Clear aligners are an alternative to conventional dental braces. Clear aligners are used by orthodontists to gradually adjust the teeth in the same way as braces. Gradual force is applied by the aligners to control the movement of teeth, but without the use of metal wires and brackets.
Clear aligners are most commonly used in cases where alignment of teeth without extraction is required.
Clear aligners solve the following dental issues:
The treatment starts with taking x-rays, photos of the upper and lower teeth in the bite position, and vinyl polysiloxane impressions of the patient’s teeth and gums. Dental impressions are scanned to create a digital 3D representation of the teeth.
Once the dentist decides how to correct your bite, they’ll make a plan for moving your teeth. If you get the aligners, you’ll be given several versions that make slight adjustments to move your teeth over the treatment time.
The aligners are made of clear plastic or acrylic material and fits tightly over the teeth, but can be removed for eating and brushing. You’ll get a new series aligner every few weeks to continue moving the teeth into the desired position.
The treatment time can vary from six months to two years depending on the severity of each case.
Advantages of Clear Aligners
There are several advantages to using clear aligners:
Which will Work Best for You? Braces or Clear Aligners?
While both braces and aligners can help straighten teeth, each has its pros and cons. Take a look at the comparison of braces and aligners given below.
The advantages of using braces are, it is more functional for complex teeth issues and no extra cleaning is required, besides regular activities like brushing and flossing. However, when using braces there will be pain, soreness and discomfort due to the wire, brackets or tooth movement. There will be difficulty in eating sticky food or hard food. Tooth discoloration or breakage can also happen.
The main advantage of using clear aligners is that they are invisible/transparent. It can be easily removed. There won’t be issues like food getting caught or irritation to the gums. There’s no difficulty in eating, and since there are no wires like braces, there is less discomfort.
But just like braces, while using aligners there will be discomfort due to the tooth movement.
You’ll have to remove the aligner before eating or drinking anything but water.
NOT Ideal for Some Patients:
Braces are not ideal for patients who play rough contact sports regularly.
Aligners are not suitable for those who have done bridgework, patients with back tooth bite issues, patients who need to rotate canines or premolars, patients who need to move teeth vertically and those who lack the discipline to keep trays in the mouth for at least 20 hours daily.