If you recently visited your orthodontist and they diagnosed you with an overbite, crowded teeth gaps, or similar problems, they may have suggested wearing aligners. Aligners can help to correct these types of orthodontic issues, and there are several brands of them on the market. Are the generic clear aligners any different from the aligners your Invisalign orthodontist may have recommended? Let’s find out.
All About Aligners
The job of an aligner is to shift the teeth into their new and healthy positions. Just like braces, aligners accomplish this gradually. You wear one set of aligners for a certain period of time, and then move to the next set of aligners. Each set in the series is designed to encourage teeth to move farther into position than the set before.
Aligners are different from braces in that they apply a mild pushing force and rotate the teeth into position. With braces, teeth are pulled into place by tightening them over time. Aligners are custom made for your teeth, typically requiring a mold, or impression, to be made by your orthodontist. They create subsequent sets of aligners based on the degree to which they feel your teeth need to be rotated.
What Are Generic Aligners?
Invisalign alternatives are available under a wide range of brand names. These products can straighten your teeth and correct misalignment issues without you ever having to step foot in an orthodontist’s office. We have to admit, it sounds like a pretty interesting concept, but is it too good to be true?
Most generic aligner companies will send you the molds with instructions so that you can make your own impressions. They also ask you to take pictures of your teeth. You mail all of these to the company, which then manufactures your aligners and sends them to you.
Many people choose generic aligners because a particular brand comes in at less expensive than Invisalign. Others would rather not have to pay the cost of an orthodontist visit. Before any generic aligner is manufactured, your impressions and pictures are examined by an experienced dental professional who works for the company.
After they’ve reviewed the information you’ve sent, they select the aligner they feel will correct the orthodontic issue you are having, and that series is what you get in the mail. Generic aligners are typically made of hard plastic and, if the mold was made correctly, will be made to closely match your teeth.
What Are Invisalign Clear Aligners?
Invisalign clear aligners also straighten teeth and correct misalignment issues, but you will have to see your orthodontist, who must be a registered Invisalign provider. Those who are registered providers obtain this designation after going through comprehensive training in the Invisalign product.
Consultation, Examination, And Treatment Plan
The orthodontic consultation will involve looking at your teeth to identify the issue in more detail. You’ll also receive a full explanation of the process, as well as a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific orthodontic needs.
Among the information covered in the plan will be the type of Invisalign product your orthodontist will suggest you wear. The company offers several types of aligners, each designed to correct a particular type of misalignment issue.
The treatment plan will show you how the position of your teeth will change as you progress through the stages of Invisalign clear aligners. You’ll also learn how long you will have to wear each aligner, as well as the cost of the process, during your consultation.
3D Scanning, Imaging, and Mapping
When it’s time to start the process, your teeth will be scanned, and images of them captured in 3D. This allows your orthodontist to map out how each individual tooth will shift over time using specialized software. It also ensures that your aligners will have a precise fit. They can even use the software to show you how your smile will look after your treatment has completed. That’s way cooler than mail order!
Considerations For Generic Aligners
Generic invisible braces tend to come in under the cost of Invisalign for a few reasons. However, a lower cost may not always translate into higher value or treatment effectiveness.
No Qualification, No Consultation
Generic aligners aren’t always made with a patented process, software, scanner, or material. They also don’t require a detailed consultation with an orthodontist. As stated previously, generic aligners are typically made of hard plastic, which is inexpensive.
High Chance of Inaccuracy, No Fittings
Getting accurate impressions of your teeth with the molds the company sends you can be a challenge. You have to get it right or the aligners you receive won’t fit correctly. What’s more, because the material used to manufacture most aligners isn’t flexible, it can cause discomfort. As well, because you don’t need to visit an orthodontist, your aligners can’t be trimmed for a better fit.
No Screening, No Way to Map Progress
Generic aligners can be responsible for some minor improvements in the position of your teeth, but, without seeing an orthodontist, there is no way to know whether your teeth and gums are even ready to begin this type of treatment, let alone whether or not the treatment is progressing properly or not.
Benefits Of Invisalign
Even before the process can begin, you will be screened to ensure that aligners will work for the particular problem you’re having. This ensures you aren’t spending money on a treatment that isn’t right for you.
Only Trained Orthodontists Can Sell Invisalign
As we’ve already said, orthodontists need to be trained and prove their knowledge of the software, scanning, and printing programs before they can be a certified Invisalign provider. This allows patients to feel confident that their aligners will be created properly.
Mapping Software Provides Exceptional Accuracy
The Invisalign mapping software looks at each tooth and is able to provide exact calculations that will help your orthodontist ensure just the right amount of force is applied to move each individual tooth to the position it needs to be in. This technology leaves no room for guesswork, and it offers far more accuracy than traditional impressions.
Better Durability and Strength
Invisalign, the clear alternative to braces, is created with a material that’s known for its durability, quality, and ability to provide a custom fit. Invisalign products are proven to be stronger and more durable than other generic clear aligners. The material used to make Invisalign aligners is called SmartTrack, and it ensures an ideal fit without any discomfort. It’s also approved by the FDA and is free of BPS, BPA, latex, or gluten.
Fittings and Regular Checkups
Once the aligners arrive, you can visit your orthodontist, who will ensure that your Invisalign aligners fit exactly to your teeth. You will also receive information about how to wear your aligners and when to change to the next set in the series. During your treatment, you will be able to visit your orthodontist regularly for regular checkups to ensure that everything is progressing as it should.
Get Invisalign Today
If you want to improve your smile with a durable product that’s made and fit by experienced orthodontists, Invisalign offers you the most benefit. At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we believe that everyone should have access to products and services that support oral health. That’s why we accept most insurance and offer flexible payment plans.
Our orthodontists are skilled and possess 40 years of experience. We not only use state-of-the-art equipment at all of our locations, but we are also always current with the latest orthodontic treatment technologies. No matter whether you visit us in Annapolis, Bowie, Greenbelt, or Crofton and Gambrills, you’ll enjoy a fun and positive environment with staff members who always treat you like family. Schedule your Invisalign braces consultation today by calling us at (410) 267-7300.