What are invisible braces?
Invisible Braces (or clear aligners) are a relatively new technology within the realm of orthodontics.
Traditionally teeth were aligned with metal or porcelain brackets with a metal wire. This was always very efficient but not always sightly in photos and especially in older patients.
New 3D printing technology has allowed us to make clear plastic retainers which replaces the need for brackets and wires as they can replicate forces to correct teeth that are maligned or rotated.
ClearCorrect uses 3D scanning and printing technology to construct clear custom plastic aligners.
These clear aligners can be taken in and out as you please – most likely before a snack or meal and of course when brushing.
In addition to the clear aligner, some courses or prescriptions of invisible braces will have small tooth coloured ‘buttons’ or ‘attachments’ which enhance the grip of the aligner onto the teeth.
In most cases each retainer is worn for 22 hours a day every day for 2 weeks before changing to the next aligner. The total number of aligners is determined by how complex the case is but can vary between 6 months to 2 years.
Indications and contraindications
Clear aligners are definitely aimed more post adolescent patients. This is purely due to their nature of use.
- Clear aligners are as close to invisible as can be. They are completely see-through (when clean) and very thin. Because of this they are easily the most aesthetic way to correct crowded or rotated teeth.
- The aligners and buttons do not show up in photos.
- Without bulky brackets and wires that can come loose, clear aligners are more comfortable than conventional braces
- Clear aligners can be removed (as much as we advised against it) before big events like speeches and wedding so there is a dimension of flexibility
- As the trays can be removed, keeping your teeth and gums clean becomes much easier
- As retainers can be taken out they are prone to being lost, thrown out and not worn! Each of these is a setback that can prolong the treatment time.
- It can be hard to find a discreet time to take the retainers out before meals when out in public – prior planning is recommended!
- The attachments and aligners can stain with certain types of foods if not cleaned properly
- New aligners can cause lisps and ulcers for the first few days before you become accustom to them
- Clear braces cannot correct as many orthodontic issues than conventional braces (such as incorrect bite)
The free consult
To ensure your case is right for invisible braces we complete an invisible braces consult.
This can be in conjunction with any check-up, routine appointment or as a standalone consult. In any of these cases, there is no cost – the aim is to leave you with as much information as possible without you feeling obligated or committed to start treated.
At this appointment we’ll be able to give you an indication of costs, length of treatment, give you summary of how invisible braces will work and answer any questions you may have.
Timing: Can be done on the same day as the consult or whenever you are ready to commence treatment
In most adult cases, clear aligners are a viable option and when you’re ready to proceed we then take records to make sure the case is planned correctly. These records include
- Moulds of your top and bottom teeth using a silicone past
- Photos of you smile and teeth
These records are sent to be scanned and we consult with invisilgn or clear correct to form a prescription and treatment plan.
Presentation of treatment options
Timing: Can be done 2 weeks after the record taking appointment
Using a computer program we are then able to download a 3D representation of your teeth and show you what the end result will look like. With this program we can make little tweaks and adjustments to your liking.
At this appointment we will be able to give you an exact quote for costs and length of time you will wearing the aligners for. When happy we approve the setup together and order the retainers right then and there.
Attaching buttons, review appointments and refinement
Timing: can be done 3 weeks after the presentation appointment
Once the appliance is received, we can get started! If buttons are required, we attach them from the start and then leave you with a certain number of retainers to wear and change every fortnight. After you’ve finished that particular set of retainers, we have your next review to check progress and again leave you with the next set of retainers.
As your treatment near its end, we have a check to see how your teeth movements are tracking compared to the computer generated model and make refinements to your future retainers as required to ensure you’re happy with your final smile.
Timing: Can vary depending on your prescription
Hopefully by this stage, you’ve got a nice straight smile you’re ecstatic with! When so, any buttons put on at the start are removed and we cement retainers as well as leave you with removable retainers to ensure your new radiant straight smile stays like that for years to come!
Is it painful?
Most of our patients go through a complete courses of invisible braces with no to minimal discomfort. Most of the discomfort, as well as any changes is speech, occurs in the first couple of days of each new retainer. There is a feeling of pressure with each change and for most patients this is not a problem whilst for other a dose of Panadol to ease the temporary symptoms
How often do I need to come in – what happens if I can’t come in when I’m next due?
For most prescriptions, we see patients every 4-6 weeks. A positive of clear aligners is that appointment timing is fairly flexible so if you have something approaching, such a holiday, we can structure appointments around this.
Are clear aligners covered under my private health insurance?
In many cases – yes. After the initial consult appointment, we will leave you will a preliminary treatment plan and will try to organise a quote together with your health fund so you know exactly how much your health fund will cover and how much you will be out of pocket.
Initial invisible braces consults are free.
We structure payments so that there is an initial deposit paid when records are taken are sent off, a deposit when the first aligners are issued and the remaining we split into monthly interest free payments. Payments can be made by direct debit or EFT.
The total cost of aligners can vary between $4500 and $7000. We will try to give you an accurate idea of cost in your free consult to ensure you can make a well informed decision.
Retainers are included in the cost of the complete treatment plan.