Everybody wants a great smile, but a lot of us need help getting there. More and more people are having success with clear orthodontic devices called aligners.

Braces use brackets connected by wires to encourage teeth to move. Aligners are a series of tight-fitting custom-made retainers that slip over the teeth. Invisalign is the largest producer of clear aligners, but it’s not the only brand. Others include Clear Correct, Inman Aligner, and Smart Moves.

Clear (or “invisible”) aligners aren’t for everyone. Your orthodontist or dentist will help you decide what’s best for you. Ask them if they have experience treating people with aligners. Get references or before-and-after images of their patients.

Can anyone get invisible teeth aligners?

Orthodontics is particularly useful for patients that have decided to undertake reconstructive or cosmetic dental procedures such as veneers, crowns, or implants. All these restorative procedures require prior correction of teeth position. With an improved teeth alignment, the need for the removal of tooth structure can be minimised while fitting a new veneer or crown.

Orthodontics also plays a critical role in the treatment of patients that have suffered mild to significant bone loss, resulting in gum loss around their teeth. Extrusion is a technique that utilises orthodontic forces to pull the tooth up or down. This grafting process prior to removal ensures minimum replacement of gum tissue and bone during the surgery.

Many experienced dentists rely on Orthodontics for the long-term prognosis of different restorative treatments. Patients with a poor occlusal relationship or deep overbites tend to suffer from ongoing wear and damage not only to their teeth but also to any dental treatment they may want to undergo. Orthodontics helps reduce the lapping and crowding of teeth, making it easier to maintain dental hygiene.

How do they work?

Because the invisible aligners are custom-built for a tight fit, they are best for adults or teens. Straightening a child’s teeth is more complicated. Young people, and their mouths, are still growing and developing; the doctor must think about this when setting up treatment.
Clear orthodontic aligners are typically used for patients who have mild or moderately crowded teeth, or have minor spacing issues. Patients who have severe crowding or spacing problems — or severe underbites, overbites, or crossbites — may need more complex treatment.

How long does it take to straighten teeth using invisible aligners?

Treatment time with invisible teeth aligners is based on how much the teeth need to be moved or rotated. The more your bite is off or the more crooked your teeth, the longer it will take. Treatment usually takes between 10 and 24 months. But if you’re an adult who had braces as a child, and your teeth shifted slightly over the years, you may need invisible teeth aligners for as little as 10 weeks.


Because invisible aligners are not as precise as traditional braces, some patients may require a “refinement” of their teeth using braces for a few months to make other, smaller adjustments at the end of the treatment.


Why use invisible aligners instead of braces?


Avoiding “metal mouth” isn’t the only reason to choose a clear aligner. Unlike braces, aligners can be removed, making it easier to brush and floss well; that helps maintain better overall oral health.

Is teeth straightening just about having a great smile?

Correcting crooked or misaligned teeth isn’t just about creating a picture-perfect smile. It can help protect the long-term health of your teeth.