Alternative to Braces for Teens San Francisco, CA
For teens, clear aligners are a popular alternative to traditional metal braces. Although traditional metal braces have been around for decades, clear aligners offer a virtually unnoticeable way to achieve a straighter, healthier smile. Clear aligners are a series of trays that fit tightly over teeth to move them gradually into alignment over time.
Clear aligners are available at Aesthetic Dentistry of Noe Valley in San Francisco and the surrounding area. Our staff will help determine whether they are the right treatment for your teen. Call us at (415) 493-9143 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Explore the Options
Clear aligners are one option for teens looking for a different type of orthodontic treatment. Teens can benefit from their aesthetic appearance and a more comfortable treatment experience. Compared to other orthodontic options, clear aligners also cause less pain and reduce the number and length of appointments.
With typical metal braces, teeth are moved to a new position using brackets with wires threaded through them. Clear aligners use a series of custom-molded trays that gently move the teeth into place. Patients will use each tray for a week or two before moving on to the next one in the series.
“Clear aligners use a series of custom-molded trays that gently move the teeth into place.”
Save Time Straightening
Teens with busy lives can benefit from clear aligners since they can save time from the straightening process. Braces require frequent office visits to replace or adjust wires. That can mean taking time off of school and other activities. Clear aligners require less frequent office visits to ensure treatment is progressing. Other than that, the patient can switch out their aligners at home.
In general, clear aligners also take less time overall to complete treatment. The one-piece trays provide force to all the teeth at once, while braces move each tooth individually. In some cases, clear aligners can trim as much as six months off the treatment time than traditional teen braces.
“Teens with busy lives can benefit from clear aligners since they can save time straightening.”
Feel Better, Look Better
One of the biggest differences between braces and clear aligners is their respective appearances. Many teens prefer the near-invisible design of clear aligners to the visible wires and brackets of metal braces. Clear aligners are less easy to detect, which can help teens feel less self-conscious and more positive about their appearance.
There is also flexibility with clear aligners that traditional braces do not possess. Clear aligners are removable, which allows teens to eat and drink whatever they want. Since they are removable, is it also easier to brush and floss teeth to maintain optimal oral health. Keeping braces clean often requires additional tools and can take a lot of extra time.
“Many teens prefer the near-invisible design of clear aligners to the visible wires and brackets of metal braces.”
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Ease of Use
Clear aligners are a great option for physically active teens. Sports that require mouthguards like football can often damage metal braces and cause injury to the mouth's soft tissues. Clear aligners fit tightly to the teeth, so traditional mouth guards are more effective. If a patient forgets their mouthguard, the chances that the clear aligner will get damaged is much less than metal braces.
A teen can expect to wear their clear aligners for 20-22 hours a day. Since they're so easy to remove, it's also easy to forget to put them back in. Forgetting to wear the aligners for the required amount of time can slow down or even stop results.
“Are clear aligners a good idea for teens who play sports? How long do I need to wear clear aligners every day?”
Questions Answered on This Page
People Also Ask
Taking Care of Aligners
While aligners are easy to take care of, they do require teens to be proactive about cleaning. Dirty aligners can accumulate bacteria, which can cause bad breath and harm oral health. Like teeth, teens should clean their clear aligners every day to keep the treatment process moving forward. Once they remove their aligners, patients should use warm water and a soft toothbrush to scrub the trays. Teens need to rinse their aligners with cold water every time they're removed and never leave them out in the open.
Ideally, patients should only remove their aligners to eat or drink. Teeth should then be brushed and flossed before patients put back their aligners to prevent food particles from becoming trapped in the tray. Forgetting this step can lead to tooth decay and other concerns. When taken care of properly, clear aligners are less likely to cause cavities or tooth damage. Clear aligner treatment also improves the patient's overall oral health since straight teeth are easier to clean thoroughly.
“While aligners are easy to take care of, they do require teens to be proactive about cleaning.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do clear aligners work?
A. This alternative to traditional braces uses clear, removable trays to move teeth into their correct position. We will take a mold of the patient's mouth and create custom-fitted trays according to their personalized treatment plan. Each tray will gradually shift the teeth into place.
Q. How comfortable are clear aligners?
A. Overall, clear aligners are very comfortable to wear. However, it is common to experience sensitivity once a patient moves onto the next aligner in the series. This discomfort signifies that the aligners are gently working to move teeth into the correct position. The more you wear them, the more comfortable they get.
Q. Will my speech be affected?
A. It does take some time to adjust to wearing clear aligners. Speech may be temporarily affected as the patient gets used to the trays. Some people report having a slight lisp while the tongue gets used to the appliance.
Q. How long does the process take?
A. Treatment time varies based on each patient's orthodontic needs. However, most patients see final results within 12-18 months. That time frame can last longer if the patient does not wear their aligners for the recommended 22 hours a day.
Q. How often do I clean my aligners?
A. Aligners should be cleaned daily and rinsed out every time the patient removes them. They can be soaked in warm water and scrubbed with a soft toothbrush. Failure to clean the trays can result in a buildup of bacteria that can negatively harm teeth.
- Aligner Trays
- With Invisalign® treatment, the patient will receive a series of aligner trays and swap out each one for the next one in the series every two weeks in order to gradually straighten the teeth.
- ClinCheck® Software
- ClinCheck® software allows professionals to map out the straightening process the patient’s teeth will go through with Invisalign® in great detail.
- Incisal Ridges
- Incisal ridges are the portion of the crown of the tooth that makes up the incisal portion and can be a direct cause of overbite if they are extended too far.
- Malocclusion is the condition in which the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly when the bite is closed. Conditions of malocclusion can include overbite, underbite, crossbite and open bite; all of which are treatable with Invisalign®.
- Polyurethane Resin
- Polyurethane Resin is a USP Class VI medical grade, high molecular weight compound that makes up the Invisalign® aligners.
- Smart Track® Material
- Smart Track® material is in Invisalign® aligners to increase comfort, improve control of movement, increases the speed of treatment and applies a gentle force to the teeth over time.
Call Us Today
If your teen is looking for an alternative for braces, clear aligners are a great option. Aesthetic Dentistry of Noe Valley can help. Call us at 415-493-9143 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Clinical Terms. 2023
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2023
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2023
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