Up until a few years ago, having a beautiful smile with straight teeth was an almost impossible dream for many people to achieve. Besides their prohibitive cost, metallic and ceramic braces are sometimes bulky, unsightly, and uncomfortable.
Statistics from the American Association of Orthodontists show that 25% of orthodontic patients are adults. According to researchers, one of the most important reasons why adults and teenagers want to treat their misaligned teeth is to prevent dental health issues and to help them maintain their psychological health.
Braces – An Evolving Technology
Metal wire and bracket braces are usually used on pre-teens and teens to correct orthodontic issues. Even in children with severely impacted teeth, these braces have a 100% success rate in children. For adults the results are similar, but a longer period of brace wearing is required.
Wearing these unsightly braces proved a huge problem for the creator of Invisalign, who then developed the clear aligners. Invisalign became the first alternative teeth straightening treatment to replace brace-wearing.
This invisible treatment has grown in popularity since it hit the market just over 20 years ago, embraced by orthodontists, dentists, and patients alike. The orthodontic teeth straightening procedure monopolized the market for several years, but it is only offered in dental offices, is expensive, and depending on the case, typically takes longer.
Improvements in Teledentistry and Home Aligners
Shifting teeth into their desired position has become so much easier with the use of clear aligner technology and remote teledentistry. Several companies have hit the market over the last few years with some amazing custom-made clear aligners and treatment plans for those wanting an at-home option.
Companies like Byte, Candid, and AlignerCo offer teeth straightening clear aligners suited for more moderate cases of spacing. Severe cases need the incorporation of elastics, and this is done by an orthodontist. However, it is important to know that home aligners are not “do it yourself” treatments, even though no dental office visits are required. The treatment plan and supply of clear aligners are always monitored by an orthodontist or dentist.
Composition of At Home Clear Aligners
Each series of aligners is designed to gently move the teeth into position with slight pressure. The trays used are made of medical-grade, BPA-free clear plastic. During the teeth straightening treatment, the clear aligners are discarded every two weeks and replaced with a new, tighter set. This process is repeated until the teeth are perfectly straight.
Impressions and Evaluations
An impression of the patient’s teeth is essential before a treatment plan can be worked out. For at-home treatments, an impression kit is required. Candid and SmileDirectClub both offer the alternative of a 3D scan, available at several retail locations, suitable for anyone not comfortable with taking their own impressions. Dental professionals at all these companies review the cases before accepting a candidate and providing a treatment plan.
Following the Treatment Plan
Instructions for the treatment plan must be followed closely. These include the hours the aligners are worn and sending digital photos to the provider during the alignment course. The average treatment time varies from 3 months onwards, depending on the aligners and the severity of the problem.
Teeth can move back after any dental treatment, and that is why retainers are used, both after wearing braces or at-home dental straightening treatments. Some companies include retainers in the cost of the original treatment (Byte and AlignerCo), while others charge them separately.
Comparing At Home Straightening Options with Braces
Both Invisalign and the various home aligners use clear aligner trays for the treatment, making them inconspicuous. Patients needing braces or using elastics with Invisalign don’t have the same advantage.
Firstly, with Invisalign, a patient must meet their dentist regularly, whereas, with the home treatments, the patient receives the aligners with the custom plan for the treatment. One small drawback with at-home straightening is that the patient does not have a choice of dentist.
At-home clear aligner treatments are more affordable than those offered by dentists, and their providers offer a payment plan.
Invisalign and home aligner trays are made from the same materials, but home aligners move the teeth quicker, even though they are worn for the same hours a day. In just six months, a person can have straight teeth with home aligners because they are cut straight and don’t hug the gum line like Invisalign.
Finally, concerns about relapses and safety have been mentioned for at-home teeth straightening. Retainers are used with both home straightening and orthodontic straightening because the teeth do tend to move. Home aligners are safe to use, and the best way to prevent issues like gum disease is to have regular dental checkups.
Smile Prep collects user reviews over the complete period of their treatment with at-home teeth straighteners. As a result, this website shows the best-reviewed and ranked alternative at-home teeth straightening options, proving that there is an alternative to the costlier Invisalign treatment.