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Clear Aligner FAQ

Clear aligners for a girl smiling

Your Clear Aligner Questions Answered

Explore below to find the answers to the questions we hear most frequently from our Raleigh, Durham and Cary Invisalign ® and Clarity™ Aligners patients. Or, if you’d like even more detail, schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Clay VanderWall today!

Q: How does clear aligner treatment work?

A: Dr. VanderWall plans out your tooth movements on a digital, 3D model of your mouth. He can visualize different scenarios and troubleshoot problems before they happen so that he’s able to design the ideal smile for your unique facial features. He sends his specifications to the Invisalign or 3M lab and they print out custom clear aligners based on his prescription. The clear aligners fit snugly over your teeth and exert steady, gentle pressure to cause the teeth to move into their proper places. Each tray in the series is pre-programmed to facilitate certain tooth movements. As you progress through the series, your teeth and bite gradually improve until you reach your final results.

Q: Do clear aligners hurt?

A: No. Clear aligner treatment doesn’t hurt. However, your teeth can feel a little bit sensitive when you first start Clarity or Invisalign treatment or when you pop in a new set of aligners. This just means your aligners are working! Sticking with soft foods until the discomfort subsides can be helpful. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever, if necessary.

Q: Are there food restrictions with Invisalign or Clarity Aligners?

A: There are zero food restrictions with Invisalign or Clarity Aligners. Since you’ll take the aligners out to eat and drink anything aside from plain water, you can continue to eat all of the foods you love throughout your treatment!

Q: What are the benefits of Invisalign and Clarity Aligners?

A: 3M Clarity Aligners and Invisalign are both made from smooth, custom-molded, clear plastic, making them virtually invisible and extremely comfortable. Most people won’t notice you’re wearing them. The clear aligners are also removable, so you can eat what you want and oral hygiene is a breeze. Since aligners don’t have brackets and wires, they won’t cause irritation or lead to an injury if you get hit in the mouth while playing sports. Plus, there’s nothing to break, so you won’t have to worry about repair appointments.

Because aligners don’t require adjustments or tightening, visits are shorter. Thanks to the advanced software and computerized treatment planning, the treatment is precise and effective for a wide range of cases. You’ll even be able to see a representation of what your smile will look like before you kick off treatment.

Q: Can I chew gum with clear aligners?

A: Yes, you can chew gum. Since the aligners are removable, there are no food restrictions. Just be sure to take your aligners out of your mouth before you chew gum to prevent a mess.

Q: Can I smoke while wearing Invisalign or Clarity Aligners?

A: No. Smoking will stain your aligners and they’ll no longer be clear.

Q: How often will I need to visit Dr. VanderWall during clear aligner treatment?

A: It will depend on your treatment plan but most patients come in for a visit every six to eight weeks. These appointments are quick and easy. Dr. VanderWall will check your smile to ensure your treatment is on track and answer any questions you have.

Q: How long does treatment last with Invisalign or Clarity Aligners?

A: Every patient is different and the length of clear aligner treatment will depend on how complex your case is and how well you follow the instructions for wearing your aligners. Once Dr. VanderWall has evaluated your bite and developed a diagnosis and treatment plan, he will let you know how long Invisalign or Clarity Aligners will take to achieve the desired outcome. For some patients, treatment can take less than a year while for others, it will be about the same amount of time as braces treatment.

Q: How much do Clarity Aligners and Invisalign cost?

A: While we’d love to give you an exact Invisalign or Clarity Aligners cost, it varies depending on how complex your case is and how many aligners you need to reach your treatment goals. At your complimentary consultation, once Dr. VanderWall has examined your smile and developed a treatment plan, we’ll fill you in on the Clarity Aligners or Invisalign cost. We strive to make treatment affordable and accept most insurance, offer discounts when more than one family member is in treatment, and have flexible financing options, including payment plans with low monthly payments. To learn more about the cost and options for clear aligners in Raleigh, Durham or Cary, schedule a free consultation at VanderWall Orthodontics.

Q: How often should I wear my Clarity or Invisalign aligners?

A: For the best results, wear your aligners for about 22 hours per day. Only remove them to eat, drink anything aside from plain water, and brush and floss your teeth. If you play sports, you can also take them out to wear a mouthguard during games and practices. Just be sure to put them back in as soon as you’re done.

Q: Will clear aligners affect my speech?

A: Some patients don’t notice any difference when wearing Invisalign or Clarity Aligners. However, others do feel as if they have a slight lisp when they first start treatment. Any changes in your speech from your aligners will go away once you get acclimated to having them in your mouth. To speed up the process, talk as much as you can. Call friends, read aloud, sing to your favorite songs or talk to yourself in the mirror. This will help your speech return to normal more quickly.

Q: How do I clean my Invisalign or Clarity Aligners?

A: There are Invisalign cleaning systems you can purchase. However, the easiest and most affordable way to clean aligners is to brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse them in lukewarm water whenever you brush your teeth. This will help eliminate any plaque buildup and odor and keep your aligners clear and fresh.

Q: How do I know if I’m a candidate for Invisalign or 3M Aligners?

A: Thanks to Dr. VanderWall’s experience, most patients can get amazing results with clear aligners. However, the only way to know for certain is to come in for a complimentary consultation so that he can assess your smile and give you personalized treatment recommendations. To find out if you could benefit from Clarity Aligners or Invisalign in Raleigh, Durham or Cary, NC, book your consultation today!

Your Smile Transformation Starts Here!

Find out how we can give you a healthy, confident smile with braces or clear aligners in Durham, Raleigh or Cary, NC.

Book A free consultation

Your Smile Transformation Starts Here!

Find out how we can give you a healthy, confident smile with braces or clear aligners in Durham, Raleigh or Cary, NC.

Book A free consultation