Clear Orthodontic Aligners
Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional braces and are designed to help guide teeth into their proper position. Similar to braces, clear aligners use a gradual force to control tooth movement, but without metal wires or brackets. The aligners are made of a strong plastic material and are fabricated to fit each individual's mouth. If a series of aligners are needed, each aligner moves the teeth in incraments until the desired movement is achieved. Aligners are worn for at least 20 hours a day to reach the desired maximum effectiveness. Each aligner is worn for three weeks before changing to the next one. The length of treatment with aligners depends upon the severity of each case. Typically, aligner treatment can be as short as three weeks or as long as six months. Overall, aligners offer a much shorter treatment than traditional braces.
Advantages of orthodontic treatment with clear aligners
Clear aligners are a great alternative for patients who want a straighter smile, but do not want to wear traditional metal braces. Also, aligners are beneficial for patients with previous orthodontic treatment that want to make minor corrections to their smile. There are several advantages to using clear aligners:
• Clear aligners are removable so it is easier for you to brush and floss after meals
• Clear aligners are easier to keep clean
• Clear aligners are comfortable and less likely to irritate your gums and cheeks
• Clear aligners can prevent tooth wear from grinding
If you are interested in orthodontic treatment using clear aligners, please call our office to schedule an appointment. Dr. Panchal and his staff are here to help you achieve that healthy beautiful smile that you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much overall tooth movement can I expect?
The current general statement is 0.5 mm of tooth movement per tray equals a total of 2.5 mm of movement in the treated arch using a series up to five (5) aligners. However, the answer actually lies in how many teeth are being repositioned. A rule of thumb is 0.5 mm of movement per tooth per aligner. It is important to understand that the maximum amount of movement allotted to any one tooth is 2.5 mm of movement and cuspid movement is about one-half of the movement we can achieve with incisors.
How many Aligners can be made for a patient?
Up to five (5) Clear Aligners may be fabricated in a series from a single work model. If more aligners are required to treat the mal-alignment, new work models or impressions should be submitted after the final aligner in the first series has expressed itself completely. The patient will continue to wear the final aligner until the next aligner or series of aligners are returned. The second series of aligners will be invoiced according to the number of aligners fabricated.
How often should patients change to the next Aligner?
Patients generally wear each aligner in the series for 3-4 weeks. If an aligner seems to not be moving a certain tooth, check for contact interference with the teeth mesial and distal to the tooth in question as well as with a tooth in the opposing arch. In some cases the interference can be below the gingival margin. To ensure aligner therapy is progressing on schedule, many clinicians will re-appoint patients at 4-8 week intervals.
Is a new impression (or model) required for a second series of aligners?
Yes, new impressions/models will need to be submitted to make a second series of aligners. The patient will need to continue to wear the final aligner or an invisible retainer should be made to hold the teeth in their existing position. It is paramount to hold these teeth in position until the next series is delivered.
What types of retention are used after Aligner treatment?
One option is Removable Clear Retention. Clear retainers made from .040 ACE plastic maintain the results from active treatment. This material lasts up to one year and is typically worn only at night. This type of retainer can be requested as an addition and will be made from the final set-up in the series. However, because of the many factors involved in tooth movement, many clinicians will wait
until the case has expressed to its best position and send in a new model reflecting the actual alignment achieved.
Another option Specialty Appliances offers is Fixed Lingual Retainers. There are several designs to choose from for the upper and lower arch. These retainers are very comfortable for patients and require no cooperation as they are bonded to the teeth.