Clear Aligners most frequently asked questions | Answered by an orthodontist

Have Clear Aligner questions? We’ve got your answers here. At Wondersmile, we know that a well-informed consumer can confidently choose Wondersmile clear aligners for their smile transformation. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions, answered.

#1 Dental work or aligner treatment first?

It’s important to always have a thorough exam with necessary x-ray images taken before changing your smile with clear aligners. Why? Because straightening your teeth safely and effectively should only happen after your dentist gives your mouth a clean bill of health. Any dental decay or gum disease issues, if present, must be resolved before aligning your teeth.

When patients require care, like implants, veneers, bridges, or crowns, they must determine the proper sequence of what is done first, second, etc., by consulting their dentist. While orthodontic treatment typically precedes these types of procedures, every patient’s care is a little different and that decision is best made by your dentist. Implants, veneers, bridges, and crowns are expensive and typically irreversible procedures that should not be done haphazardly.

#2 I had braces before and my teeth shifted. Am I a candidate for Wondersmile aligners?

Yes! Patients who have had prior treatment with braces, and discontinued retainer wear, frequently have some shifting of their teeth (a.k.a. relapse). Wondersmile clear aligners are one of the easiest ways to restore your smile to its prior glory.

#3 Braces or clear aligners? What’s better?

There are two considerations to answer this question:

1. Is the orthodontic problem amenable to clear aligner correction, or is it more complicated and requires fixed braces?

2. Does the patient have the discipline to wear clear aligners as prescribed over several months, or would rather have braces on all the time and avoid the responsibility?

I have found adult patients, when given the choice, will unanimously choose clear aligners over braces for the following reasons:

Invisibility: Wondersmile’s clear aligners are made of a crystal clear, FDA approved plastic that can hardly be seen. This is in contrast to the noticeable projections of braces and wires seen with braces treatment.

Diet: Wearing braces requires vigilance to avoid hard foods that could damage braces, while clear aligner patients can eat anything they desire.

Oral hygiene: It is far easier to keep your teeth clean during clear aligner treatment than with braces treatment, which traps food and requires much more time to clean.

Pain: Patients report minimal discomfort with clear aligners, and more tenderness with braces wear.

#4 Do aligners really work?

Absolutely. Thousands of patients have successfully straightened their teeth with clear aligners. Success is determined by two major factors: The orthodontist selecting appropriate cases for aligner treatment, and the patient wearing the aligners according to the instructions given.

When Wondersmile orthodontists review your case, they determine if clear aligners are appropriate for your orthodontic problem. Then, it’s up to you to follow through to achieve a successful result like the one you’ll see in your treatment plan simulation video.

#5 Do aligners cause dental erosion

No, not if patients maintain appropriate dental hygiene. Dental erosion, or decalcification, is a consequence of poor plaque removal from teeth and aligners, not aligner wear per se.

#6 Do aligners hurt?

Tooth movement involves placing selective minimal pressures on teeth. The teeth move because of a process of jaw bone remodelling which occurs a tiny bit at a time. This remodelling process involves mild inflammation. Any inflammation can have accompanying discomfort. Fortunately, clear aligners cause very minimal discomfort. In fact, some patients report no pain at all.

#7 How do I get started with clear aligners?

It's easy and free to start.

Take the free online assessment designed by Wondersmile's team of orthodontists. It takes a minute and from there you can book a 3D scan at one of their clinics. Alternatively, if you want to start from home, you can order an impression kit that's delivered to your door. You can also book a free video call with one of the impression specialists who'll be there in real-time to guide you through the impression process.

Written by Dr. Richard Schechtman.