Clear Aligner FAQ

Clear Aligner FAQ

Clarity™ Aligners & Invisalign® Questions Answered

We’re covering the questions we hear most frequently from our Rancho Santa Fe and San Diego Invisalign, TLC and Clarity Aligners patients. For even more in-depth answers, schedule a complimentary smile assessment with Dr. Melanie Wang online or by calling us at (858) 613-3688 (San Diego) or (858) 255-7800 (Rancho Santa Fe) today!

Q: How does clear aligner treatment work?

A: Dr. Melanie plans out your tooth movements on a digital, 3D model of your mouth. She then sends off her specifications to the 3M or Invisalign lab. They print out a series of clear aligners based on her prescription. Or, if you choose TLC Aligners, we’ll print the aligners in our office using our 3D printer. The aligners exert steady, gentle pressure to shift your teeth into their ideal places. Each aligner is individually designed to achieve certain movements. As you make your way through the series, your new smile gradually takes shape.

Q: Are there food restrictions with Clarity Aligners, TLC or Invisalign?

A: Nope! You’ll take the aligners out to eat and drink anything aside from plain water, so all of your favorite foods are still on the menu.

Q: Do clear aligners hurt?

A: Clear aligner treatment doesn’t hurt. However, when you start treatment or pop in a new set of aligners, your teeth can feel a little bit sensitive. This is a good sign and means your aligners are working!

Q: What are the benefits of Invisalign, TLC and Clarity Aligners?

A: 3M Clarity Aligners, TLC Aligners and Invisalign aligners are made from clear, smooth plastic so they’re virtually invisible. The aligners are also removable so there are no food restrictions and oral hygiene is a breeze. Because clear aligners don’t use brackets or wires, there’s no irritation and nothing can break, meaning you won’t have any emergency appointments. Additionally, the aligners don’t require adjustments so visits are shorter. You’ll spend less time in Dr. Melanie’s chair and more time showing off your fabulous new smile. Lastly, since 3M aligners and Invisalign aligners rely on advanced 3D, digital technology, treatment is precise and accurate. We’re even able to show you what your smile will look like before you begin treatment.

Q: Can I smoke while wearing clear aligners?

A: No. Smoking will stain your aligners, which will defeat the purpose of virtually invisible treatment.

Q: Can I chew gum with Invisalign, TLC or Clarity Aligners?

A: There are no food restrictions with clear aligners and that includes gum, so chew away! However, you’ll want to take your aligners out before you chew gum, otherwise, it could cause a mess.

Q: How often will I need to visit Dr. Melanie Orthodontics during clear aligner treatment?

A: While it will depend on your treatment plan, most patients visit us every six to eight weeks so we can make sure their alignment is proceeding as planned. These appointments are quick and easy.

Q: How long does Invisalign, TLC or Clarity Aligner treatment last?

A: Every patient is unique and the length of clear aligner treatment depends on how complex your case is and how closely you follow the instructions for wearing your aligners. Once Dr. Melanie has had a chance to examine you and evaluate your bite, she can let you know how long your treatment will last. For some patients, they’re able to get their dream smile in less than a year, while for others, it’s about the same length of time as braces. With TLC Aligners, we can do limited treatment, meaning we can make minor corrections quickly if you don’t need full, comprehensive treatment.

Q: How much do TLC, Clarity Aligners and Invisalign cost?

A: We know, we know, you’re looking for a number here but, unfortunately, the cost of Clarity Aligners, TLC Aligners or Invisalign varies patient to patient. It will depend on how severe your case is and the length of your treatment. When you visit our 4S Ranch orthodontist, Dr. Melanie, for a consultation, she’ll evaluate your smile and create a personalized treatment plan, which will allow her to give you an accurate cost. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to get a smile they love so we’ll work with you to make treatment fit your budget. We accept most insurance and offer flexible financing plans.

Q: How often should I wear my Invisalign, TLC or Clarity aligners?

A: For the best results, we recommend wearing your clear aligners for about 22 hours every day. Only take them out to eat, drink anything aside from plain water, and to brush and floss your teeth.

Q: Will clear aligners affect my speech?

A: Most of our San Diego and Rancho Santa Fe Clarity Aligners and Invisalign patients don’t notice a difference in their speech. However, some patients do feel as if they have a little bit of a lisp at first. Don’t worry, this will go away once you get used to your aligners.

Q: How do I clean my aligners?

A: There are Invisalign cleaning systems that you can buy. However, the easiest way to clean clear aligners is to simply brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse them with lukewarm water when you brush your teeth.

Q: Will I have to wear a retainer when my clear aligner treatment is done?

A: Yes. The only way to maintain your results for life is to wear a retainer. When you see how amazing your smile looks, it won’t seem like a big deal. We’ll design and print (we have our own 3D printer) a custom, clear, removable retainer for you. Eventually, you’ll only have to wear it at night.

Q: How do I know if I’m a candidate for Invisalign, TLC or Clarity Aligners?

A: Thanks to Dr. Melanie’s depth of experience with clear aligners, we can treat a wide variety of patients with them. Additionally, Dr. Melanie is a pioneer in hybrid treatment where she combines 3M Clarity Aligners with braces in certain complex cases. This gives patients who wouldn’t normally be a candidate for clear aligners an aesthetic option. The only way to know for certain what the best course of action is, is to schedule a complimentary consultation at Dr. Melanie Orthodontics. You can book your visit online or by calling us at (858) 613-3688 (San Diego) or (858) 255-7800 (Rancho Santa Fe).

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