Many people long for the type of straight, even smiles they see in magazines and film. Beautiful teeth can give you a beautiful smile and the confidence you need to go with it. In the past, braces were the only way to straighten crooked teeth. Nowadays, people can choose to correct orthodontic problems with clear retainers instead.

Clear retainers are discreet. While they're not quite invisible, most people probably won't notice that you're wearing them. Your dentist may even be able to prescribe Invisalign retainers for you without referring you to an orthodontist. These are four questions patients may have about invisible braces such as Invisalign.

1. Is Invisalign effective for everyone? 

Clear aligners are suitable for most people. This type of orthodontic treatment can correct overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Clear aligners can also be used to straighten crooked teeth and correct overcrowding. Depending on your current teeth positions and goals, your dentist may design a treatment plan that utilizes rubber bands, headgear, and other attachments in addition to your clear aligners.

2. Does Invisalign hurt?

When considering orthodontic treatment, many people have questions about possible discomfort. Your Invisalign retainers may feel uncomfortable initially, especially when it's time to swap your current set of aligners for a newer, tighter set. As your teeth adjust, this discomfort should go away. In the meantime, you can treat any minor pain with over-the-counter pain medication and cold compresses.

3. What happens if you don't wear your Invisalign retainers?

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, can be removed at will. Many patients find this advantageous since it allows them to enjoy any food they like without worrying about damaging their braces. However, it's important to wear your clear aligners as much as possible. If you don't wear your clear aligners, your teeth won't sustain any damage. However, your treatment will not progress as planned, and you may end up needing to wear your clear aligners for longer. Wearing your Invisalign retainers as your dentist prescribes is the best way to achieve the results you're looking for.

4. Will you need to wear a separate retainer after your treatment ends?

When people get traditional braces, they must continue to wear a retainer even after their braces are removed. This prevents their teeth from shifting back into their original positions. People who straighten their teeth with clear aligners will also need to wear a retainer. Your dentist can help you choose the best retainer for your situation. Many people who choose Invisalign continue to use clear retainers at night to keep their teeth from shifting.