Are Clear Teeth Aligners Right for Me?

Woman holds up a clear tooth aligner, similar to Invisalign or ClearCorrect aligners

Clear teeth aligners, like those from Invisalign and ClearCorrect, in many ways are a great alternative treatment to orthodontia you may be familiar with, like wire braces. Individuals receive new custom, nearly invisible aligners every two weeks or so that gradually push teeth closer and closer into alignment.

Woman holds up a clear tooth aligner, similar to Invisalign or ClearCorrect alignersMany adults find that Invisalign and ClearCorrect are a convenient and cost-effective treatment for aligning teeth without the hassles that come with braces. That being said, clear aligners aren’t the best treatment for everyone looking to straighten their smile.

Consider asking yourself the questions below and speak with our local Wasilla dentists to determine if Invisalign or ClearCorrect aligners are the right teeth alignment treatment for you.

Do You Suffer From Extreme Malocclusion?

Invisalign and ClearCorrect treatments are designed for individuals with minor crookedness or imperfections in their smile. A small gap between teeth or a couple of teeth that have shifted can be brought into alignment within a few months.

However, in cases where an individual has extremely crooked or misaligned teeth, our dentist may recommend traditional wire braces. A patient with a large overbite or overly crowded teeth, for example, may not experience the same great results with clear aligners as a patient with just a few teeth out of place.

Schedule a consultation appointment with our dentists in Wasilla, AK (also serving patients in Palmer and the entire Mat-Su Valley). By looking at how severe your malocclusion is, they will be able to recommend the best treatment going forward that’s specific to your dental needs.

Have You Had Braces or Clear Teeth Aligners Previously?

Many patients who had previous orthodontic treatment years ago for misaligned teeth choose to get clear teeth aligners later on for realigning teeth that have shifted out of place.

Previous treatment usually indicates that teeth aren’t terribly misaligned now. This makes these individuals some of the perfect candidates for Invisalign retainers or ClearCorrect teeth aligners because malocclusion is not too extreme.

Are You Concerned about Others Noticing Aligners?

Having braces as a teenager isn’t all that glamorous, but most teenagers aren’t in it alone. For adults, however, even if they would like straighter teeth, most would agree that they don’t want braces to affect the way they look. Many feel embarrassed and attempt to hide their braces when out with friends.

Another benefit of ClearCorrect and Invisalign aligners are how unnoticeable they are! Most people won’t be able to tell that you’re wearing retainers or aligners at all. You get the straight smile you’ve been wanting without needing to cover it up during treatment.

How Quickly Do You Want to Align Your Teeth?

The length of treatment is dependent on that degree of malocclusion you experience. If you suffer from a large over or underbite, or another severe form of misalignment, treatment with clear aligners will take much longer.

On the other hand, perhaps your smile only has a few crowded, crooked, or gapped teeth. Then Invisalign and ClearCorrect clear aligners will help correct those smaller imperfections in less time than other orthodontic treatments. Sometimes treatment only takes a few months to complete!

Will You Wear Your Invisalign or ClearCorrect Aligners Diligently?

The final question to consider is how willing and motivated you will be to wear aligners consistently. With braces, a patient doesn’t have the choice to simply slip braces off and on as they please. But with clear retainers or aligners, it’s a different story.

Our Wasilla dentists will ask that you remove clear aligners when you eat and brush your teeth. This is a convenience that persuades many individuals to choose Invisalign or ClearCorrect treatment in the first place. You won’t need to avoid certain sticky or hard foods during treatment. You’ll also keep teeth cleaner and free from plaque buildup that commonly forms around metal braces.

Woman at dentist receives custom clear teeth alignerBut the catch is that for treatment to work effectively, you need to wear aligners around 20-22 hours a day. If you fail to wear aligners for a majority of the day and while you sleep, it will take longer to achieve the great results this treatment can offer.

Invisalign and ClearCorrect take self-discipline and dedication on the patient’s end to work well. But when they do, you’ll love the end result!

Learn More About ClearCorrect and Invisalign in Wasilla!

The best first step to take if you are considering Invisalign or ClearCorrect aligners is to meet with a provider near you. For individuals in Palmer, Wasilla, and all of Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley, visit Meridian Dental! We are proud to provide these convenient clear aligners to patients with less extreme malocclusion who want a straighter smile.

Contact us to book a consultation appointment with one of our cosmetic dentists today!

6 Easy Ways to Ward Off Bad Breath

Couple in the snow smile at each other

Kissing someone under the mistletoe or at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s? Got a family member coming over for the holidays that’s a close-talker? Don’t be worrying about bad breath in social settings or the perfect moment! Keep your breath smelling great all the time by following these simple suggestions from your local Wasilla dentist.

Couple in the snow smile at each other

1. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

As plaque builds up on your teeth from sugar and other food particles, your breath will begin to smell worse. Keep some sugar-free gum on hand to break up particles and to stimulate more saliva, which can also help ward off bad breath. It’s important, though, that the gum doesn’t contain sugar, otherwise you’ll be right back at square one.

Gums with spices or herbs that naturally fight off halitosis, or bad breath, are another good idea. Whether you like cinnamon, mint, or another flavor, just make sure that it’s sugar-free!

2. Drink More Water

Just like chewing gum helps to encourage more saliva, so will drinking water. Having a dry mouth can cause bacteria to grow more rapidly, which will in turn makes your breath smell unpleasant. If your mouth is still feeling dry after drinking a healthy amount of water daily, talk with our dentists about what the problem may be and helpful solutions.

