From how long it takes to see results, to aftercare options, here’s the lowdown on clear aligner therapy…
If you’ve ever considered aligning your teeth, you probably have a ton of questions.
With a lot of information to process and various options available, it can be confusing to know where to start.
That’s why we asked Dr Jeffrey Sulitzer of telehealth company SmileDirectClub to answer some of the most common queries around dental realignment.
Here’s everything you need to know, in straightforward layman’s terms…
How does the process work?
For those of us who’ve never had orthodontic work done before, the whole area can seem a little confusing, but in a nutshell, clear aligners are a cost-effective, convenient, less visible way of straightening your teeth than wearing braces.
In fact, SmileDirectClub offers a dentist or orthodontist prescribed and monitored teeth straightening solution that costs up to 60% less than traditional braces without the hassle of in-person monthly visits.
You start by getting a 3D scan taken of your teeth, after which a UK-registered dentist or orthodontist affiliated with SmileDirectClub will review the 3D image, photographs of your teeth, and other dental and medical information to determine whether you’re eligible for treatment, and how exactly your smile is to be realigned.
You’ll need to have all your permanent teeth present, and be in good dental health to get started, but assuming you’re good to proceed, your aligners are then custom-made and shipped to your door so you can start the straightening process.
“SmileDirectClub clear aligner therapy is specifically designed to treat mild to moderate crowding and spacing issues,” explains Dr Sulitzer.
“Each aligner is designed to gently and gradually guide your teeth into their desired position, in accordance with what you and your treating doctor have determined what is best for you and your treatment goals.”
Do you need to go to the dentist to get started?
While SmileDirectClub’s treatment plans are prescribed and monitored by a UK registered dentist or orthodontist from beginning to end, you don’t need an in-person appointment to get started.
For customers who want to speak with someone in person to get started, you have the option to visit one of eight SmileShop locations dotted across the UK.
For those who want to get started from the comfort of their own home, SmileDirectClub can send an impression kit directly to your door, consisting of four dental impression trays, impression putty and easy-to-follow instructions on how to capture impressions of your teeth.
Once you’re done, you send the moulds back, and the SmileDirectClub team and your treating dentist will do the rest. Easy.
How quickly should you expect to see results?
So you’ve seen your treatment plan and started to wear your aligners – naturally, you’ll be wondering how long it’s going to take before you start to see a difference.
“SmileDirectClub treatment plans are an average four to six months,” says Dr Sulitzer. “You’ll usually change to a new aligner every one to two weeks as you progress through your plan.”
That said, you won’t need to wait the full length of the course before you start to notice things happening.
“Many customers start to see a change in their smile in as little as 30 days,” confirms Dr Sulitzer.
Good news for those impatient to get things moving.
Is it painful at all?
Pretty much our first question before any kind of dental procedure is the time-honoured “Is this going to hurt?”
Which is why it’s a relief to hear that teeth-straightening isn’t too daunting on the pain scale.
“It’s normal to feel slight discomfort when wearing aligners, especially at the start,” explains Dr Sulitzer.
“Much like the days after a good workout at the gym, most people experience some tooth soreness for a few days after wearing new aligners, but this is normal.
“It’s a sign that your aligners are working, gently moving your teeth to their final destination.
“The soreness should gradually go away after the first few days.”
What happens after treatment?
As with any dental process, aftercare is key.
“After completing treatment, you should purchase a set of retainers,” advises Dr Sulitzer.
“You’ll wear them every night to keep your alignment in place.”
From that point on, it’s just a case of maintaining your normal dental routine and continuing to check in at your dentist at regular intervals.
Consider your new smile, sorted.
Want to get started on your teeth-straightening journey? SmileDirectClub’s treatment plans start from £1,539, or £70.09 monthly instalments. Customers can either book in for a scan at a SmileShop, or order a dentist-prescribed, easy-to use at-home impression kit, without needing in-person visits. Find out more here.