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It’s difficult to remember a time when traditional metal and wire braces weren’t the only way to straighten teeth, but clear aligners are helping to make them a thing of the past. While traditional braces are still the choice of dentists treating more severe alignment issues, now patients have choices and more convenient options that achieve the same result without the unattractive stigma of “metal mouth.”

Clear aligners first came on the market in 2000 after a Stanford University graduate with no dental background took the concept of the plastic retainer and, with the help of 3D imaging software, figured out how to use it to straighten teeth. Aligners are made from a custom-made, clear plastic that is molded directly from the patient’s own teeth. A series of trays are made of them, each with slight adjustments to slowly conform the teeth into alignment. The patient switches them out every two weeks until the desired result is achieved.

The advantages of clear aligners are many. The first and most obvious benefit is the fact that they are practically unnoticeable–invisible to the average onlooker. So, aligners appeal to those who are interested in hiding their orthodontic treatment. Secondly, aligners can be removed for eating, drinking, toothbrushing, and cleaning. Finally, there are fewer visits to the dentist to make the adjustments since the aligners are already adjusted for you.

If you’d like more information on the benefits of clear aligners, call Dr. Derek C. Barnes and our helpful team at Derek C. Barnes, DMD. Phone: 704-849-6700, or come by our office in Charlotte, North Carolina.