3. Switch Out Your Mouthwash

Woman pours mouthwash into plastic cup to protect teeth from cavitiesSome mouthwashes give your breath a fresh, minty aftertaste, but they don’t get down to the root of the problem: killing that bacteria. Find a mouthwash that is labeled as antiseptic, or meet with one of our dentists to find the perfect mouthwash for your needs. Your halitosis may be the result of an even deeper problem that a dentist can identify.

For example, if periodontal gum disease is causing your bad breath, our dentists may recommend a mouthwash that’s designed to help with inflamed gums and plaque buildup. Or a fluoride-based mouthwash may be the better fit if you’re having trouble preventing cavities and halitosis-causing tooth decay.

Look closer at the type of mouthwash you’re using. If it’s a cosmetic mouthwash that only masks bad breath for a moment, then make the switch to another mouthwash that actually helps fight the problem rather than just covering it up.

4. Invest in a Tongue Scraper

A tongue scraper is one of those inexpensive items that makes a world of a difference. Many toothbrushes and dental flossers even come with a built-in tongue scraper now! Run it along your tongue regularly to clear out any bacteria hiding in small grooves.

5. Stop Smoking

Admittedly, this is a not an easy way to prevent bad breath. We understand that for individuals who have smoked or chewed tobacco for years, stopping is no easy feat. That being said, quitting can have drastic effects for your oral hygiene almost immediately.

Smoking and tobacco are notorious for causing bad breath. In many cases, long-term use leads to gum disease, which again can be a factor for halitosis. Not to mention how much smoking can stain teeth. Improve your overall dental health by making this meaningful change. (Want to whiten your smile too? Let us help. Come to Meridian Dental, serving Wasilla and Palmer, AK with professional teeth whitening trays and treatment.)

6. Get Back to the Basics

We can’t emphasize how important it is to maintain good oral health. This is the key for any individual looking to ward off bad breath. Start by establishing habits like brushing twice a day and flossing every night. Visit our dentists every 6 months to clean your teeth and provide a dental examination. This way, if certain issues like a decayed tooth or gum disease are making it harder to keep breath smelling fresh, we can resolve the problem sooner.

If you struggle with bad breath, request an appointment today to visit our Wasilla dental office. Our friendly dentists will work with you to come up with the best solution to combat the underlying causes behind your halitosis.

5 Ideas for Keeping Teeth Healthy this Holiday Season

Family wears Christmas hats and sweaters and smiles at camera

Family wears Christmas hats and sweaters and smiles at camera
How we love the holidays! The time with loved ones, the magic of the season, and the perfect ending to another great year. But with all the festivities you have planned, don’t let your dental health slip through the cracks.

Here to help you out are 5 easy ways to keep your teeth healthy and looking great during Christmas and the holiday season. For more tips on improving your oral health, visit our family dentists in Wasilla, AK at Meridian Dental!

1. Decrease Your Sugar Intake

Oatmeal cookies on the kitchen table with a glass of milk in the backgroundMany of our favorite Christmas traditions involve sweets that could harm our dental health when taken in excess. Gingerbread houses, cookies for Santa, and Christmas toffees are among some of the sugary culprits we love to eat at this time of year.

Maybe this year, give your traditions a twist, like healthier oatmeal cookies with a sugar substitute or a cheese platter instead of candies to nibble on. If you do want to indulge in your favorite sweets, try eating these just once a day instead of throughout the whole day.

2. Avoid Sticky and Hard Foods

Christmas caramels are another Christmas treat we love! But sticky foods like caramels not only build up plaque and decay by sticking to your teeth but also can pull out tooth fillings.

If you’ve recently had a filling placed, or have small cracks in your teeth and other vulnerable spots where sticky food can get stuck, try to avoid such foods for a little while.

Be careful as well with hard foods, like candy canes. Biting down directly on hard foods can crack your filling, a tooth crown, or another part of your tooth. If you do have teeth that get cracked or chipped over the holidays, our Wasilla cosmetic dentists offer restorative dental services such as tooth bonding or same-day crowns to get your teeth looking great again. Request our next available appointment, or in case of emergency, contact us at (907) 376-9200.

3. Use Correct Tools for Opening Items (NOT Your Teeth!)

Too many teeth chip, crack, or break when an individual tries to use their teeth to open something they aren’t meant to open. Whether that’s to rip wrapping paper off a present, open a bottle, or crack open a nut, using your teeth instead of scissors, a bottle opener, or a festive nutcracker can cause some serious damage that often requires costly repairs.

Again, if your teeth do chip or break during Christmas, give our dental office a call so that we can mitigate damage quickly!

4. Watch What You Drink

More often than not, when you attend or host a holiday party some of the staple items will be bottles of soda and wine. However, both drinks can break down tooth enamel and even stain teeth over time. If soda is your preferred beverage, consider drinking it through a straw to help avoid it coming in contact with your teeth. More of a wine person? Go for a white wine that won’t stain your teeth as much as red wine will.

Feeling self-conscious about discolored or stained teeth? Meridian Dental can help there, too! Schedule a consultation appointment with our cosmetic dentists to learn about our professional teeth whitening treatments, with far better results than over-the-counter whitening strips or kits.

5. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene!

Santa puts toothpaste onto his toothbrushNormal routines may slacken during the holidays when you can stay up late watching your favorite Christmas movies or enjoying time with family and friends. But don’t forget to continue those good practices for maintaining dental health.

Brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist for bi-annual teeth cleanings don’t take a break during this or any time of the year. If you haven’t had your second (or your first!) dental cleaning and exam this year, contact our dental office in Wasilla, AK to book our next available opening! Then keep up the good habits that fight off decay and keep your smile looking bright all year long. From all of us at Meridian Dental, we would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!