Clear aligner trays, such as Invisalign, are a nice alternative for braces when you're an adult. They're discreet and convenient while improving the alignment of your teeth so you have a prettier smile. If you're thinking about getting the trays, you may be wondering what to expect with how they're made and how you wear them. Here's a quick overview of the process.

Your Mouth Is Scanned

Your dentist will examine your teeth first to make sure aligner trays are the right for your teeth. If so, a digital scan is made of your teeth to create a computer simulation of how your teeth look in your mouth and how they are misaligned. A computer uses this scan to plot out the changes necessary to bring your teeth into proper alignment. The changes can be seen taking place on the monitor so you get an idea of how your teeth will look months into the future when the treatments are complete.

The Custom Trays Are Manufactured

The scan of your teeth is used to create the trays for your treatments. You put in a new tray every week or two according to the plan worked up by your dentist using the computer's help. You'll go through many sets of trays over the course of your treatment plan. The trays are made of flexible material that's made to fit your mouth precisely. Gradual changes are made to the shape of the trays so they gently push your teeth toward their desired alignment while you wear the trays.

The Dentist Checks Your Progress

You'll take a few sets of trays home with you each time so your dentist visits will be infrequent. However, you need to visit your dentist before you start wearing the trays to make sure the first set is a good fit, and then you'll have periodic visits as determined by your dentist for checks to make sure the treatment plan is working. Regular dental visits are also needed for teeth cleaning and routine care so your teeth stay healthy while you're using the trays.

You Maintain Good Oral Hygiene At Home

While you're wearing the trays, you'll need to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily and after eating. This is easy since you can remove the trays when you eat and when you brush your teeth. You also need to clean the trays to keep them free of bacteria and odors. You can brush them with a toothbrush or use a cleaning kit supplied by your doctor. The cleaning kit has a tray holder and cleaning crystals that dissolve plaque and odors. You can soak the trays while you eat or brush your teeth and then put the trays back in right away. While you can take the trays out for short periods, you still need to wear them most of the day to get the best results.

Wearing the aligner trays might be a little uncomfortable each time you put in a new tray, but the treatments are not painful and they're more tolerable than wearing metal braces. You'll probably need to wear the trays for several months depending on the condition of your teeth, and you'll probably need to wear a retainer for much longer after that.