If having a mouth full of metal is what’s stopping you from getting your crooked smile straight, then your worries are a thing of the past now. You can go ahead with your orthodontic treatment without any qualms with clear aligners.
Here’s all you need to know about clear aligners:
What are clear aligners?
Clear aligners are a set of custom made oral appliances that are used to align crooked or crowded teeth. They are typically made of transparent medical grade plastic, which makes them virtually invisible. These orthodontic devices offer a variety of advantages over the traditional metallic braces (primarily aesthetics and cleansability) and can be considered a great alternative for aligning teeth orthodontically.
How are they made?
The process of getting clear aligners usually starts with a visit to the dentist, or an orthodontist, who determines whether your irregular teeth can be corrected or not. The advances in clear aligners nowadays allow us to treat a wide variety of cases such as crowded teeth, spacing between teeth, underbites etc. However, keep in mind that not all cases can be treated with these transparent devices; certain cases of jaw discrepancies might require a complex surgical intervention.
Once the dentist deems your case suitable, a set of digital scans are made to obtain a virtual impression of your teeth and the biting pattern. These scans are then processed in a software that formulates a specific treatment plan for aligning your teeth. The software can also show you a tentative outcome of the treatment, which may help you visualize the entire process. Following the approval of the treatment plan, the clear aligners are manufactured as per the scans.
Making of an aligner:
Digital scan/Impressions → Treatment plan formulation → Custom-made aligners fabricated
How do they work?
Aligners work in a similar fashion to that of traditional braces. They apply constant, gentle pressure on the teeth to make them move to their desired location. The treatment, on an average, may take 10 to 24 months. Generally, clear aligners come in a set of 10-50 (depending on the extent of malalignment) and each set is to be worn for 1-2 weeks, following which they are changed.
Clear aligners, being removable, can be taken out while brushing or eating. However, they need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day for carrying out effective tooth movement. Once the treatment is completed, a set of retainers is given to maintain the new alignment.
Why should you opt for clear aligners?
To understand better about clear aligners, let’s take a look at the differences between Aligners and traditional braces.
On the whole, aligners are much more patient-friendly compared to braces, due to which they are also slightly expensive compared to their older counterparts.
What to expect during the treatment
While aligners do offer several benefits over traditional braces, do keep in mind that they are meant for repositioning the teeth and the pressure that is required for bringing about this can cause soreness and discomfort. Since teeth alignment with clear aligners is a lengthy process, the success of the treatment is highly dependent on your compliance. Ensure that you follow all the instructions given by your dentist/orthodontist for a smooth, uneventful treatment.