Clear aligners are an alternative to the traditional fixed braces use to straighten teeth.
They are a progressive series of clear plastic aligners that fit over your teeth and can be removed during eating and brushing your teeth. Each set of aligners are worn for 1 to 2 weeks depending on your case and are changed progressively in order to slowly improve your teeth’s alignment.
Clear aligners are suitable for people who have mild to moderate dental crowding, mild spacing and people who have relapsed from previous orthodontic treatment. Some extraction cases can also be successfully completed with clear aligners.
Clear aligners function by applying force against the teeth in a pushing movement where as traditionally fixed braces working in a pulling movement.
When you have decided that you want to get clear aligners, we will need to do a 3D intra-oral scan which is used to make a 3D digital model. The teeth will be individually sectioned on the 3D digital model and teeth will be individually moved to the final desired position. So a 3D model at the beginning and end of treatment can be visualized.
Many studies have shown that patients with clear aligners will experience less pain and discomfort then patients with the traditional fixed braces. As patients will change the aligners more frequently, each change is more subtle and progressive therefore most patients will feel sensitivity or mild discomfort for 1-3 days. Patients undergoing traditional fixed braces often need to take pain killer the first week after having their wires changed or tightened. Aligners also are more comfortable for patients because there is significantly less trauma to the cheeks and lips since there are no fixed brackets
There are two main reasons why we may need attachments on teeth. Firstly, they help to retain aligners especially in areas where there are shorter teeth. Secondly, they allow for an increased surface area to apply specific force to achieve the desired movement prescribed. Without the attachment, some complex teeth movements may be difficult to achieve such as rotating a tooth, or extruding a tooth (pulling out a tooth)
After any form of orthodontic treatment, you should wear a retainer during the day and night for at least 1 year after and continue to wear it at night for the rest of your life in order to prevent your teeth from relapsing