Imagine having dinner with a group of people you have just met and one of them flashes a smile. The first thing you notice is the excessively spaced and misaligned teeth. What will your initial reaction be? Now, we have heard from both dentists’ and patients’ point of view on the subject of clear aligners. And the verdict? There is no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing your teeth straightening treatment. But, there are always grey areas that need to be answered before we can make an informed choice. So this time, Dr Nur Ain Hair Johari from Medissa Medical and Dental Clinic has answered all the burning questions from consumers in relation to traditional braces versus aligners.
Q&A With Dr Ain Of Medissa Clinic
1. How Long Will I Have To Wear The Clear Aligners?
The timing for dental aligners treatment varies. It really depends on the severity and grimness of the misalignment. Most common cases will take around seven to eight steps, which means it will only take about eight months to complete treatment. Severe cases may take up to 20 months, but don’t worry! Your dentist will help you complete your treatment in the shortest time.
2. Is Clear Aligners Treatment Painful?
Aligners may look smooth and sleek compared to metal braces, but you might still experience some discomfort. What is the biggest benefit? For a start, they are more comfortable than traditional braces. Of course, during the initial stages it might cause some pain, but eventually it will go off once you get used to it. Unlike metal braces, aligners won’t cause irritation to your gums and you will feel comfortable in the long run.
3. Will It Affect My Speech And Work?
Some patients report having slight lisps or a ‘different voice’ during the first week or two but it is usually unnoticeable and again, will go off once you get used to wearing it. If your work requires you to vocalise a lot (i.e singing, lecturing, etc), no doubt it can affect performance during the onset of the treatment. Some patients even said that their teeth feel loose once the aligners are removed. Again, no need to hit the panic button as it is perfectly normal. After all, your teeth have to realign to their new positions.
4. How Much Do Clear Aligners Cost?
The cost varies depending on the case. For example, cases with mild crowding will set you back MYR 6,000 but only takes around six months for completion. If there is medium or severe teeth crowding, then aligners may not be the right treatment for you.
5. How Often Are The Follow-Ups For Clear Aligners?
Once you start treatment, it is important that you visit your dentist every month. From time to time, you’ll need to come again to let them check your progress and to ensure everything is going as planned. Your dentist will also be able to help you make changes as needed. You may need to replace your old aligners for new ones as the treatment progresses. So scheduling regular appointments is absolutely necessary!
6. How Long Will Each Session Take?
Each session might take around half-an-hour. Normally, the dentist will record the images of your teeth’s progress to see if the treatment is going as planned.
7. What Is The Success Rate For Clear Aligners?
90% of my patients can complete their treatment within the stipulated period. What about the remaining 10%? Well, sometimes the treatment can’t be completed on time due to many reasons. Factors such as poor compliance, losing aligners, and remodelling a new treatment plan when the old one is not yielding result will negatively affect the success rate.
8. Can The Treatment Be Done On Weekends?
You can visit clinics that offer clear aligners treatment on weekends. Medissa Clinic is open daily. Our clinic operating hours are as follow:
Weekdays: 10 am – 10 pm | Weekends: 10 am – 6 pm
9. Do I Need To Extract My Teeth For Clear Aligners Treatment?
Yes, some cases may need extraction whilst other cases don’t. Bear in mind, aligners are not a good choice for those with wide gaps between individual tooth or severely misaligned teeth. In such cases, traditional braces are preferred. Certain cases of mild teeth crowding may require extraction before starting on aligners treatment. Why? Well, clear aligners are effective in tilting teeth forward and backward but has limited efficacy with overcrowding. However, that doesn’t mean all cases of teeth crowding needs extraction. Let your dentist do a proper assessment before deciding on the best course of action.
10. What Are My Other Teeth Straightening Options And Its Cost?
There are four options available (in the order from least to most expensive):
- Metal conventional braces
- Ceramic conventional braces
- Metal self-ligating braces
- Ceramic self-ligating braces
Patients need to choose which treatment is suitable for them. If aesthetics is of utmost importance along with a shorter treatment period, irrespective of cost, then aligners are the solution.
11. What Are The Pros and Cons Of Each Option?
|Slower treatment time frame (a minimum of two-and-half years depending on the case severity).
Braces are tied to elastics or O-rings, causing slower and uncomfortable teeth movement.
Harder to clean.
|Aesthetic value (options to choose a variety of colours).
|Brackets can easily break as it is made of ceramic. Once broken, patient will have to bear the cost of each bracket (MYR 300 – MYR 500). It also takes about the same timing as metal brackets to complete treatment.
|Metal Self-Ligating Braces
|Treatment is much more faster than conventional braces.
It uses a slide mechanism to hold teeth, allowing teeth to move freely and quickly (no O-rings needed).
Easier to clean.
|Visible like metal braces.
|Ceramic Self-Ligating Braces
|Less visible than metal braces (aesthetic value).
No O-rings needed, hence easier to clean and teeth align faster than conventional braces.
|Not fully invisible like aligners.
Ceramic brackets break easily.
12. What Is The Difference Between Conventional And Self-Ligating Braces?
Length of treatment period. Conventional braces take up to two years, while ligating can save you six months of treatment time.
13. Which Is The Best When It Comes To Visual Outlook?
Contrary to popular belief, aligners are not fully invisible. It is close to being invisible. Hence, they often go unnoticed. What is the advantage? You will feel more confident when you smile. Plus, there is no hassle of gum irritation or breaks from brackets and wires. By far, this is the best way to straighten your teeth in a discreet manner.
14. How Do I Care For My Aligners?
Easy! Every time you remove your aligners to eat or drink, you should brush and floss your teeth before putting them back on. The last thing you want is food articles getting lodged between your aligners and teeth. Also, it can stain your aligners. I recommend having a spare toothbrush handy; one in your car, and in your bag/purse.
15. Are Aligners Age Appropriate?
Aligners are great for everyone, from teenagers to grandparents! However, patients still need to consult their dentist on the suitability of the treatment.
Take Home Message?
Aligners are an ideal option for patients with minor issues such as mild misaligned, and crowded teeth. Complicated cases won’t experience the benefits of aligners as quickly as the above group. Again, at the end of the day, it goes back to proper consultation and choosing the most suitable treatment plan. No two people are alike so it is crucial to know your options to avoid disappointments and regrets.
For those interested in aligners treatment, visit Medissa Dental Clinic at Kota Damansara for a detailed treatment plan, as well as visit ClearSmile official website and Facebook page for more information.
Address: 29, Jalan Nuri 7A, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
General line : +603 6144 0600
Read more about ClearSmile in the articles below:
- Fear Of Braces? Unlocking The Alternatives With Aligners
- ClearSmile – The Secret To A Perfect Smile
- What Does Your Dentist Say About Dental Aligners?
- Owning Your Invisible Aligners – As Easy As ABC
- Confessions Of A Cheapoholic – The Dirty Smile
- The Prudent Smile – Making A Wise Choice
- The Aesthetic Generation – Why Is Smiling Important?