clear aligners dougherty orthodonticsIt is scientifically proven that it takes more muscles to frown than smile, but most of us are so busy already that we don’t have the extra energy to spare to use any more muscles than we have to! And, even as adults, having a slightly less than perfect grin makes us feel self-conscious about showing our teeth. Luckily, using clear aligners for orthodontic treatment makes it possible to fix that problem in a way that very few people will even notice the work that is being done.

How do clear aligners work?

Clear aligner treatment is a process of straightening teeth using flexible and invisible clear aligners that are specially created for your teeth. It has been approved by the FDA as opposed to other similar products which have not. In fact, the ADA has issued strong warnings against trying to fix your smile on your own by using methods, which can be very harmful, found online.

To get started, you first need to meet with an orthodontist, who is qualified to do the procedure. This is a vital step because you need to have a professional who is monitoring your progress so that you won’t experience permanent damage to your teeth or jaw. He or she will make an assessment and then design the best alignment system for you; after that, you will be scheduled for follow-ups for every six to eight weeks to monitor the progress and make adjustments as needed. It’s that easy! Sounds great, right? It really is, but take a look at a few things before you commit to your decision.

Significant Benefits

  • First, this procedure is an excellent choice for adults because of the near invisibility of the “braces.” You can have your teeth discreetly straightened while continuing your daily life, regardless of your age. There have been people in their 50s and 60s using clear aligner treatment!
  • Next, the aligners can be removed when you are eating, so that means…no food restrictions! Popcorn, crunchy veggies, and even chewing gum can be included in your daily diet.
  • Also, clear aligners are great for oral hygiene maintenance. You will be able to brush and floss your teeth without any worries of “missing a spot,” and you can even use whitening products since you won’t have brackets and wires.
  • Another positive aspect is that since aligners should be worn 22 hours a day, many people have cut back on their eating habits and have actually lost weight!
  • Finally, depending on your specific case, clear aligner treatment takes significantly less time than regular braces; it could be as little as six months (not counting wearing a retainer) but the ADA estimate is 12-18 months.


  • You have to have the self-discipline to remember to wear the aligners. It can be easy to forget to put them back in after eating or brushing your teeth.
  • It is possible that clear aligners may not be appropriate for your particular case, which means that you may have to choose braces.
  • As with any type of dental realignment, there will be some slight discomfort due to teeth being moved. However, you won’t have the discomfort of wires and brackets associated with traditional braces.

As you can see, clear aligner treatment has more advantages than disadvantages as compared to regular braces. However, it is very important to find a reputable orthodontist to guide you through the entirety of this procedure in order to maximize the benefits as well as avoid damaging your teeth and jaw. 

At Dougherty Orthodontics in St. Louis MO, our orthodontist and team have years of experience creating amazing smiles with clear aligner therapy. If you’re ready to start the journey to a new smile, contact us today for a complimentary consultation. We can’t wait to get started!