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If you’re looking for the most convenient, comfortable and precise option that will give you the quickest results, clear aligner therapy saves the day! Clear aligners are a custom-designed, gentle, efficient treatment. Sound perfect? At Dr. Melanie Orthodontics, we offer 3M™ Clarity™ Aligners, Invisalign ®/ Invisalign Teen and our own, in-house TLC Aligners with the goal of designing smiles that our patients can’t wait to show off!

What Exactly Is Clear Aligner Therapy?

So let’s lay it all out. What do you need to know about clear aligner therapy? Clear aligner therapy involves a series of removable, clear, BPA-free plastic mouth trays you fit over your teeth. The aligners are custom-designed for you — no two treatments are alike. Typically, treatment includes 18-30 sets of clear aligners you wear in succession. From the first tray to your last, these appliances gradually (and gently!) move your teeth into your healthiest, most perfect smile. Each set of aligners has a slightly different shape, each one an incremental step in pushing your teeth into their ideal position. You wear the trays for 22 hours a day, taking them out to eat or drink (you can keep them in if drinking water) and when brushing and flossing your teeth. Wearing clear aligners sounds super simple, right? Yeah, it kind of is!

The Science Of Clear Aligner Therapy

How exactly does Invisalign work? How about 3M Clarity Aligners? All clear aligners use a pushing motion that activates the periodontal ligaments connecting each tooth’s roots to its socket. The push force stretches the ligaments on one side of the root, and in turn, compresses the ligaments on the other side. This stretched ligament/compressed ligament situation signals osteoblasts to build new bone cells on the stretched side while osteoclasts break down bone cells on the compressed side, allowing the teeth to shift into place. Once this process is complete, the ligaments need time to adjust and your roots need time to settle securely into your tooth socket. That’s why you need to wear each set of aligners for 1-2 weeks, even when you feel like your teeth have already aligned to your current appliance. We love you, Science! Now back to more practical concerns. 

Who Can Use Clear Aligners?

Some people specifically ask, “Can Invisalign fix gaps in my teeth?”  or “Can Clarity Aligners fix an overbite?” The short answer is, “Yes!” clear aligners can fix a wide variety of orthodontic concerns… The cool thing about an aligner like 3M Clarity Aligners is that orthodontists can use them in conjunction with other treatments — like braces  — even if you’re not a candidate for full aligner treatment. At Dr. Melanie Orthodontics, we have a unique hybrid treatment that Dr. Melanie created for patients with more complex alignment needs. 

Clear Aligners for Adults

If you’re curious about clear aligner therapy for adults, you’re in luck! Gone are the days when orthodontics was focused only on teens and kids. Clear aligners like 3M Clarity Aligners, TLC Aligners and Invisalign are great for adults looking to straighten their teeth — these treatments are nearly invisible, super convenient, and quick. Even if you just need a touch up after past orthodontic treatment, we have you covered. With our TLC Aligners, Dr. Melanie designs, fabricates and prints the aligners in our office so she can print as many — or as few aligners — as you need for a more flexible, affordable option.

You may be interested to know that the past decade has seen a noticeable increase in adults turning to orthodontic treatment. Some orthodontists today even report a 50-50 split between adult and kid patients. We’re an increasingly aesthetic bunch, equating self-confidence with our appearance. Fear not, it isn’t just vanity, however: studies show that people are hardwired to prefer those with a straighter smile: social and professional success comes more easily to those with beautiful teeth. At Dr. Melanie Orthodontics, we believe it’s never too late to get the confidence-boosting smile that helps you look and feel your best.

Clear Aligners for Teens

For the kids and teenagers in your life, Dr. Melanie offers Invisalign Teen. These clear aligners are the same as Invisalign for adults but with tabs in the back to accommodate growing molars. 

What is the Process for Clear Aligner Therapy?

From beginning to end, every step in clear aligner therapy is tailored to you. Plus, we pair our top-notch service with  high-tech innovation so our patients get the best that’s out there. Here’s a rundown:

Free Consultation – After your initial consultation, Dr. Melanie starts with a 3D scan of your mouth using the iTERO™ digital impression scanner. No goopy mold impression at our practice! At either of our San Diego or Rancho Santa Fe offices, we even offer same-day starts if you’re ready to jump in with clear aligners right after your consultation.

