If you had a magic wand and  could change one thing about  your smile, what would it be?  The most common answers  we hear from our patients are  that they wish their teeth were  “straighter” and “whiter.” If  you feel the same way about  YOUR smile, then you might  consider clear aligner therapy.  Clear aligner therapy, such as Invisalign, is an orthodontic  alternative to traditional braces  that uses a series of custom  aligners to move teeth into  their proper positions gradually  and gently without the use of  unsightly brackets and wires.  This easy process will not only  help you achieve the more  attractive smile you desire, but  also provides many health related benefits.  

Do your gums bleed or have  they receded exposing the root  and/or do you build-up a lot  of tartar on your teeth? When  teeth are misaligned (crowded,  gapped, or rotated,) it is harder  to remove the plaque and  bacteria that form around them.  The presence of this plaque and  bacteria can lead to inflamed  and/or receding gums, pockets  developing between the teeth  and gums (which can harbor more bacteria resulting in  further gum disease), bone loss,  and ultimately tooth loss. When teeth are properly aligned, it  is easier to brush and floss the  teeth and gums effectively,  resulting in better removal of  the plaque and bacteria that  contribute to gum disease, tooth  decay, and even heart disease. 

Are your teeth sensitive,  worn, or chipped or have you  had to have crowns placed on  many of them due to cracks?  Besides simply straightening misaligned teeth, clear aligner  therapy can also correct many  abnormal bite relationships,  such as open bites, overbites,  underbites, or crossbites.  In each of these abnormal  bite relationships, the upper  and lower teeth fail to come  together properly causing the  teeth to collide rather than glide  against each other. This can  put extra stress and pressure  on the teeth and jawbone,  resulting in gum disease,  receding gums, indentations  at the gum line (abfractions),  cold sensitivity, worn, chipped  or fractured teeth, and/or  tooth loss. Aligning the teeth  and correcting the bite puts  the teeth in their most stable position reducing their risk of  wear and trauma. 

Unlike conventional dental  braces, clear aligner therapy  is designed to be comfortable  and convenient. After an  examination with your dentist  (which should include x-ray  evaluation to ensure the bone  around the teeth is healthy),  a series of custom aligners  are created. Each aligner  is worn for two weeks for  approximately 22 hours a day,  before advancing to the next  aligner. Because the aligners  are removable, you can brush  and floss your teeth normally  and can remove your aligners  to eat and drink. An additional  benefit of clear aligner therapy  is that the aligners can be  used as custom bleach trays  allowing you to bleach your  teeth while straightening them!  

Close monitoring by your  dentist is critical to ensure the  teeth are moving as planned.  Typically, your dentist will want  to check your progress every  6-12 weeks. There are mail  order clear aligners out there  that SOUND easy and may cost  a little less, but without direct  dentist involvement in your care, there is a much higher risk  of bone loss during treatment or  improper movement of the roots  of the teeth which can be seen only in x-rays.  

If you are interested in seeing if Invisalign is right for  you, please visit us at Cheek  Dental for a consultation.  Whatever your age, misalignment, or bite problem is, straightening your teeth can  boost your self-confidence by  giving you the smile of your  dreams all while knowing you are also improving your oral  and physical health!  

Dr. Kristina Chandler practices at Cheek Dental here in East Cobb. You may contact her at 770-993-3775 or visit www.cheekdental.com.