What are Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners, also called invisible aligners, are a type of orthodontic treatment that corrects misaligned or crooked teeth. They are a virtually invisible and removable alternative to braces designed around convenience and flexibility.
Aligner trays are custom-made for every patient, depending on the severity of teeth misalignment (malocclusion).
In-office clear aligners, such as Invisalign, can treat a variety of different cases, including:
- Crowded teeth — when the teeth overlap
- Overbites — when the upper front teeth overlap with the lower front teeth
- Underbites — when the lower front teeth overlap with the upper front teeth
- Diastema — when there are small or large gaps between the teeth
- Open bites — when the front upper and lower teeth slant outward and do not touch when the mouth is shut. This is a very rare type of malocclusion.
- Misaligned primary (baby) teeth — clear aligners can be used during phase I orthodontic treatment to make room for existing baby teeth and developing permanent teeth. Children between 6 and 10 years of age are candidates for this treatment.
In-Office Aligners vs. At-Home Aligners
There are two types of clear aligner options available:
In-office aligners (like invisalign) are the most well-known option because they have been around the longest. You have to visit a licensed Invisalign doctor to receive these aligners, and the treatment process is more intensive.
At-home aligners, also called direct-to-consumer aligners, are cheaper than in-office aligners. Treatment is completed remotely, so you will never visit a dentist or an orthodontist for checkups.
Both in-office and at-home aligners are made of clear, medical-grade, BPA-free plastic.
Str8 aligners strive to not touch your gums at all. They are trimmed to comfortably sit along your gum line in a ‘scalloped fashion.’ This design makes the trays less irritating and even more ‘invisible.’
Other aligners (most at-home options) are not trimmed along your gum line. Instead, they partially cover your gums and may cause more irritation in the beginning stages. The discomfort is typically minor.
How Aligners Work
1. A Custom Treatment Plan
First, you'll order an impression kit with a mailer box to take your impression and mail back. After the Str8 Lab receives your impression, they will examine your mold and take a precise digital scan. Then, a custom treatment plan is made.
You'll receive a digital preview of your new smile before the aligners are created.
2. Aligner Preparation
After the teeth impressions are made, your custom treatment plan will be created using 3D technology. Once approved, the digital models are transferred to a production facility and the aligners are made.
From here, you'll accept treatment and begin the process.
3. Aligners Daily Upkeep
You'll change out the aligner trays every 1 to 3 weeks. For effective teeth straightening, you must wear them for about 20 to 22 hours a day.
Multiple aligners are used because a single aligner is only capable of moving teeth slightly (1 mm or less).
Each set of aligners will slowly move the teeth into the correct position. Treatment can take anywhere between 3 and 24 months.
4. After Treatment
After treatment is complete, a custom clear retainer is made from a mold of your newly straightened teeth.
Retainers should be worn every night while sleeping to ensure malocclusion does not recur over time.
Str8 Oral Care is now a top recommendation for convenient, at-home teeth straightening. The aligners are affordable and don’t require any in-office visits.
Popular Invisible Aligner Brands
Vacuum-formed clear thermoplastic sheets were introduced into orthodontics in the 1980s. They were originally used as retainers. Today, these devices are known as 'clear aligners.'
STR8 Oral Care
Str8 Oral Care stands out in the at-home aligner industry both for its strong customer support and fast treatment times (4 to 6 months).
They use innovative technology that offers quick and effective results at an affordable price.
Str8 Oral Care
Str8 aligners can straighten teeth in 4 to 6 months.
Str8 is one of the most affordable at-home aligners, but they are also one of the newest companies.
Unlike most at-home aligner brands, Str8 aligners do not touch your gums. They are trimmed to comfortably sit along your gum line in a ‘scalloped fashion.Not only does this design cause less irritation, but it also makes the trays less visible.
Keep in mind: There is no scientific proof pointing to the safety of moving teeth quickly. Successful orthodontics requires precise tooth movement.
Tips for Preserving Clear Aligners
- Always rinse them with cold or lukewarm water after removal
- Do not clean them with hot water because heat can damage and warp the plastic
- Brush and floss your teeth before wear
- Soak them in retainer or denture cleaner
- Remove the aligners before eating
- Clean the aligners with mild soap daily
- Never clean them with toothpaste