Spark™ clear aligners are one of the most popular options for patients who want a discreet alternative to braces. But it’s not just image-conscious teens who want it. Adults, teens, and children can all benefit.
These special aligners are made from transparent plastic. It is very difficult to notice someone is wearing them, even when you’re having a conversation in close proximity to the other person. Much of the time, only your Port Orange orthodontist knows that you have aligners.
How Do Clear Aligners Work?
Clear aligners work in a similar way to conventional metal braces. Metal braces exert gentle pressure on the teeth with a network of brackets and wires. The wires are gradually adjusted so tension remains at the right level to move teeth gradually into the ideal position.
Unlike braces, clear aligners can be removed at any time. This is helpful for cleaning and can also be done as a precaution when playing sports. Still, most patients will need to wear clear aligners for at least 22 hours a day, including when they sleep. Wearing them less frequently makes treatment take longer.
Clear aligners are the perfect solution for anyone who’s concerned about how ordinary braces look. For most patients, they are just as effective as braces. The course of treatment can be anywhere from just a few months to more than two years depending on the patient’s age and the issue to be treated.
All in all, there aren’t many drawbacks to clear aligners. But it’s essential to be very careful with them. When braces are damaged, they can usually be fixed. In fact, there are some home fixes for common braces problems. But clear plastic aligners need to be completely replaced instead.
Aligners are fabricated using special equipment based on a detailed digital image of the patient’s mouth. The image is kept on file so that it can be reused again and again. Likewise, when it’s time to get a new set of x-rays done, the digital imaging can also be redone so the images are updated.
Spark™ clear aligners aren’t the only ones out there. In fact, you might have heard of the Invisalign® brand. At Beauchamp Orthodontics, we offer both Spark™ and Invisalign®. Only orthodontists who’ve undergone lots of special training can perform these treatments, so you know you’re getting quality care.
Not All Kids Can Qualify to Use Spark™ Clear Aligners
Even though Spark™ can be suitable for patients of almost any age, there are some caveats. It’s important to choose the orthodontic treatment that will have the best effect in your specific situation. Sometimes, Spark™ clear aligners just aren’t right for a particular patient.
As a general rule, traditional metal braces are the best option for the most severe cases. And when you get started early in life, you’re even more likely to see the benefits in the mirror fast. Teens usually have their course of treatment completed several months faster than an adult with the same issue would.
Before choosing braces or clear aligners, it’s useful to get a full orthodontic examination from a doctor you trust. Dr. Beauchamp will walk you through the treatment options, helping your teen understand what the likely results of each choice will be. That way, the whole family can move forward with confidence.
Let’s take a closer look at the qualifications for using Spark™ clear aligners.
All Patients Must Have All of Their Permanent Teeth
To benefit from Spark™, patients must have all of their permanent teeth, including second molars.
Not everyone gets second molars, also known as wisdom teeth. The trick here is that they can come in at any time between the ages of 17 to 25. If a kid is in the process of getting wisdom teeth, then they will have to wait until they have come in completely before using Spark™.
That means, in practice, the youngest patient for Spark™ clear aligners is 17.
What if a patient is a little bit older and shows no signs of getting second molars yet? While it’s not clear if someone will ever get second molars, an x-ray can help you understand your options. Working with a Port Orange orthodontist, you can decide whether going forward with Spark™ plastic aligners is wise.
Patients Must Not Have Severe Orthodontic Issues
Clear aligners aren’t designed to help with the most serious orthodontic issues. To understand whether they can help, your orthodontist will consult x-rays and learn about your treatment goals. Sometimes, a tooth is at such a radical angle that it can’t be straightened using aligners alone.
Aligners also might not be appropriate for patients who have very large gaps in their teeth or whose teeth are so crowded that some of them overlap significantly. Cases like these require braces because braces can exert more pressure on the teeth in a more focused way than aligners do.
Even if an orthodontic problem looks striking in the mirror, don’t stress. It may be possible to use clear plastic aligners after all. Aligners have helped millions of patients all around the world and they’re more advanced every day. That’s why it’s so vital to talk to an orthodontist after you finish researching online.
Patients Must Be Ready to Take Care of Their Aligners
It might seem obvious, but kids and teens need to know how to take care of their aligners.
Aligners aren’t hard to take care of, but it’s important to get used to it as soon as possible. Once it’s part of the daily routine, it’s not any more difficult than brushing your teeth. Kids who brush at least twice a day and floss once daily already have all the habits they need to keep their aligners fresh and safe.
Cleaning the aligners only takes a few minutes, and you can even take them out while you do it. Some people put them in a diluted cleaning solution, exactly the same way you might treat dentures. This is a responsibility, but it’s one that most kids can get ready for.
A bigger issue is keeping aligners safe from accidents.
Replacing a set of aligners is a significant investment and takes a few days up to a few weeks. With that in mind, kids should take care whenever they need to remove their aligners. Many young athletes will keep their aligners off on game day and instead wear an athletic mouth guard to protect their teeth.
Get All the Facts You Need About Clear Plastic Aligners from Beauchamp Orthodontics
It’s a great idea to do online research before visiting your orthodontist. The only way you can get the right facts for you, though, is by asking questions during an exam. Dr. Beauchamp will be glad to answer everything you and your child need to know.
It all starts by visiting our fun, family-friendly office. You can get to know our team and hear all the latest on your treatment options. Schedule a consultation to get started today. We look forward to meeting you in Port Orange soon.