Orthodontia has radically changed over the last two decades. While once your only option to correct a variety of dental alignment problems was a bunch of metal, now there are two clear frontrunners in the tooth alignment market — Invisalign® and Spark™. These clear aligner systems are practically invisible, making teens and adults smile with pleasure instead of embarrassment.
At ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics in Clackamas, Oregon, Dr. Gary Chapman and his staff are proud to provide both clear aligner systems for their patients who need orthodontic work. Keep reading to learn a bunch of cool things you probably didn’t know about these systems. But first, let’s take a look at what all orthodontic solutions set out to do.
What are orthodontics, and what can they handle?
Any type of orthodontia deals with correcting malocclusions or bite problems. Some of the most common problems include:
- Crowded teeth
- Misaligned teeth
- Overbite (top front teeth jut over bottom teeth)
- Underbite (bottom front teeth jut over top teeth)
- Crossbite (mixed overbite and underbite)
- Gapped teeth
Traditional metal braces are a good option, moving teeth into their proper position by tightening wires and brackets over a period of 18 months to 3 years. On the upside, compliance is 100% since you can’t take them in and out. On the downside, they can cause pain while your teeth are moving, cuts from the brackets and any snapped wires, and they’re difficult to clean. They can also require taking time off from work or school for adjustments and emergency visits.
In 1998, the FDA approved Invisalign®, a revolutionary new form of orthodontia that swapped the traditional flashy metal for clear, plastic, almost invisible aligners. And in December 2020, Ormco™ Corporation announced the official release of its Spark™ Clear Aligner System in the United States. It’s similar to Invisalign in that you have a system of clear plastic trays that incrementally shift your teeth, but the trays are made of a different proprietary material.
5 cool things you didn’t know about clear aligners
There are actually more than just five things, but we’ll hit the highlights here.
1. They’re removable
Unlike traditional braces, both Invisalign and Spark clear aligners can (and should) be taken out when you eat, drink, and brush and floss. This way they won’t get stained, you won’t have any dietary restrictions since there are no wires to break, and you can clean them properly and fully. You should, however, wear the trays for at least 22 hours per day for them to be effective.
2. They’re comfortable
The problem with traditional braces is they’re painful, and they can easily cut your cheeks and gums. Clear aligners, on the other hand, are smoothed plastic, so there are no sharp edges. Invisalign aligners are made of SmartTrack®, a patented, flexible thermoplastic created specifically for Invisalign treatment.
Spark's TruGEN™ plastic is clearer and is hand-polished, making the aligners even less irritating. The material also delivers better surface contact — the aligners grip teeth better, leading to fast, reliable tooth movement.
3. They need less time
Clear aligners can correct most orthodontic issues in as little as 6-18 months, and they don’t require emergency visits, saving you both time and money over traditional braces. ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics also offers you an accelerated treatment program with the VPro from Propel®, which use powerful vibrations to stimulate your tooth-supporting bone and shorten your orthodontic treatment time.
4. They’re digitally created for a perfect fit
While Invisalign and Spark are separate systems from separate companies, they both rely on digital and 3D technology to get your teeth where they need to go. Dr. Chapman uses a digital scanner to create digital impressions of your mouth; he can even render a 3D image of your mouth so you can see how your teeth will move over the entire process. Those images are sent to the lab, which makes and sends out the aligners. There’s no goopy mess taking molds of your teeth and picking pieces out of your mouth for the rest of the day.
The only difference between the two treatments is that for Spark, the lab also hand trims and polishes edges, preventing irritation and offering the highest level of comfort.
5. They require special certification — you’re in good hands
Both Invisalign and Spark require their providers to be specially certified to use the aligners. There is, however, one main difference between the two systems.
While both dentists and orthodontists can take the course to get certified for the Invisalign system, Ormco stipulates that their aligners be provided only by orthodontists. That’s because the company trusts that orthodontists understand more about the intricacies of how teeth move than a general dentist does, and will therefore be better qualified to treat their patients flawlessly.
Do you have bite problems and think you may need orthodontia? Contact ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics to see if you’re a good candidate for the Invisalign or Spark clear aligner systems. Call our office to schedule a consultation or send us a message online today.