The Truth About Clear Aligners

There have been some incredible advancements in orthodontics over the last several years, from more effective techniques to cutting-edge technology. Here at Nirenblatt Orthodontics, that means we’re able to offer patients more treatment options than ever before, including clear aligner therapy! We use in-house aligners as well as Invisalign aligners, giving patients the chance to achieve the same beautiful results as braces but without all the brackets, wires, and bands. If you’ve been considering orthodontics but weren’t sure if braces were for you, clear aligners can be the perfect solution! 

In the world of orthodontics, clear aligners are still considered a relatively new option, even though they’ve been around for a couple of decades at this point. That’s led to some misconceptions about how they work and how effective they can be at straightening smiles. We believe that patients who are fully informed about all their treatment options tend to have a better orthodontic experience, so let’s take some time to uncover the truth about Invisalign! Keep reading below to learn more. 

What is clear aligner therapy?

Although many clear aligner brands got their start in the twenty years or so, we’ve been using similar trays for post-treatment retainers for decades. The innovative software and technology allows orthodontists to move misaligned teeth in stages using a series of customized aligners. Like braces, gentle pressure gradually moves the teeth where we want them to go, until the only thing left is a beautifully aligned smile!

Most clear aligners are made of a special thermoplastic material that allows them to fit firmly but comfortably over your own teeth. In their earliest days, clear aligners were used mainly for treating simple spacing issues or mild crowding. The technology and design has continued to evolve over the years, and today’s aligners can correct many common orthodontic issues just as successfully as braces. 

The Truth About Clear Aligners

Clear aligners work just as fast as braces do (and sometimes faster)

All orthodontic treatment requires some measure of compliance from the patient, but when it comes to clear aligners, it’s a must! To understand why, it helps to know the difference between fixed and removable appliances. Traditional braces are a fixed appliance, meaning the brackets are actually attached to the surface of the teeth. This allows most of the hard work to happen without much effort on the part of the patient. 

Aligners are a removable appliance. Although they’re designed to sit snugly over the teeth, no part of the aligner is affixed to the teeth. It’s up to patients to keep them in for the recommended 22 hours per day, and they’re also responsible for switching each aligner out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. Patients who don’t hold up their end of the treatment bargain may not get the results they want. Non-compliance may also lead to longer treatment times. 

Every smile is unique and each patient responds to treatment in their own way, so there’s no uniform answer for how long a patient will need to be in aligners. In general, however, the total treatment time for clear aligners will tend to be anywhere from 9-15 months. The good news? That’s actually slightly faster than the average time patients spend in traditional braces!

Treatment with clear aligners is comparable in cost to braces

Like any new technology, clear aligners were considered quite expensive when they first entered the orthodontic scene. As they became more popular and accessible over the years, that cost began to decrease. While there are always multiple factors to consider in the total cost of treatment, clear aligners generally cost just about as much as braces do.  

Here at Nirenblatt Orthodontics, we believe everyone should have access to high-quality care and affordable treatment options. We’ve helped thousands of Charleston families achieve a confident smile thanks to our custom payment plans! Our financing is done in our office by our staff and not by an outside third party. We also offer a number of discounts, including:

Hometown Heroes discount

We offer a 10% discount off total treatment cost for military personnel, first responders, and educators. Please provide an ID or proof of employment. We appreciate your service to our community!

10% pay in full discount

If you do not need a payment plan and would like to pay for your treatment in full, we offer a 10% cash discount off the total cost of treatment, excluding insurance.

Refer a friend and receive an account credit

For each friend you refer that starts full comprehensive treatment with us, you will receive a credit to your orthodontic account.

Family discount

We offer a second-family member discount for your loyalty to our practice.

We accept most insurance and HSAs. If you provide your insurance information to us by text or email, we can contact your insurance company to predetermine your orthodontic benefits before your consultation. For your convenience, our team is also happy to file your insurance claims. 

Clear aligners offer patients extra flexibility

Because they’re removable, clear aligners come with a bit more freedom than traditional braces. A good example of this is food restrictions, which can be one of the toughest parts of treatment for braces patients. To protect the brackets and wires, they need to avoid any crunchy or chewy foods throughout treatment. It can be frustrating to miss out on some of your favorite snacks and foods, even though it’s temporary. With clear aligners, you can continue eating everything you love! You simply remove the aligners any time you want to eat, then put them back in again when you’re done.

Removable aligners also make it easy to keep your teeth and gums clean throughout the treatment process. Cleaning around brackets and wires can be time-consuming, especially in the early days. Clear aligners are taken out before you begin your normal routine, allowing you to brush and floss the same way you always have. Caring for the aligners themselves is effortless, too! There are special kits designed to clean them, or you can gently brush them using toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

Since clear aligners can be removed for short periods of time, they’re also an excellent option for special events like games, concerts, prom, or weddings—any occasion where you want nothing but your natural smile to shine through!

The Truth About Clear Aligners

Clear aligners can be a great option for most patients (but not all of them)

We love everything clear aligners have to offer, but they aren’t always a good fit for every patient. Cases that are especially complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner is able to achieve. 

You also have to be capable of keeping up with wearing the aligners as directed and switching them out on a schedule. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to handle that responsibility, a fixed appliance like braces could be a better option! 

When you schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Nirenblatt, he’ll be able to determine if clear aligners are a good fit for you, or if you’d be better served by a different treatment method. You can trust that we’ll only ever recommend the treatment method that will work best for your individual smile.