The 411 on Clear Aligners

Want to improve your smile but unsure how? At Barrett Family Dental in Beaverton, Oregon, your smile is as important to us as it is to you. We have many tools in our belt that can help, including clear aligners in Beaverton. Unlike traditional metal braces, clear aligners are a reliable and discreet way to straighten your teeth. Ready to learn more? Here’s what you need to know about clear aligners, and if they might be right for you.  


Also known as invisible aligners, clear aligners straighten your teeth using a series of tight-fitting, custom-made mouthpieces made from durable plastic. This also allows them to slip easily and discreetly over your teeth, unlike traditional metal braces. While approved by the FDA, aligners do require a prescription. Invisalign is the largest producer of clear aligners, there are other great brands out there.

How Clear Aligners Work

Since they gently position your teeth into place, clear aligners usually take less time to straighten your teeth than traditional braces. That said, you will need to wear your clear aligners for about 20 hours per day. Every few weeks, the aligners are replaced with new ones so that your teeth continue to be pushed into the right spot.

Aligners work best for adults or teens who have mildly or moderately crowded teeth or minor spacing issues. Patients with more severe crowding or spacing problems, such as a severe underbite, overbite, or crossbite, may need more complex treatment. Also, aligners aren’t recommended for children, whose teeth are more complicated to straighten. 

There are many benefits to using clear aligners, including:

  • They blend seamlessly in your mouth. In fact, they’re almost invisible from a distance and most people won’t know that you’re undergoing an orthodontic treatment unless you tell them.
  • They’re more comfortable than traditional metal braces and won’t poke your mouth and gums. Nor do you have to worry about broken brackets or loose wires. Clear aligners don’t cause pain, bleeding, or soreness.
  • Clear aligners can be removed for short breaks or while eating and brushing your teeth. (That said, you shouldn’t keep them off for long periods of time or get into the habit of not wearing them.) 
  • No need to accommodate extra dental visits into your schedule. You can simply switch the aligners with the next ones in the series every couple of weeks or so. 
  • You don’t need any special tools or teeth cleaning regimen to keep your teeth or aligners clean. You just brush and floss as usual.


How Treatment Works

On average, treatment usually takes between 12 to 18 months, depending on how your teeth need to be moved and/or rotated. The more crooked your teeth or off your bite is, the longer it will take. However, if you’re an adult who had braces as a child and your teeth have shifted over time, you may only need aligners for as little as 10 weeks.

Once treatment is done, you’ll receive a final set of clear aligners that also serve as a retainer to wear at night. This will ensure that your teeth stay in place.

Are Clear Aligners Right for You?

Dr. Barrett will help you decide if aligners are right for you. Once he has created an individual plan, your treatment can begin immediately. Each stage of your plan will show the progress that the aligners should make in realigning your teeth, so you’ll know what to expect throughout the entire process.

Contact our office today for more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Barrett.