Invisible Smile Alterations: The New Age of Aesthetic Orthodontics

Girl smiling with ceramic braces

Are your teeth not quite straight or do they overlap and/or have gaps between them? Do you have trouble chewing because your top teeth and bottom teeth don’t quite meet up correctly? Are they hard to brush and floss because they sit at odd angles and are crooked?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, are you aware that there is a way to fix these things that doesn’t include traditional metal braces?

Closeup of crooked, but otherwise healthy teeth

Orthodontics are the modern answer to your teeth alignment and bite problems. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, “teeth are moved by placing gentle, controlled forces on them [through] braces or clear aligners”. Over a designated period of time, the bones surrounding the teeth will breakdown and rebuild around the new structure, essentially keeping straight teeth in place after active orthodontic treatment.  

Active orthodontic treatment refers to the point of treatment where the teeth are actively being moved with wire braces or clear aligners. After active treatment, patients will then switch to wearing a retainer. This retainer holds everything in place while the new bone structure forms and hardens around the newly moved teeth. Thus, retainers are just as important as the orthodontic treatment itself in ensuring treatment success.

When most people think orthodontics, they envision the traditional metal wire braces. However, orthodontics does not only mean the clunky metal braces that most people think it does. Nowadays, orthodontic technology has advanced, yielding more aesthetic orthodontic options.

Two of these options, Clear Correct and Six Month Smiles, provide different, but visually appealing options for orthodontic treatment. Using either Clear Correct or Six Month Smiles, you can correct misalignment and bite issues without having to endure traditional metal wire braces. Curious about learning more? Let’s take a look!

Clear Correct

Clear Correct uses a series of custom made aligners to gradually move the teeth into an optimal position. While they are similar to the more well known Invisalign, they offer more treatment options than Invisalign does. Unlike Invisalign, which only offers one treatment type, Clear Correct offers three different treatment approaches. Namely these are Limited 6, Limited 12, and Unlimited:

  • Limited 6: uses a set of six aligners for minor adjustments to the full arch of the mouth
  • Limited 12: uses a set of twelve aligners for moderate adjustments to the full arch of the mouth
  • Unlimited: uses an unlimited set of aligners to make specialized adjustments to the full arch of the mouth. With  the unlimited approach, aligners are covered for up to three years.

Although the unlimited plan offers aligners for up to three years, most treatments with Clear Correct only last about six months to one year. It is only the more severe or specialized cases that may require additional treatment time. During your initial consultation, the proposed length of your treatment will be discussed.

During your initial consultation, you can also expect to have x-rays, digital photos, and a dental impression taken of your mouth. This information will be sent out to a dental laboratory so that they can custom fabricate your Clear Correct aligners.

During your Clear Correct treatment, you will simply wear your aligners at all times and only remove them during meals and while brushing or flossing. Every few weeks you will also return to Legacy Dental so that we can monitor your progress and provide you with the next aligner. Once your active treatment is complete, you will then be given retainer and detailed instructions on how often to wear the retainer.

One of the greatest advantages of Clear Correct is the fact that it uses a removable mechanism to straighten teeth. This means that you will not have to alter your diet in any way during treatment. Also, the clear aligners cause much less discomfort that traditional wire braces and patients report that they are extremely comfortable.

RemovableQuickVersatileAestheticComfortableCorrects malocclusionCorrects severe alignment
Clear CorrectXXXXX
Six Month SmilesXXXXX

Six Month Smiles

Six Month Smiles is similar to traditional metal braces, however it uses clear brackets and tooth-colored wire instead for a more aesthetic appearance. It also offers a reduced treatment time averaging only six months. While actual results can range anywhere from four months to nine months, the average treatment time for traditional wire braces is about 1.5-3 years.

Treatment with Six Month Smiles begins with an initial consultation where our dentists will examine your teeth and bite to determine if Six Month Smiles works for you. Once a treatment approach is decided upon, the braces will be placed on your teeth.

To place the braces, your teeth will first be cleaned and dried. A small amount of glue will then be placed in the center of your tooth and a clear bracket will be attached. Then, a blue curing light will be used to set the glue and the bracket in place. This process will be repeated until every tooth has a bracket. An archwire will then be placed and set using tooth-colored bands.

The constant pressure exerted by the archwire through the brackets will begin to slowly move your teeth into the desired position. To make sure the process is progressing as intended, you will visit our office approximately 3-7 times during your treatment so that any necessary adjustments can be made.

Unlike Clear Correct, however, you will have to make temporary diet restrictions to prevent damaging your braces. Basically, this consists of avoiding foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy such as nuts, popcorn, pretzels, gum, and hard candies. Keep in mind that while you do have dietary restrictions, they will only last for a few months until the braces come off.

Once your treatment is complete, you will be given a retainer to wear. Right after treatment, you will likely be instructed to wear this retainer at all times, but eventually you will transition to wearing it only at night. Retainers are highly important because they keep your teeth in the correct position so that new bone can grow around and support them.

As you can see, orthodontic treatment isn’t what it used to be. Before the only option was to have traditional wire braces fixed to your teeth. Nowadays, however, there is a variety of different orthodontic options. Legacy Dental offers Clear Correct and Six Month Smiles because we believe them to be effective and valuable orthodontic treatments. Interested in learning more about how they can change your smile? Schedule a consultation today with one of Kansas City’s top dental offices today!

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