Clear Aligner Treatment

Here at McDonald Orthodontics, we are here for you if you are having trouble brushing and flossing while wearing braces.


Brushing & Flossing

You may have heard it a thousand times already, but we won’t stop mentioning it. Good dental hygiene is critical when you have any type of braces or are otherwise engaged in orthodontic treatment. Sure enough, it can be harder to brush and floss your teeth during that time, but that’s precisely where clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, shine the most.

Maintaining healthy teeth is now much easier than when you could only choose braces. Simply remove the clear aligner trays and brush or floss your teeth as usual to ensure you have a beautiful and healthy smile by the time you’re done with the main part of your orthodontic treatment.


Dr. McDonald Talks About Invisalign

Invisalign is the digital revolution come to orthodontics. The age of information has touched all our lives in many ways, and in dentistry, it has been through the revolution of clear aligners systems for tooth straightening. Invisalign founded this concept in 2004. It was not widely accepted by consumers or orthodontists for the first 8-10 years of its existence. But gradually, the company improved the technology and materials so that Invisalign became a viable treatment for a vast number of cases.

Invisalign and similar systems use a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners to gradually and incrementally move crooked teeth into a position we would call “straight teeth.”

A Word About Do-It-Yourself Clear Aligner Treatments

The recent introduction of online, unsupervised DIY clear aligner treatment has caused many to wonder if it’s a viable treatment alternative for them. The websites of these companies show before and after pictures of simple but dramatic orthodontic cases. For example, many of the before photos show reasonably straight teeth with spaces between them, and the after photos show the spaces closed and the recipient smiling broadly.

There are two problems with this. First, if you look closely at the after picture, most of the spaces are not tightly closed. Small spaces between teeth trap food and contribute to both tooth decay and gum disease. It’s also irritating, sometimes embarrassing, to have food stuck between your teeth!

Second, cases that involve only closing wide spaces between the teeth are rare, compared to cases involving repositioning crooked teeth. Crooked or overlapping teeth are 10-20 times harder to fix. It is essentially a bait-and-switch situation, leading many people to believe that DIY orthodontic treatment is equally effective for all kinds of orthodontic problems.

The bottom line is, that Invisalign (or clear aligner treatment) is nothing more than a tool for moving teeth. Getting teeth in the proper place for a great smile and good bite requires a knowledgeable, trained orthodontist and supervised monitoring through regular visits.

Don’t risk your smile. See a Salem orthodontist for the best possible result. See Dr. John!

Benefits of Clear Aligner Orthodontics

  • You can’t see them (clear – kind of obvious ????).
  • They’re removable, which is convenient when you’re attending special social occasions, eating meals, or brushing your teeth.
  • Individual aligners can be replaced quickly, should they be lost or broken.
  • No bands or wires are necessary.
  • Adjustment visits can be spaced further apart.
  • Some cases are better treated with Invisalign, due to individually programmable tooth positions.
  • Technological advances have made clear aligner treatment able to tackle a wider and wider variety of cases.
  • Combination cases are possible with braces on the lower jaw (which is usually more difficult to treat than the upper) and a clear aligner for the upper jaw.
  • Treatment can be limited to certain areas of concern, ie: front teeth only, to enable shorter, more specific treatment.
  • Less discomfort can be programmed into treatment, either in the digital planning process or by lengthening intervals between aligners.
  • Because aligners make snacking more difficult, people report that it’s much easier to follow a weight-loss program.

Drawbacks of Clear Aligner Treatment

  • Aligners must be worn 22 hours a day, 7 days a week, without fail to achieve timely and acceptable results.
  • Wearing aligners makes snacking difficult, and some people find this unacceptable.
  • Drinking sugary beverages, ie: coffee or sports drinks, is discouraged when undergoing Invisalign treatment (sugar trapped within the aligners can accelerate cavity formation). Luckily, non-sugar sweeteners exist for your time in aligners.
  • Aligners are just another thing to keep track of, like your car keys, cell phone, grocery list, and youngest child ????, but that being said, most people manage.

Misconceptions about Clear Aligners

  • They make you talk funny.
    • Most people adjust and speak normally after two days, at most.
  • People will notice them.
    • Most people just don’t pay that much attention to your teeth.
  • Kids will lose them.
    • Invisalign Teen® offers free replacement aligners, but surprisingly, it has not been a big problem experienced by orthodontists throughout the nation.
  • They cost a lot more than braces.
    • Truth is, Invisalign is usually similar in cost to traditional orthodontic treatment.
  • It doesn’t matter whether I get Invisalign from my general dentist or an orthodontist.
    • Salem Orthodontists bring years of specialist training and thousands of finished cases of all kinds of treatment to every Invisalign case. Experience counts in every aspect of dental care. Clear aligner therapy is no different.

Call today for your complimentary orthodontic evaluation from an orthodontist with over 20 years of experience and find out if clear aligner treatment is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

This dental alignment system is slightly different from traditional metal braces. When you get in touch with the most reliable provider of Invisalign clear aligners Salem has available, you’ll learn more about this system, such as the fact that clear aligners don’t simultaneously push and pull your teeth but rather push them into set stages of realignment until they’re all in the right position. Clear aligners work on the same principle as conventional metal braces, but they work in a slightly different manner.

Almost every patient who needs metal braces can choose to wear clear aligners instead. There are a few cases of complex dental rotations or tooth malalignment that require the additional force that isn’t achievable with the base version of your clear aligners and might require additional attachments or a conventional orthodontic appliance instead. Please check with a qualified Salem orthodontist to verify if you can use clear aligners and achieve your goals safely and efficiently.

There are multiple good things to consider about clear aligners, such as the fact that you won’t need to stop eating any of your favorite snacks or foods during your treatment for fear of damaging your orthodontic appliance. Likewise, their removable nature ensures you can take better care of your oral hygiene without having to maneuver around metal brackets. Another thing you should keep in mind is that patients have to use their clear aligners every day, anywhere between 20 to 22 hours, to maintain efficiency.

There are very few things you cannot do with clear aligners. Depending on each patient, you might want to avoid chewing your food with your aligners still on. A couple of other things you should keep in mind is what to avoid when cleaning your aligners to avoid damaging them. Please use a soft-bristled toothbrush and liquid soap instead of abrasive toothpaste. Finally, since the aligners are removable, you should carry your protective case to safely put them away during mealtimes and avoid misplacing the trays.

There’s no definitive answer to this question so long as you keep your aligners on for long enough during every day of your treatment. Taking off your trays is easy enough, but you shouldn’t spend too long without them on, as it will compromise your treatment and cause unwanted delays. Please review with your orthodontist the specific instructions you have to follow to reach your treatment goals.

This is a no-brainer. You should clean your clear aligners after every meal. In the worst-case scenario, you should at least clear your aligners at night before you go to sleep. Please remember to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, liquid soap instead of abrasive toothpaste, and lukewarm water to avoid warping the aligner’s shape. Other than that, you should be fine when it comes to keeping your clear aligners clean.