Clear aligners might seem like the wild west of orthodontia, but these straightening methods are less new-fangled than you might think. Clear aligner treatments have been around for decades, and are a safe and effective way to align your smile. 

So why is there so much confusion surrounding clear aligners? In this piece we’ll dispel the common myths about clear aligner treatments so you can continue your research with a strong grasp on the facts.

Myth #1: All clear aligner treatments are the same 

You know how some people ask for a Kleenex when they need a tissue? Sometimes a name brand practically becomes synonymous with the products it sells. This could be why so many people say “Invisalign” when they mean “clear aligners.” Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners, but they aren’t the only name in the game. 

Invisalign is an in-office clear aligner treatment available through dentists and orthodontists at their individual practices. Other brands like ClearCorrect also offer in-person clear aligner treatment treatment. These treatments require in-office appointments with your provider every 4–8 weeks of treatment.

There are also clear aligner companies that don’t require face to face appointments, which can be completed from the comfort of your home. These systems are called at-home clear aligners, and can work for people with mild to moderate conditions of crowding and spacing. 

There’s a third clear aligner mode of treatment, which is a combination of in-person and at-home care. These options primarily occur remotely, but have at least one or more appointments. Plus, you’ll have a local dentist or orthodontist to call upon if you experience any issues.

Myth #2: Clear aligners can’t work for severe conditions 

Since braces are the method that most people think of when they imagine orthodontic treatment, there’s a common misconception that clear aligners are somehow a less effective option. However, clear aligners are capable of treating nearly every single condition that braces can. Even severe conditions can be treated with clear aligners. The only condition that clear aligners can’t always treat is severe overbite.

In-office clear aligner treatments like Invisalign can attach tooth-colored buttons to your smile to be used in conjunction with the aligners to help along more complex tooth adjustments. 

Myth #3: Insurance won’t contribute to clear aligner treatment

Many people put off orthodontic treatment because of cost. At-home clear aligners are already considerably more affordable than in-person options, but often people are seeking even more savings. Thankfully, insurance companies can also contribute to clear aligner treatment. 

It depends on your orthodontic insurance provider, your benefits, and the clear aligner options you’re considering, but it’s possible to get partial coverage for clear aligner treatment. The industry is evolving, and even at-home clear aligner companies can receive coverage for treatment. 

Contact your insurance provider and the company you’d like to get treatment from to learn more about your particular coverage.

Myth #4: Clear aligners have all the same restrictions as braces

Braces come with a whole lot of lifestyle changes, and it’s common to imagine that clear aligners require similar concessions. Fortunately, that isn’t the case — clear aligners are a much more convenient option. 

For one thing, clear aligners are removable, so you can take them out before meals. Braces are physically attached to you, so you have to avoid certain foods that could damage them.

Additionally, some at-home clear aligner companies offer nighttime only treatment, which only requires 8–10 hours of daily wear. Most people just pop in their aligners a few hours before bed and align while they sleep. This is a great option for people with packed schedules, who may not have the time during the day to think about straightening their smiles. 

Myth #5: Clear aligners are the same thing as retainers 

Online it’s very common to see people use the terms “aligners” and “retainers” interchangeably. However, these devices have drastically different purposes. As we’ve said, clear aligners are an orthodontic treatment option that applies constant pressure to your teeth in order to align your smile. 

On the flip side, retainers are used to keep your teeth in position after orthodontic treatment. Your teeth moved into position, and they could just as easily move out of them without a retainer helping your alignment retention. 

Both are a part of the orthodontic process, but at their core aligners are what gives you a new smile, and retainers are what helps you keep it.


There’s a lot of confusion surrounding clear aligners, but hopefully this piece sets the record straight so you can decide for yourself whether they’re the right option for you. 

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