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Teeth Aligners: What They Are And How They Work

By Kyle Kirkland
If you have misaligned teeth, invisible teeth aligners offer an easy way to straighten your teeth for a smile you’re proud of. Here’s what you should know about dental aligners.

A self-reported 25% of people avoid smiling due to the condition of their mouth and teeth, according to a 2015 survey by the American Dental Association. If you’re experiencing embarrassment due to crooked or misaligned teeth, invisible teeth aligners may be able to help you achieve a smile you’re proud of. Here’s what teeth aligners are and how they work. 

What Are Invisible Teeth Aligners?

Invisible teeth aligners are clear, tight-fitting mouthpieces that fit over your teeth. They’re a popular alternative to traditional metal braces.

“Invisible teeth aligners are clear, removable, and are worn all day and all night,” Andrew Geller, DDS, a dentist at Geller Family Dental, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “They are only removed for eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth.”

These aligners are less noticeable than traditional metal braces but can achieve similar results for many patients.

“Invisible teeth aligners are prescribed for patients interested in correcting crowding of teeth, spacing, bite issues, and those who want an overall improvement in their smile,” Geller says. “The aligners can accomplish the same things as fixed braces, and treatment time is generally quicker.”

How Do Aligners Straighten Teeth?

Invisible teeth aligners work similarly to traditional metal braces, but they don’t involve getting metal brackets glued to your teeth or placing wires in your mouth.

Teeth aligners are created from molds or digital scans of your teeth. These molds are used to create a series of clear plastic mouthpieces that put gentle pressure on your teeth and gradually move them into proper dental alignment, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. You will wear each set of mouthpieces for 1-2 weeks before switching to a new set that will move your teeth to slightly different positions.

Invisible teeth aligners can straighten teeth and lead to a healthy smile as long as you wear them as prescribed. Geller says you should be honest with yourself about what type of treatment you are willing to commit to.

“In total, patients looking to straighten their teeth should wear their aligners 22 hours a day,” Geller says. “Unmotivated patients often stop wearing their aligners altogether or do not wear them for the appropriate amount of time. This can potentially lead to even more challenging dental issues that are difficult to correct.”

Start Your Journey to a More Confident Smile Today!

Straightening your teeth can be easy and affordable. Find out how to get started today. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.