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Clear aligners: the revolution of invisible orthodontics

11 January · 5 minutes

Orthodontics has advanced significantly in recent decades, and one of the biggest milestones has been the introduction of invisible aligners as an alternative to traditional orthodontics.

Invisible teeth aligners have transformed the way we correct the position of our teeth, offering a discreet and comfortable alternative to traditional metal braces.

In this article, we will explore what clear aligners are and what they are used for, the types that exist, how they do work and the cost they currently have in Spain.

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What are clear aligners and what are they used for?

Clear teeth aligners are transparent and removable orthodontic devices that are used to correct dental positioning problems, such as crowding or diastemas, and also different types of malocclusions.

Invisible teeth aligners are made of resistant and transparent materials, making them practically imperceptible to the naked eye.

Girl holds the Impress invisible aligners case with both hands.

The brief history of the clear aligners like invisalign.

It’s impossible to talk about the history of clear teeth aligners without talking about the precursor brand of this type of device: Invisalign. In 1977, a Stanford University student began looking for an alternative method to traditional orthodontics like braces, less invasive and more discreet. But it was not until 1999 that, after several tests and initiatives, it created Invisalign, the first brand offering this type of invisible orthodontic treatments with clear aligners. This is how the revolution in the sector arose. The Invisalign as an alternative to braces was the first and only option for many years.

In 2017, Invisalign’s patent for invisible aligners orthodontic treatments ended and different companies began to develop their own aligners, taking the pioneering devices as a reference but optimizing both devices and treatment plans with different technologies (as is the case with Impress).

To this day, despite there being other brands, the Invisalign name is still popularly used as a synonym for “clear aligners” – which isn’t surprising, considering they were the only aligners on the market for 20 years. In the same way that has happened with other brands such as Kleenex or Scotch Tape, Invisalign has managed to relate the brand to the generic of the product.

Invisalign was the first brand of orthodontic treatments with clear aligners on the market, but now not all aligner treatments are from Invisalign, so it is important to reiterate that the correct way to refer to this type of device is =ligners.”

Types of clear aligners

There are different types of invisible orthodontic treatments on the market, such as ceramic braces, sapphire braces or lingual braces. Clear aligners are considered one of this type of orthodontics and can be classified according to several factors.

When we talk about types of clear aligners we can say that they can be classified according to the material from which they are made (medical grade thermoplastic, silicone, etc.) or according to the way in which they were produced (3D printing, digitally, or manually with molds).

How do clear aligners work?

Now that you know what clear aligners are and what they are used for, let’s look at how they work. Invisible aligners’ key to the success lies in their custom design and ability to apply controlled forces on your teeth.

Clear aligners work by applying gradual pressure on your teeth, moving them millimeters over time. This process is repeated with each set of invisible aligners, allowing for continuous and progressive shifting in the position of the teeth, correcting them over time.

Each set of clear aligners is manufactured specifically for each patient, following a personalized treatment plan designed by the orthodontist before treatment. Orthodontic treatments with clear teeth aligners allow greater control over dental movements, making them more predictable and precise than traditional orthodontics.

How often are clear aligners changed?

How often clear dental aligners should be changed is one of the most common questions among patients.

The answer varies depending on the type of treatment and the personalized plan for each patient. In general, clear dental aligners are changed approximately every week or two. This interval ensures a constant progression in the correction of dental alignment, making it crucial to follow the orthodontist's instructions to obtain optimal results.

It should be noted that this is an estimate and that the orthodontist should be the one to tell you how often you should change the clear dental aligners, supervising before each change that the planned movements have been achieved.

How long do clear aligners take?

Now, for a lot of people, the most important question: How long do clear aligners take? The time in which we can begin to see the results of clear aligners on our teeth depends on the complexity of the case and the degree of correction needed. Normally, after 6 months is when the results begin to be more evident in the patient's mouth. Although, there are cases in which the results are already visible from the first sets of aligners.

Girl smiles at the camera while holding a clear teeth aligner in her hand.

Are clear aligners effective?

There are patients who still doubt whether clear teeth aligners are as effective as other orthodontic treatments, like braces. At Impress we can safely say that clear teeth aligners are as effective as braces, and they also offer additional advantages, as we will explain below.

