If you don’t like the way your teeth are aligned, it can make smiling a challenge. At Chicago Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves to feel confident about their smile, but we also understand that traditional braces, tooth-colored braces, or lingual (hidden) braces might not be the right treatments for every patient. That’s where clear aligners, like Invisalign, come in. If you want to learn more about how these amazing plastic appliances can forever change your smile, schedule an appointment with one of our orthodontists today!
Clear Aligners – Chicago, IL
A Clear, Convenient Alternative to Braces
How Clear Aligners Work
Although various clear aligner brands may have slight differences, they generally work the same way. Instead of moving teeth through the force exerted on brackets and wires, the clear plastic aligners are fabricated to slightly adjust teeth one small step at a time. Basically, you wear the aligners all day and all night, taking them out only to eat, drink anything other than water, and perform daily oral care. During this time, the barely visible aligners gently shift your teeth. About every week, you switch to the next set of aligners, bringing you another step closer to your ultimate goal.
Indications for Clear Aligners
Many patients in need of orthodontic care qualify for treatment with clear aligners, which can be used for mild to moderate alignment cases. However, when treated by an orthodontist, even some more severe cases can be treated successfully. Keep in mind that those with severe alignment issues likely require additional help from traditional orthodontic treatment like braces on a few teeth or strategic use of rubber bands to get them there. Here are some of the problems that clear aligners can address:
When teeth overlap with each other, little nooks and crannies form. Unfortunately, these areas can be difficult to keep clean with regular brushing and flossing, which allows bacteria to hide and accumulate. When you correct crowded teeth, you make daily oral care simpler and much more effective.
Gaps Between Teeth
Little spaces in your smile are perfect spots for plaque and bits of food to build up. Not to mention, they can be visually distracting. Clear aligners can close these gaps so that your teeth have just the right amount of room between them for your floss.
Did you know that clear aligners can even correct how your upper and lower teeth fit together? When your bite is perfectly aligned, you can chew and eat more efficiently; plus, your teeth are less likely to wear down as quickly as they otherwise would.
The Benefits of Clear Aligners
For many years, clear aligners have grown in popularity, and it’s easy to see why! One of the most appealing features of clear aligners is that they are barely noticeable when worn. In other words, they do not alter your appearance during treatment like normal braces do. In addition, maintaining your aligners is easy, as is keeping your smile healthy. You just brush and floss as usual! While patients with traditional braces have to stay away from certain foods during treatment, those with clear aligners are basically able to eat whatever they want—as long as they brush and floss before putting the aligners back into place.
Understanding the Cost of Clear Aligners
Here at Chicago Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we treat each smile and patient individually. We offer aligners that we fabricate in-house, as well as using outside orthodontic labs to deliver a custom solution for different bites, budgets, and timeframes. As a result, it is nearly impossible to give a general estimate of treatment with clear aligners without first meeting with you. During your consultation, we’ll examine your smile and discuss your options with you. At that point, we can give you a more accurate quote for treatment.
Keep in mind that some, but not all, dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment with clear aligners. We’ll look closely at your policy so that you know what you’ll be expected to pay out-of-pocket.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Clear Aligners
There are several factors that go into determining the cost of clear aligners in Chicago, each of which are dependent on your unique orthodontic situation. That’s why we start off every journey with a consultation and examination, including capturing X-rays of your mouth. This helps us create a treatment plan that allows us to understand whether you need both arches straightened, the complexity of the dental movement that needs to occur in order for you to have a straightened smile, and how long you’ll need to wear aligners for. Based on all of this information, we’ll be able to provide you with a detailed estimate so you know what to expect financially throughout the process.
Clear Aligners vs. Smile Direct Club™: Which Costs More?
Today, mail-order orthodontic appliance companies like Smile Direct Club offer quick fixes at a low cost, but that’s not always the best option for every situation. While clear aligners in Chicago can cost between $3,000 and $8,000 and mail-in trays are a little under $2,000, price plays a large role in why some patients choose Smile Direct Club over their orthodontist. However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each, along with the goals you have.
DIY mail-in aligner kits have little to no oversight from a professional, which means that plenty can go wrong between the time you take your own impressions at home and whenever you receive your trays. This can lead to serious problems down the line that may need to be corrected by a professional anyways. With clear aligners from your orthodontist in Chicago, we’ll be by your side along every step of the way and make sure that you have a smooth, successful process overall.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Clear Aligners?
While some dental insurance plans may include coverage for orthodontic treatments, clear aligners typically aren’t included. It’s also rare that plans cover orthodontics for anyone over the age of 18. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that yours doesn’t! That’s why we recommend speaking with your dental insurance company over the phone first to find out if your procedure is covered.
Options for Making Clear Aligners Affordable
In addition to being an in-network provider with virtually all PPO dental insurance plans, we offer fair and competitive pricing for orthodontic treatment and are happy to file a claim on your behalf if you aren’t in-network with us. If you have any questions about cost, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team!
Clear Aligner FAQs
Clear aligners have been around for a while now and have proven to be effective for correcting most cases of misaligned teeth, yet you may have questions about them. That’s perfectly fine with us! Our orthodontists are happy to address any of your concerns about clear aligners during your consultation. Together, we can determine if this treatment is the best solution for your smile. However, we’ve answered some popular questions right here for your convenience.
What Do I Do If I Lose an Aligner?
With clear plastic, it can be all too easy to misplace or lose an aligner, which is why we strongly encourage you to put your aligners in the case when they are not in your mouth. However, if you ever do lose an aligner, you should call us immediately. Depending on where you are in your treatment plan, we may either order a replacement while you wear the previous set, or we may instruct you to move on to the next step a little bit early. Be sure to follow our directions so you can experience as little disruption to your treatment plan as possible.
Do I Qualify for Clear Aligners?
As previously mentioned, if you have a mild to moderate case of misalignment in your teeth, you probably could benefit from clear aligners. However, your mouth needs to be healthy and infection free in order to be eligible for this treatment. Before we begin, our orthodontists will closely examine your teeth and gums to make sure you’re in a good position for clear aligners. If not, you’ll need to work with your dentist to resolve the issue first. Then, we can revisit realigning your teeth!
How Long Does Treatment Take with Clear Aligners?
The duration of treatment with clear aligners varies from patient to patient, depending on how much correction is needed. Your compliance will also have an important effect on the timeline. In other words, if you follow our instructions, you’ll achieve the final results as quickly as possible. Overall, clear aligners tend to require less treatment time than traditional braces. When you come in for your consultation, we can talk about a specific timeline for your unique case.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Clear Aligners?
While many dental insurance plans include partial coverage for orthodontic care, not all of them apply to treatment with clear aligners. While you meet with us at your consultation, our insurance experts will look at your plan and find as many ways to save you money as possible. We also accept payment through CareCredit if you would like to finance your out-of-pocket cost at a low interest rate.