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Dr. Matthew Cavendish Is an Experienced Clear Aligner Dentist

Dr. Matthew J. Cavendish, DDS, PLLC believes every patient deserves a beautiful smile. Having crooked teeth or a gap in your smile can make you feel less than confident. In the past, many people didn’t seek orthodontic treatment because they were embarrassed about wearing the clunky, traditional metal braces. However, today’s technology has made invisible braces a discreet, convenient treatment option for patients of all ages. Below, you’ll find frequently asked questions we receive about Spark clear aligners from our Phoenix, AZ patients. If you’d be interested in learning more about the benefits, we urge you to schedule a consultation with our experienced clear aligner dentist today!

What are Spark Clear Aligners? How Does Clear Aligner Treatment Work?

Spark clear aligners are an alternative orthodontic treatment that has been changing lives. Patients wear clear, removable aligners to straighten their teeth gradually without the use of wires or brackets. Each set of aligners is custom-made for each patient to apply the right amount of gentle pressure in the right areas of their smile. You’ll wear each set of aligners for about 2-4 weeks before swapping them out for a different set. Basically, your teeth are being adjusted slightly in careful increments. Clear aligner treatment is digitalized to map out the best results for every patient, and every step of the treatment process is monitored closely by your clear aligner dentist. Clear aligner aftercare is also convenient. Once your treatment is complete, we may have you wear a retainer at night to maintain your teeth’s new position.

What Are the Benefits of Clear Aligners Vs. Braces?

Clear aligners straighten your teeth without the clunky metal brackets and wires found in traditional braces. Because they’re removable, you won’t have to worry about what you eat or about trying to brush and floss around them. Because they’re practically invisible, nobody will be able to tell you’re wearing them, which is appealing for our self-conscious teen and adult patients. Many patients have also told us they’re more comfortable to wear than traditional braces. We’ll go over all the benefits in more depth during your consultation.

How Long Will I Have to Wear Clear Aligners?

Clear aligner treatment is customized for every patient’s needs. While the treatment time will vary, the average treatment time for adult patients is 12-18 months. Tweens and teens may require slightly longer treatment times, ranging from 2-3 years in many cases. Some patients have corrected their smile in as little as six months. Regardless of your recommended treatment time, clear aligners must be worn 20-22 hours per day for the most effective treatment. We generally advise only taking them out to eat, drink, or brush and floss your teeth. Significant gaps in treatment time can derail your progress. You should notice progress within the first few weeks of wearing them.

What Are Clear Aligners Made Of? Do They Hurt?

Clear aligners is FDA-approved for your safety. Clear aligners do not contain harmful chemicals like latex. They are made from a patented thermoplastic material designed with the patient’s comfort in mind. Clear aligners do not have any sharp edges to dig into your gums, so most of our patients find them more comfortable to wear than traditional metal braces. Patients may experience pressure on their teeth throughout the course of treatment. It’s not uncommon to experience soreness or sensitivity every time you swap aligners. However, pain is minimal and should subside within a few days. If you encounter more severe pain, you should talk to your provider. Adjustments may need to be made to alleviate the pressure. Sometimes, we may prescribe or suggest over-the-counter pain medications for minor discomfort and headaches caused by wearing the clear aligners. Many patients use orthodontic wax to help ease the pressure when switching.

Are Clear Aligners Different from Other Aligners?

Perhaps you’ve noticed ads on your social media feed for mail-order teeth aligners that look like professional clear aligners but may cost less. They may look similar, but they are far from being the same thing. These mail-order aligners do not utilize x-rays or oral exams, nor do they use a progressive series of aligners. They’re made using a basic impression of your teeth and remain the same during your treatment. Not only are our custom made clear aligners more comfortable to wear, but they also offer more successful results than many of the alternatives.

Who Makes the Best Candidate for Clear Aligner Treatment?

Most patients requiring orthodontic treatment will make an ideal candidate for clear aligners. Clear aligners have been used to correct gaps, overbites, underbites, overcrowding, crossbites, and many other alignment issues. This treatment may even be used in conjunction with other TMJ treatments to correct jaw misalignments. Patients with severe gum disease, receding gums, or complicated alignment issues may not benefit from clear aligner treatment. We also generally do not recommend clear aligners for children, as their jaws and teeth are not finished growing. Some tweens and teens do benefit from clear aligners. Talk to your dentist to see if clear aligner treatment is a good fit for you.

How Often Will I Need to Visit My Dentist?

Every patient and every smile are unique. Most patients come back every 4-6 weeks to receive their new set of clear aligners. However, you may need to see us more often to monitor your treatment progress or if you experience any complications. Our dentist will determine the frequency of your visits during your treatment evaluation.

How Do I Care for My Clear Aligners?

For the best patient experience, we recommend removing your clear aligners every morning. Because bacteria often builds up overnight while you’re sleeping, it’s important to clean your teeth and aligners after you wake up in the morning. To clean your aligners, we suggest using water or a clear anti-bacterial soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush off any lingering food particles or plaque. You may also soak them in a special denture cleaner. We also recommend removing them to brush and floss your teeth after every meal and before you go to bed.

Are There Any Food Restrictions When Wearing Clear Aligners?

One of the biggest benefits of wearing clear aligners is that you won’t have to worry about changing your diet. You can remove them while you eat or drink, so you won’t have to worry about sticky or hard foods damaging them. We suggest brushing and flossing your teeth before putting them back in to keep them clean and free of bacteria and odor build-ups. Allowing food particles to remain trapped between your teeth and the aligners could cause future cavities and other dental issues.

How Long Has This Technology Been Around?

Clear aligner technology has been around since the late 1990s, although the concept of using a series of aligners was first envisioned in the 1940s. The idea had to wait for computer technology to make it a reality. The number of satisfied clear aligner patients increases every year. Today, more than four million patients worldwide have been treated using clear aligners. You can feel confident in your decision to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cavendish.

Do Clear Aligners Cost More Than Traditional Orthodontics?

Clear aligner treatment costs will vary by provider and patient. The complexity of your dental or alignment issue and your treatment’s expected duration will impact the final price. In general, we think you’ll find the clear aligner costs on par with more conventional orthodontic treatments. We’ll be able to tell you more and compare treatment costs during your consultation.

Is Clear Aligner Treatment Covered by Dental Insurance?

Coverage will vary according to your dental insurance provider and plan. More insurance providers have added clear aligner treatment to their plans due to its popularity and oral health benefits. Even if it isn’t covered entirely, many plans offer at least partial coverage today. Our office accepts most major dental insurance plans, including Aetna, Cigna, and Delta Dental. You may be able to use money from your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to cover any insurance gaps. We also offer third-party financing through CareCredit to help patients paying out-of-pocket expenses. Our staff will work with you to develop the best payment plan for your needs. All you have to do is ask!

Do I Need a Referral for a Clear Aligner Consultation?

It’s essential to visit a qualified provider, as specialized training is required for this type of orthodontic treatment. Not all dentists are qualified for all brands of clear aligners, but Dr. Matthew J. Cavendish, DDS, PLLC offers this service. No referral is necessary to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cavendish in Phoenix, AZ. Please contact us today for more details or to request an appointment!

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