Clear aligners have seen a surge in popularity in the last decade. It is clear why clear aligners are so popular right now:
- Clear and transparent
- Allow for easier brushing and flossing
- Faster than braces for some limited treatments
- Require less appointments in some cases
Aligners are great for patients who had braces when they were younger and just need a “touch up,” as well as for patients who have mild to moderate dental problems like misaligned teeth, large overbite, no jaw alignment problems, and who have gaps in their front teeth (open bite).
Clear aligners, also called invisible aligners or invisible braces, are a type of orthodontic treatment that corrects misaligned or crooked teeth. They are virtually invisible and removable alternative to braces and designed keeping in mind the convenience and flexibility of the patient.
Aligners are not relatively new to Orthodontics. If you have seen what an aligner braces looks like, you may have observed that it seems to be made of some type of clear plastic. In fact, Vacuum-formed clear thermoplastic sheets were introduced into orthodontics in the 1980s. They were originally used as retainers. Today, these devices are known as ‘clear aligners’ or ‘teeth aligners’
Aligner trays are custom-made for every patient, depending on the severity of teeth misalignment.
Invisible aligners for teeth can be used to treat a variety of different cases, including:
- Crowded teeth — when the teeth overlap
- Overbites — when the upper front teeth overlap with the lower front teeth
- Underbites — when the lower front teeth overlap with the upper front teeth
- Diastema — when there are small or large gaps between the teeth
- Open bites — when the front upper and lower teeth slant outward and do not touch when the mouth is shut. This is a very rare type of malocclusion.
- Misaligned primary (baby) teeth — clear aligners can be used during phase I orthodontic treatment to make room for existing baby teeth and developing permanent teeth. Children between 6 and 10 years of age are candidates for this treatment.
Popular aligner brands in India include – Invisalign, SureSmile, 3M Clear Aligners, ClearCorrect, SDAlign, MaxDent Ortho, Toothsi, 32 Watts etc.
While most of these brands are In-Office Aligners, i.e., they require you to visit an Orthodontist who then plans the treatment for you and checks your progress throughout the treatment, At-home aligners like Toothsi offer completely remote treatment, so you will never visit a dentist or an orthodontist for checkups.
How Aligners Work
A CUSTOM TREATMENT PLAN
First, you’ll visit an orthodontist for a consultation. During the consultation, a dentist will examine your teeth and take a precise digital scan of your mouth or an impression is made which is then sent to the aligner company, and they digitally scan the model of your teeth. Then a custom treatment plan is made.
You’ll receive a digital preview of your new smile before the aligners are created.
After the teeth impressions are made, your custom treatment plan will be created using 3D technology. Once approved, the digital models are transferred to a production facility and the aligners are made.
From here, you’ll accept treatment and begin the process
ALIGNERS DAILY UPKEEP
You’ll change out the aligner trays every 1 to 3 weeks. For effective teeth straightening, you must wear them for about 20 to 22 hours a day.
Multiple aligners are used because a single aligner is only capable of moving teeth slightly (1 mm or less).
Each set of aligners will slowly move the teeth into the correct position. Treatment can take anywhere between 3 and 24 months.
The Orthodontist may place small buttons on the teeth to facilitate tooth movement
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR ALIGNERS
Always rinse them with cold or lukewarm water after removal
Do not clean them with hot water because heat can damage and warp the plastic
Brush and floss your teeth before wear
Remove the aligners before eating
Clean the aligners with mild soap daily
Never clean them with toothpaste
Always keep the aligners in a separate box