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How Clear Aligners Work & What to Expect

When it comes to choosing an orthodontic treatment, more and more patients are opting for a less conspicuous option than traditional metal or ceramic braces. Clear aligners offer an effective, nearly invisible solution to straightening teeth discreetly. Our CandidPro™ dentist can help get you started with a consultation if you’re interested.

In the meantime, here’s how CandidPro aligners work and what you should expect during your time with them.

But First, What Are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners are custom-made, transparent plastic trays that fit snugly over your teeth. Unlike braces, they are removable and made of smooth plastic, making them comfortable and less likely to irritate your gums and cheeks. Each aligner is part of a personalized series designed to move your teeth gradually into the desired position, planned out by Dr. Piper using advanced 3D computer imaging technology. 

No other patient will have the same aligner sets as you. Each stage has top and bottom trays molded to fit your smile, correct any crowding or misalignment, and achieve the look that’s both the healthiest moving forward and the most aesthetically pleasing.

The Treatment Process Includes:

1. Initial Consultation

Everything kicks off with an initial consultation at our Largo, FL, dental office. During this visit, Dr. Piper will examine your teeth and discuss whether you’re an ideal candidate for clear aligners. This evaluation is ultimately based on factors like the complexity of your case and your dental health. Impressions of your teeth are taken digitally, avoiding the need for the traditional messy putty.

2. Custom Treatment Plan Development

Using the digital impressions, Dr. Piper will create a precise plan tailored to your specific needs. This plan outlines the step-by-step transformation of your teeth alignment through each stage of clear aligner treatment. You’ll even get to see a preview of how your teeth will move and what they could look like after you’ve crossed the finish line.

3. Wearing Your Aligners

Once your CandidPro clear aligners are ready, you’ll wear each set for about 1-2 weeks before moving on to the next in the series. For best results, aligners should be worn for 22 hours a day, only being removed for eating, drinking anything other than water, and your oral hygiene routine. If instructions are not followed or aligners are not worn for long enough, corrections may be necessary which will delay progress.

You Can Expect the Following With Aligners:

An Adjustment Period

Like any new dental appliance, there’s an adjustment period. You might experience slight discomfort or pressure for a few days each time you start a new set of aligners. This is normal and a sign that your aligners are working, as they gently move your teeth to their new positions.

To get ahead of mild tooth pain, try putting in new trays before climbing in bed. This way, the adjustment period will be while you sleep versus when you’re at work or school. Taking a pain reliever at this time can also help for a smoother transition.

Regular Check-ups

You will need to visit our office periodically to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned. These check-ups are typically quicker and less frequent than those needed for traditional braces as there are no wires, brackets, or elastic bands to adjust.


Fortunately, taking care of clear aligners is straightforward. Cleaning them daily using a soft toothbrush, non-abrasive toothpaste, and lukewarm water is usually sufficient. Be sure to avoid hot water as it could warp the plastic. Good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing teeth regularly, is also crucial, as it prevents food particles from getting trapped under the aligners, leading to decay and stains.

Duration of Treatment

The duration of treatment with clear aligners can vary depending on the complexity of your case and how often the aligners are worn. On average, treatment can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months, but you might start seeing results in a matter of weeks. In fact, approximately 70% of CandidPro users finish treatment in 8.5 months.

Life After Clear Aligners

To maintain the ideal alignment of your teeth and prevent any unwanted shifting, we’ll give you a custom-made retainer to use. This is the retention phase of your treatment and while it may seem bothersome, it’s a necessary part of keeping the smile you and Dr. Piper worked hard to create.

Find Out More About Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are a fantastic option for those looking for a less noticeable, more comfortable way to achieve a straight smile. By understanding how they work and what to expect, you can start treatment with our CandidPro dentist in Largo, FL, feeling informed and confident. Call or text David W. Piper, DMD Family Dentistry today at (727) 548-7100 to request an appointmentto see if clear aligners are the right fit for your lifestyle and dental needs.