Pros and cons of clear aligners

Clear teeth aligners have a series of pros and cons when compared to other types of orthodontic treatments. Let’s take a look:

Benefits of clear aligners

  1. Aesthetics: The main benefit of clear aligners is that they are practically invisible to the naked eye, therefore, they make the patient feel much more confident and secure when wearing them.
  2. Comfort: Since they are removable, clear dental aligners allow you to eat and drink without restrictions. Therefore the patient can continue with their lifestyle, without having to make any major changes. Plus, it’s totally comfortable and safe when playing sports.
  3. Less hassle: The invisible teeth aligners are made of a rigid and robust plastic of high medical quality with a soft surface that is gentle on the gums. This material makes it more difficult for chafing and sores to form. As for the pressure, it’s possible to notice it a little when changing from one aligner to another. However, since the changes are very frequent, this sensation is barely noticeable. In addition, aligners avoid risks when doing sports, since they won’t hurt you when you get hit or suffer a fall.
  4. Hygienic: Being able to remove the invisible teeth aligners eases daily cleaning of the teeth and the device itself, reducing the risk of oral problems associated with fixed orthodontics.
  5. Fewer visits to the orthodontist: Compared to traditional braces, patients who opt for invisible teeth aligners typically require fewer visits to the orthodontist. This is because check-ups can be performed less frequently, since there’s no need to adjust braces or wires. Additionally, one of the benefits of Impress is that we have our own app with which you can monitor your treatment from wherever you are, saving you countless visits to the orthodontist’s office.

Disadvantages of clear aligners

  1. Patient discipline: The success of treatment with invisible aligners depends largely on the patient's discipline. It’s essential to wear the aligners for the recommended time and follow the orthodontist's instructions to obtain optimal results.
  2. They can get lost: Being removable is a great benefit, but it’s also related to this disadvantage of clear aligners: since they can be removed, they can be lost if they are not stored in the case correctly.
  3. Price: Compared to metal braces, invisible aligners can have a higher cost. However, invisible aligners are not the most expensive orthodontic device, when compared to the cost of other orthodontic treatments.

How to clean aligners: the best way to take care of them

If you are wondering how to take care of invisible aligners and which way is best, let’s take a look.

The best way to clean invisible aligners is with a soft bristle brush and neutral soap. Using those you should brush the aligners to remove any dirt or plaque that may have gotten stuck to them during use.

There are also effervescent tablets that can be useful to clean the aligners, although the best way is not to use this method alone, but to combine it with the previous one, since brushing guarantees better cleaning.

Clear aligners cost: how much are invisible aligners?

The cost of clear aligners in the U.S. varies depending on the provider or brand, the duration of the treatment, and the complexity of the case. In general, the cost of the invisible aligners can range between $2,000 and $6,000 before insurance.

The cost of treatments with Impress clear dental aligners depends mainly on the complexity of the case.

If you’re insured, you should note that most insurance providers at least partially cover the cost of clear aligners if not all of it. In order to estimate the cost, you should first check your orthodontic coverage within your personal insurance policy.

Our prices are fixed, including everything necessary for your treatment (from start to finish). We also offer financing plans to make the treatment more accessible and adapt to the needs of each patient.

Hand holds an invisible teeth aligner.

Impress invisible aligners

At Impress we are specialists in treatments with invisible aligners, offering treatment plans 100% supervised by orthodontists and with the possibility of monitoring in any of our clinics or through our app, saving you a lot of time and unnecessary trips.

At Impress we offer all our patients a free diagnostic consultation, in which we’ll perform 360º x-rays and a 3D scan that will give us all the information necessary to create a precise and personalized treatment plan.

If you are interested in our removable orthodontic treatments with invisible aligners, come to your nearest Impress clinic and you will be able to meet the team of professionals who will supervise your treatment. You can also make an appointment online, via email at careteam@uniformteeth.com, or by calling us at 888.490.1421.

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Frequently asked questions about invisible aligners

Can you eat with clear aligners?

The answer is no, you can not eat with clear aligners in. But, since they are removable, you can take your clear aligners out to eat so you don’t have to worry about dietary restrictions.

How do I remove my clear aligners?

Want to know how to remove your clear aligners? You can use the outies, which are a type of hook that you will receive in the Impress kit, which will help you remove them easily. Furthermore, over time, you will surely gain practice and will be able to remove the clear aligners with your hands.

Can clear aligners be used for fixing an overbite, underbite, crossbite and other malocclusions?

Yes, clear aligners can can be used for fixing an overbite, underbite, crossbite and other malocclusions. Aligners not only correct dental malpositions, but they can also correct a bad bite by modifying the relationship between jaws in growing patients.

Are clear aligners faster than braces?

Treatments with clear aligners are usually faster than treatments with braces. By being able to make aligner changes from home, the changes are more progressive, and no adjustments are needed as with braces. Additionally, being able to track digitally saves waiting time for appointments.

Are clear aligners painful?

Clear aligners can cause slight pain or discomfort when changing the set due to the pressure they exert on the teeth. But, by making more progressive movements than with braces, the discomfort is minimal.

Are clear aligners safe?

Yes, clear aligners are safe. However, it must be taken into account that the treatment is supervised by orthodontists in order to ensure safety.

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