Insights On Invisalign and Other Clear Aligners

Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.

Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems.

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.

Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand if you decide to go this route.

How to Pay for Clear Aligners

Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.

Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.

Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at (617) 361-5020. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.

DIY Orthodontics: What You Need to Know

Your dentist in Hyde Park agrees that there is nothing more beautiful than a smile that’s healthy, confident, and straight. These days, there are more and more ways to fix your smile. We thought we’d take some time to address the surge in do-it-yourself or at-home smile straightening. Let’s talk about why DIY orthodontics is not the best idea for you and your smile.

Promises, Promises

Everywhere you look today from TV to online ads there seem to be new DIY aligners popping up every day. The truth is mail-ordered braces, or at-home aligners, are starting to become something of a fad. They make grand promises of straightening your smile quickly and without any appointments with a dental health professional like your Hyde Park dentist. Check social media: people across the country are raving about their results, and there are plenty of reviews out there, too. It seems like these orthodontic solutions are the end all, be all of straightening teeth. The truth is, DIY orthodontics is  NOT a miracle fix, and you need to be wary of the claims and promises these companies make.

Help Yourself

It’s important to understand that when you’re straightening your teeth, you’re moving bones and repositioning your bite. That’s a big deal, especially when you don’t have your dentist or orthodontist supervising the progress. To get ideal results for you and your smile, you really should have x-rays in the beginning and someone by your side to review how your bones are moving and your smile is changing. With mail-order orthodontics, you send in a mold of your teeth and hope for the best. You might find it’s not the same as having a comprehensive treatment plan monitored by a dentist or specialist. It’s like driving a car, but you only know how to ride a bike. The results can be dangerous!

We’re All Different

Just because you can go online and order some clear aligners for your smile, doesn’t mean you’re going to get the straight smile you’re promised. Everyone has a different bite and smile. Sometimes clear aligners just won’t work. If you’re one of these people who won’t see results from aligner therapy, you won’t know until you’ve already wasted time and money on your smile. (You might also do some unnecessary and unwanted damage to your teeth.) The companies selling the clear aligners won’t tell you that the product might not be the best fit for you. Some of the not-so-hot reviews for mail-order orthodontics say that people felt like their teeth were worse after they started treatment. This could be attributed to aligners that didn’t fit right or placement issues that needed to be addressed by a dental health professional.

We hope you’ll schedule an appointment at our dental office in Hyde Park so we can talk about the right way to straighten your smile. There are plenty of options out there, and we have the tools and technology to assess what will work best for you. You can have a straight smile that’s cheap and fixed fast, but it’s best to leave it up to the professionals, and, as they say on TV, don’t try this at home.

All About Orthodontics

At our dental office in Hyde Park, we’re honored to take care of your family’s smiles. From regular cleanings, fillings, and restorative dentistry, we’re here to ensure healthy grins all around. But what happens if your teeth are crooked or overlap? Is it something to worry about? The truth is, if teeth aren’t straight and lined up correctly, we may recommend orthodontics — and for good reasons.

Straight Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Having a set of straight teeth can directly affect both dental health and mental health. Unfortunately, too many people are worried and bothered by crooked teeth- which can keep them from laughing and smiling with confidence. Getting a straighter smile can transform someone’s self-esteem and boost confidence.

Crooked teeth are also more difficult to clean properly due to the overlapping and overcrowding. When we aren’t able to properly brush and floss our teeth, our risk for decay, cavities, and even gum disease increases. If not treated quickly, these dental problems can lead to more serious concerns or need for advanced treatment, such as a root canal, fillings or a crown, and even tooth loss.

Orthodontic issues may also lead to advanced oral health problems as well as whole-body concerns. A smile with uneven teeth can make breathing difficult and could eventually lead to sleep apnea, which is a serious problem. Many sleep apnea sufferers actually stop breathing several times a night! This alone has been linked to constant sleepiness and poor concentration at school or work. Additionally, a misaligned smile may make chewing difficult, contribute to digestive problems, and even diminish bone density in the jaw.

Straight Teeth May Still Need Orthodontics

The main goal of orthodontics is usually to create a symmetrical, straight smile. However, there are times when a visibly straight grin still needs orthodontics. Why? The bite, or the way the teeth come together, may be off. This is known as malocclusion or a “bad bite.” If left untreated, a misaligned bite could result in pain and long-term complications. It’s best to get an evaluation from your dentist in Hyde Park so that any potential problems are caught and treated before they have a chance to turn into large issues including:

  • Increased risk for chipped teeth
  • Speech impairment in kids
  • Severe headaches
  • Damage to tooth enamel

What Causes Crooked Teeth in the First Place?

Even though crooked teeth are incredibly common, no one thing causes them. Some of the things that can contribute to a crooked smile include:

  • Poor habits as a child such as thumb sucking
  • Early tooth loss before an adult tooth is ready to erupt
  • A small jaw
  • Facial injury
  • Genetics
  • Mouth breathing
  • Incorrect tongue posture

If you’re unhappy with your smile or are unsure whether you or a family member could benefit from orthodontic treatment, call your Hyde Park dentist for a checkup. Dentists are trained to identify whether a crooked grin may be troublesome and will be able to recommend the best orthodontic treatment for your individual case.