicians who play specific instruments. They can also be an exciting solution for anyone who wishes to let their natural smile shine through occasionally, such as weddings, proms, or even senior photos.

Everything You Need to Know About Clear Aligners

It’s easy to see why clear aligner systems like Invisalign are such a popular alternative to traditional braces! If you’d like to learn more about how clear aligners can help transform your smile, call today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tomlin in our state-of-the-art Las Vegas office!