clear aligner therapy

What is clear aligner therapy and how does it work?

Most people want perfectly straight and well-aligned teeth. However, not everybody is lucky enough for this to happen naturally. However, there are options for those who want to straighten their teeth and one of these options is “invisible braces”, also called “clear aligners” or “clear braces”. As the name suggests, clear aligners are invisible.

Clear aligner therapy is an orthodontic treatment that is used to straighten teeth. This is done through the application of a set of clear dental appliances shaped to the patient’s teeth. Given time, these appliances gradually apply gentle pressure on the teeth and move them throughout the mouth, thereby stimulating teeth movement.

Clear aligners reshape the teeth so that they remain sturdy and rooted in their new positions. Clear aligners work like traditional braces, but are more discreet and less conspicuous. Clear aligners help treat crowded teeth and are also the right treatment for overbite or crossbite.

How do Aligners Work?

Like traditional braces, aligners work by moving teeth a little at a time. Before actual treatment begins, your orthodontist will examine you and not only take your detailed dental history but will also take X-rays, photographs, and digital scans of the teeth. All of this information helps your orthodontist arrive at a diagnosis so that she can work with the aligner software to not only design your smile but can also plan the treatment process.

This teeth straightening treatment process includes which tooth moves where and in what order. This guides all the teeth into healthy positions. It is important to note that there will be movement of all teeth, not just the ones that are visible when you smile. The goal of aligner therapy is a healthy bite, that is, top and bottom teeth that fit properly together.

Moving teeth is a complex process and needs to be done by a qualified orthodontist, who will supervise the process from start to finish. If you have clear aligners, you will need to schedule a check-up with your orthodontist every six to ten weeks.

Keeping your photographs or digital scans in mind, a series of plastic aligners are created. This is the starting point. The aligners are plastic replicas of your teeth and fit perfectly over them. Wearing these aligners puts gentle pressure on your teeth, thereby repositioning them ever-so-slightly. Also, elastics (similar to a tiny rubber band) are sometimes needed to allow the shifting of the upper versus the lower teeth. Elastics are attached to slots in the aligners, or then, are small buttons attached to the teeth.

Is it recommended that you wear your aligners for about 22 hours a day, or then, as recommended by your orthodontist. Each set of aligners are worn for a week or two before going to the next set. Over time, all teeth reach their ideal position as envisaged by your orthodontist. The total number of aligners will vary, depending on the needs of each patient. Just like in traditional braces, you will need to wear retainers once your teeth reach their new and ideal positions. 

Pros and Cons of Clear Aligners

There are certain pros of clear aligners:

  • Besides being virtually invisible, clear aligners are also removable. You can take them out of your mouth to eat, brush, and floss. You can also remove them if you need to attend a social function. 
  • With clear aligners, tooth-coloured attachments are placed on the teeth, to help the aligners move your teeth.
  • Clear aligners are shaped to fit snugly over your teeth and so, work constantly to move your teeth.

There are also certain cons of clear aligners:

  • Clear aligners are not the right appliance to correct every type of orthodontic problem. For certain problems, braces may be necessary.
  • Drinking something sugary or acidic with Invisalign aligners in your mouth or drinking and then immediately putting your aligners back in without rinsing your mouth out, can lead to cavities or erosion of your tooth enamel. The aligners fit snugly against the teeth and will trap the sugar or acid, holding it against your teeth for a longer period of time, potentially causing more damage. It won’t get washed away like it normally would by your saliva. Drinking alcohol with Invisalign or having the occasional glass of soda is fine but only if you’ve taken your aligners out and rinse your mouth out after.
  • If you eat or drink something acidic, with a pH below 7, ensure that you brush and floss properly before putting your aligners back in. Also, use fluoride toothpaste, as it strengthens teeth.
  • You may be tempted to remove your aligners if they cause some measure of discomfort. Try to avoid doing this, as aligners only work when they are in the mouth. 
  • You may lose or misplace your aligners when they are out of your mouth. Ensure that you slip your aligners in their case when you remove them from your mouth. Also, keep your aligners out of reach of pets and children.

If you should lose your aligners, or if they are causing continuous discomfort, do visit your orthodontist immediately.

Things to Remember about Clear Aligners

There are certain things to remember when wearing clear aligners:

  • Your teeth will only move when force is applied consistently. Due to this, you have to be disciplined in wearing your aligners for about 22 hours a day. You should wear your aligners all the time, except when you eat, brush, and floss. If you fail to do this, you will extend treatment and not get the ideal result. 
  • You should keep to the aligner change schedule that your orthodontist recommends.
  • You should monitor the fit of your aligners and contact your orthodontist if you have any concerns.
  • You should understand that it is impossible to accurately predict how many aligners or series of aligners it will take for you to reach your goal. You should try to keep an open mind and be flexible.
  • With clear aligners, you can lead as active a lifestyle as you want.

At Vistadent, the Orthodontic Speciality Clinic, we will design clear aligners in such a way that they fit perfectly over your teeth without significant pain or discomfort. We use unique SmartForce technology to gradually move your teeth into their ideal position. We will work closely with you both before and after treatment.

We will advise you as to the best schedule using clear aligners tailored specifically for you. With clear aligners you can lead as active a lifestyle as you want. So, if you are considering straightening your teeth, do consider clear aligners and visit Vistadent for the best treatment possible. Here’s to that perfect smile!For more information about clear aligners or any other dental problems, as well as other dental procedures, contact Vistadent, the Orthodontic Speciality Clinic, at 040-23388111 or +91 9866572482 or at info@vistadent.net or visit our website at http://vistadent.net/.

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