3D Model and Prescription – Next, the scans are used to create a computerized, 3D model of your mouth. Dr. Melanie manipulates your 3D model step-by-step, simulating the movement of your teeth from the start of treatment to your final smile. Consider Dr. Melanie your personal smile engineer!

Producing Your Aligners –  If you opted for 3M Clarity Aligners or for Invisalign aligners, your personal prescription is then sent out to the lab for production. If you chose our in-house TLC Aligners, we print them on our own, high tech 3D printer. (That’s right, we have our own in-office 3D printer!)

Wearing Your Aligners – Throughout your treatment, you’ll swap out your aligners for the next set every 1-2 weeks. Take out our aligners when eating, brushing and flossing. You can keep them in when drinking water but take them out for all other beverages. Make sure your aligners stay in tip-top shape by cleaning them everyday. The Golden Rule of Aligners? Keep them in for 22 hours a day to maximize your treatment. If you don’t wear your clear aligners for long enough everyday, you could end up prolonging your treatment time. 

Progress Appointments -You’ll visit Dr. Melanie every 6-8 weeks for quick and painless progress checks.

Dental Check Ups – Keep up with your regular dental check ups to keep tabs on your overall oral health. 

After-Care – Most people need a retainer after finishing clear aligner treatment. Wearing a retainer ensures your dazzling results last forever. At first, you’ll have to wear it on a longer schedule (daytime and nighttime) but don’t worry! Dr. Melanie will monitor your retainer wear and let you know when you can switch to nighttime use only.

Show Off Your New Smile – That brilliant smile, that healthy bite. After your clear aligner treatment, don’t hesitate to smile proud. You’ve earned it!

Benefits of Choosing Clear Aligners

Why choose a clear aligner treatment like 3M Clarity Aligners or Invisalign aligners? You may have gathered this already, but clear aligners are super practical: they’re low maintenance, gentle, and aesthetically discreet. And treatment time is relatively fast.

They’re Basically Invisible

Clear aligners are, well, clear. So they’re virtually undetectable unless someone’s really up close and staring at your teeth. Some say this is the best benefit of clear aligners — you don’t have to feel self conscious or call attention to your orthodontic treatment.

Eat And Drink Anything You Want

It’s true. With aligners, you don’t have to worry about what you can and can’t eat. Why? Because you take out your aligners when eating or when drinking anything other than water. No stress about sticky, chewy foods getting stuck or hard foods breaking your appliance. Now that’s freedom.

They’re Comfortable

Clear aligners are designed to unobtrusively move your teeth. They’re ultra comfortable because they: 

  • fit securely due their customization. 
  • have a low, smooth profile so they won’t irritate your lips, cheeks our tongue.
  • straighten with gentle, gradual pressure.

Oral Care and Maintenance Is Easy

Effective dental hygiene is a breeze with clear aligners. You simply take them out when brushing and flossing your teeth, then put them back in. We recommend you brush your aligners twice a day with a soft toothbrush and water to get rid of any food debris. If you damage or lose your clear aligners, just call our San Diego or Rancho Santa Fe office for a replacement.

Treatment Goes By Fast

With clear aligners, you can achieve your new smile in a reasonable amount of time. Typical treatment is about a year and at Dr. Melanie Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on making your experience fun. We know you don’t want to be in treatment forever!

Become A Healthier You

Well-aligned teeth means minimizing the nooks and crannies where bacteria can thrive. With straighter teeth, brushing and flossing becomes easier and more effective. Plaque, cavities, and gum disease are easier to avoid. Reportedly, a healthier mouth is also linked to better health overall. For decades, gum disease has been linked to poor cardiovascular health: plaque on your teeth, plaque in your arteries. Eep!

Brass Tacks: So How Much Do Clear Aligners Cost?

We’re guessing you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when we tell you that clear aligners won’t blow the budget. Dr. Melanie believes everyone deserves a straight, healthy smile. We accept most insurance coverage and offer flexible payment options, including in-office interest-free payment plans. How much do clear aligners cost? Costs vary depending on your treatment plan — just as your clear aligner treatment is custom-designed for you, so is your clear aligners cost.

Ready to straighten your teeth with clear aligner therapy? Book a free consultation at our San Diego or Rancho Santa Fe office with Dr. Melanie today. We’d love to chat with you about which clear aligner suits your specific needs, budget and lifestyle. We’re excited to design the healthy, confident smile you’ve always wanted!

Dr. Melanie

Author Dr. Melanie

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