How to Straighten Your Teeth Without Braces: Dr. Albert Explains

Have you been tempted by those ads promising to straighten your teeth without visiting an orthodontist? If you aren’t thrilled with your smile, you may even consider a mail-order treatment. But Dr. Heather Albert, an orthodontist at Newtown Dentistry, cautions against mail-order aligners. Below, she explains why, offering guidance for anyone wondering how to get straight teeth safely.

How to Get Straight Teeth With Clear Aligners

Previously, achieving perfectly aligned teeth may have required metal braces. These days, clear aligners have become a popular treatment option for anyone self-conscious about wearing braces.

An orthodontist explains to a teenage patient how clear aligners will straighten his teeth.

Straightening your teeth with clear aligners involves wearing plastic trays that reposition your teeth by applying pressure. Unlike traditional metal braces, which use visible brackets and wires, clear aligners are invisible and removable to eat or drink.

Most people change their aligners weekly. At first, you might wear each set of aligners slightly longer, but as your teeth start to move, you’ll change them more frequently. During treatment, plan to visit your doctor every 6-8 weeks so they can check your progress and make any adjustments.

According to Dr. Albert, how long it takes to realign your teeth depends on the case complexity. “Cases can range anywhere from a few months to a couple of years,” she says, noting that thanks to technological advancements, more people can now use clear aligners.

Dr. Albert’s approach involves goal setting, then getting X-rays and photographs of your teeth. One advantage of the 3M Clarity Aligners offered at Newtown Dentistry is that everything is done digitally. “We take a three-dimensional scan of your teeth to fit you for the aligners, which replaces those old goopy impressions that people might be used to.”

Digital methods allow the doctor to move each individual tooth and customize your perfect bite. “This is how we program the correct treatment plan and fabricate the aligners that are tailored just for you and your teeth.”

The Dangers of Mail-Order Aligners

If you’re wondering how to get straight teeth without wearing braces, mail-order aligners may sound appealing. However, Dr. Albert (and the American Association of Orthodontists and American Dental Association) caution against this DIY approach to straightening your teeth.

A patient looks at the 3D images of her teeth on a screen in the orthodontist’s office.

“I definitely do not recommend at-home aligners to anyone,” Dr. Albert says, noting that the treatment isn’t based on X-rays. “If you want orthodontic treatment, see a specialist because that’s what we’re trained for.” In fact, Dr. Albert has treated patients who need to realign their teeth and fix problems caused by at-home treatments. She’s even seen patients experience tooth loss caused by mail-order aligners moving their teeth too quickly.

Are You a Candidate for Clear Aligners?

While Dr. Albert notes that many patients have achieved remarkable results with 3M Clarity Aligners, it isn’t suitable for everyone.

“At the initial consultation we evaluate if a patient is a candidate for clear aligners or if their case would be better treated with braces or another alternative treatment. This is determined by case complexity and specific movements that we need to accomplish.”

 A model of clear aligners on teeth against a white background.

Beyond matching treatment to the patient’s needs and goals, Dr. Albert states that the patient’s commitment is critical to success. “A patient needs to be responsible and committed for treatment to be successful,” she says. “They need to wear aligners full time during the day and night to get desired movements, so they must be committed to wearing them full time.”

Because compliance is an essential aspect of how to get straight teeth, Dr. Albert emphasizes the patient’s role in treatment, including wearing their aligners at least 22 hours a day and carefully tracking them when they aren’t being worn. Losing an aligner will delay treatment until a new one is made.

“During the initial consultation, we lay out what’s expected and discuss whether they think they can commit to the treatment. Otherwise, we’re not going to get the desired movements, and then they’ll be going in circles. But with compliant patients, we have so many amazing outcomes with clear aligners.”

Why Choose 3M Clarity Aligners from Newtown Dentistry

Dr. Albert admits there are many good clear aligner brands available, including Invisalign. However, she recommends 3M Clarity Aligners for their exceptional quality, comfort, and technology.

“3M Clarity aligners are extremely comfortable, they’re smooth, and they look really great. So many patients can’t believe how clear they are once they get their first set.”

If you’re considering clear aligners instead of braces to straighten your teeth, Dr. Albert says they can have excellent results for the right candidates.

To determine whether clear aligners are the right choice for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Albert or Dr. Guy Coby at Newtown Dentistry. “Even though aligners are such a great option, there are multiple choices for patients, and we go over all of them at the consultation.”

  • AUTHOR

    Newtown Dentistry

  • DATE

    April 5, 2022

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