Every year in Australia, more than $10 billion is spent on dental services. This includes regular routine appointments to monitor patients’ oral health and emergency procedures.
However, dentistry isn’t just about fixing immediate problems with your oral health. Some treatments, such as clear aligners, are both cosmetic and improve your oral hygiene.
Since they were first invented in 1997, clear aligners have offered a brilliant teeth-straightening alternative to traditional braces. So how do clear braces for adults straighten teeth and are they worth it?
If you are struggling to decide whether clear removable braces are right for you, read on to find out more.
Understanding Your Misalignment
Before you look into teeth straightening options, you need to fully understand your alignment problems. This will help you find the best option for you.
We often talk about crooked teeth, but there are actually three main classifications of misalignment. These are also known as malocclusions. They are:
- Class I – when the molars at the back of your mouth align but the front teeth are crowded together
- Class II – when the upper teeth in your mouth overlap the lower teeth (such as overbites, crossbites, and overjets)
- Class III – when your lower jaw is pushed forward so your lower teeth overlap your upper teeth (also known as an underbite)
Gapping between your teeth (otherwise known as a diastema) also falls into class I misalignment. If your anterior teeth in the upper and lower jaw of your mouth don’t meet, this is called having an open bite.
The majority of misalignments are the result of genetics. Some other causes of misalignment include:
- Birth defects
- Teeth abnormalities
- Childhood teething habits
- Unsuccessful dental procedures
Whatever the reason for your misalignment, clear aligners can help you achieve straighter teeth. Let’s take a look at how this works.
What Are Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners are a type of custom-made braces that work to straighten your teeth over time. These are made using moulds of your teeth in their original positions and are designed to shift them.
Unlike traditional track and bracket braces, you use a series of removable, clear plastic trays to straighten your teeth. These look a little like dental retainers.
Over the course of your treatment, you will wear each set of clear aligners for 10 days at a time until your teeth reach their final, straightened position. The length of your treatment will depend a lot on the initial severity of your misalignment.
You can take out your removable braces trays throughout the day to eat and to clean your teeth. Ideally, you should aim to wear them between 20 and 22 hours a day.
How Do Clear Braces for Adults Straighten Teeth?
To begin with, SmilePath will send you moulds so that you can make an impression of your teeth at home. You then send these back to the lab where they are used to create your custom series of braces.
Clear aligners work by applying the perfect amount of pressure on your teeth to shift them gradually into a new position. Each tray will fit in your mouth but they might feel a little tight to begin with.
As your teeth start to move, they will fit the trays you are wearing. Once this happens, you move onto your next set of aligners.
How Much Do Clear Braces Cost?
Cost is a huge factor for anyone deciding whether or not to get braces. Pricing for clear aligners either involves making a one-time lump sum payment or by paying in monthly instalments.
If you pay in one go, treatment will cost $1,899. This is the cheapest way to pay for your braces but it means you need to have the cash ready to spend.
Alternatively, you can sign up for a SmileFlex or SmileFlex Easy plan. These involve paying monthly instalments over a fixed period of time for your braces as follows:
- SmileFlex – $117 per month for 18 months
- SmileFlex Easy – $150 per month for 12 months plus a $250 down payment
You may need to pass a credit check in order to quality for a SmileFlex plan.
Of course, cost is one thing but value is another. To understand whether or not clear aligners are worth it, you need to take into account the benefits of using them. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Clear Aligners Are More Flattering Than Traditional Braces
While braces are often associated with teenage years, a lot of Australian adults are now choosing to straighten their teeth later in life. Traditional bracket braces in particular can leave you feeling self-conscious, especially when they are first fitted.
27% of adults in Australia said that their dental appearance leaves them feeling self-conscious. The last thing you want is the device correcting this to make you more self-conscious.
Thankfully, clear braces are very discreet. In fact, most people won’t be able to notice you are wearing them unless they’re very close up. This means that you can go about your day without feeling self-conscious about the appearance of your braces.
Clear aligners are also removable, so you can take them out if you really don’t want to wear them to a special event, for example. Of course, for the quickest results, it is recommended that you wear your aligners as much as possible.
If you don’t want to wear aligners during the day, you can also look at getting sleep-only ones. You wear these for 8 to 10 hours a day when you’re in bed. The treatment takes a little longer to work, but it means you can go about your day without thinking about your aligners!
Removable Braces Let You Clean Your Teeth
Being able to remove your braces isn’t just a great aesthetic feature. It also benefits your general oral hygiene.
You should remove your trays to clean your teeth in the morning, evening, and after eating. This means that you can carry out a much more thorough clean than you can with traditional braces. You will still be able to brush, floss, and use mouthwash like before.
This helps you to fight serious dental conditions, such as gum disease and tooth decay while you straighten your teeth.
You can also easily clean the clear aligners themselves. Simply let them soak in a BPA-free cleaning solution before putting them back in.
They Work Faster Than Traditional Braces
Straightening teeth can be a long process. However, clear aligners work a lot quicker than traditional braces.
On average, bracket and wire braces take 2 years to completely straighten your teeth. In comparison, most people only have to use clear aligners for a year. Some treatments even take as little as 6 months!
This depends a lot on the severity of your misalignment. Severe misalignments will take longer to correct and will require more clear trays.
Clear aligners are also easier to take care of than traditional braces. This means you are unlikely to experience an issue that might slow down the teeth-straightening process.
For example, if a wire snaps in your braces, you will need to visit a dentist to get this repaired. While you wait for this, the braces will not straighten your teeth effectively.
Taking your aligners out to eat means you can easily protect them from major damage like this. They even come with a handy storage case so you have somewhere to keep them when you’re not wearing them!
On top of all this, you don’t have to wait for a dental appointment to continue on your teeth straightening journey.
After a few weeks, you simply pop in a new clear tray and are ready to go. So there’s no waiting around for a dentist to tighten up your wires or to give you the go-ahead for your next aligner.
You Can Use Clear Aligners from the Comfort of Your Own Home
In a busy schedule, finding time to make an appointment with a dentist or orthodontist can feel impossible.
This isn’t the case when you use direct-to-you clear aligners. You simply need to fill in the information about your teeth, create a mould of them, and send this back in.
Once you’ve done this, we’ll do the rest! Your aligners will be delivered directly to your door and you won’t have to go back in to see a dentist for repeat appointments.
If you have any issues or questions about your aligners, a team is on hand to discuss these with you.
Order Your Clear Aligners Today
When it comes to fixing crooked teeth, clear aligners offer a quicker and more attractive alternative to traditional braces. They are excellent at repairing overcrowding and offer you more flexibility than traditional braces do.
Thanks to direct-to-you clear aligner services, it’s possible to get straight teeth quicker than ever before. So what are you waiting for? Complete a free assessment today to begin your journey to straighter teeth!