We offer an array of options for patients who want to straighten their smiles effectively. Dr. Elizabeth Duling provides clear braces as conservative and minimally invasive treatment in Owens Cross Roads, AL. Invisalign, ClearCorrect, and Six Month Smiles are modern methods of realigning teeth and typically offer quicker treatment than traditional methods.
As a cosmetic dental treatment, straightening crooked teeth can prevent problems like shifting teeth, overcrowding, tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Because they are difficult to clean, misaligned teeth are more prone to decay or infection. Straightening teeth is actually preventative care.
Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth gradually over time. Dr. Duling will take dental impressions of teeth to create the custom aligners. She will then map out each aligner to be worn according to the impression. The aligners are worn 22 hours a day and switched every two weeks as teeth shift. Invisalign allows patients to comfortably realign their teeth while being able to eat the foods they love.
Like Invisalign, ClearCorrect uses clear removable plastic aligners. However, ClearCorrect aligners are thinner and less visible. Patients who receive ClearCorrect do not have any dietary restrictions and can easily brush and floss their teeth. ClearCorrect is also more comfortable than traditional metal braces.
Dr. Duling will take digital impressions of the patient’s teeth to begin treatment. The impressions are then sent ClearCorrect, where they create the clear plastic aligners. Aligners should be gently brushed with a toothbrush and water. Although ClearCorrect aligners are less visible and easier to maintain, they are more fragile and prone to damage.
Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles are braces that use clear, lightweight brackets and tooth-colored wires. This system gently straightens teeth in an average time of only six months. Patients with mild to severe cosmetic issues benefit from this treatment. Although Six Month Smiles requires special care to clean around the wires and brackets, it can produce results fast.
Why Straighten Your Smile?
For starters, straightening your smile is a want for aesthetic purposes. Everyone wants a straight, beautiful smile they aren’t afraid to show off. You shouldn’t hold back or hide your smile when you’re laughing or out in public. But crooked teeth can also cause dental problems, not just aesthetic ones.
Crooked teeth are harder to clean. They’re often cramped, making it hard to clean all your smile’s surface areas. If you can’t clean your teeth properly, you’re at a higher risk of plaque and tartar buildup. This means you’re more likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you’re brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist as you should, sometimes even specialized dental tools can’t reach these areas. You’re still at high risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
When you have crooked teeth, your bite is uneven as well. When you bite down, the pressure of your bite distributes evenly throughout all of your teeth. If your bite isn’t even, some teeth are taking on more pressure than others. These teeth wear down faster and are more likely to chip, crack, or break. You’ll need extensive restorative care to treat these issues and keep your smile functional.
Uneven bites are also a trigger for TMJ disorders. Your bite isn’t coming together properly, which means that the jaw joint isn’t tracking as well, either. The muscles for the face and jaw tense up because they’re being used in the wrong way. TMJ causes pain and function problems with your smile. You may develop problems opening and closing your jaw. It might start popping and clicking and may even mean you can’t open your mouth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Clear braces are usually the top choice for patients wanting to subtly straighten their teeth. Learn more about treatment with them by reading the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Can clear aligners stain my teeth?
Yes, it is possible for clear aligners to stain your teeth. Even though they are more convenient than braces, they still require maintenance to remain clear and clean. The aligner must be removed and cleaned at least once a day. This prevents any build-up on the aligners, which can easily stain the teeth. Additionally, after eating, you must brush your teeth. All the tiny food particles will be removed, reducing the chances of staining your teeth.
Can I drink anything with clear aligners on?
There are many kinds of beverages you must avoid when wearing clear aligners. Any and all hot drinks should never be consumed. The heat can actually warp the shape of the aligners and set your treatment off course. Also, we recommend avoiding staining and sugary drinks. Sugar can get trapped under the aligners and lead to decay. Drinks like fruit juice or soda can stain the aligners and your teeth. Water should be the only thing you drink with the aligners on.
Do clear aligners hurt?
Clear aligners are much more comfortable than braces. Braces are bulky and are comprised of metal pieces that can harm the inside of your mouth. Clear aligners are thin pieces of plastic that are perfectly molded to fit over your teeth. However, when a new set of aligners are put in, you may experience slight pressure as they move the teeth into alignment. Most patients get used to it fairly quickly.
What happens if I don’t wear my clear aligners for 22 hours daily?
You must wear your aligners for the time your dentist tells you to. If you’re not wearing your aligners enough, your treatment will take longer. You risk hurting any progress that your teeth have made, too. They’ll start to shift back into other positions if they don’t have the aligners to ensure they stay in the correct place.
Can I speed up my clear aligner treatment?
No, and doing so is dangerous. You feel discomfort with each new set of aligner trays as your teeth adjust to the new placement. But you aren’t ready to switch sets again when you stop feeling this. Your teeth need that couple of weeks in each aligner to adjust the bone structure in your mouth. If you change aligners too fast, your teeth lose that strong base. They loosen and may even fall out.
Am I a good candidate for clear aligner treatment?
Clear aligners treat mild to moderate orthodontic concerns. If you have severe orthodontic issues, you may need more extensive treatment than clear aligners can provide. You must also be responsible enough to take care of the aligners properly. This includes cleaning them thoroughly, not losing them when you take them out, and wearing them for the correct amount of time each day.
Contact Dr. Elizabeth Duling
Do you want to straighten your smile? Call Dr. Duling at 256.202.4186 or schedule an appointment with her on our website.