Clear Aligners, what’s the buzz about?

smiling-woman-holding-invisalign-invisible-braces

Written by Dr Amrita Jain

August 23, 2021

Do you have crooked teeth but don’t want braces at this age? Well, if you need a hassle-free remedy for your maligned teeth, then clear aligners are here to save you. You might have heard the buzz about clear aligners, but what’s it all about?

The term ‘braces’ often gives you an image of teeth bounded with metal wires and brackets that are highly unaesthetic. Well, while using clear aligners you can smile confidently as it’s virtually invisible. A lot of people still have no idea of clear aligners and consider conventional braces as the only remedy for treating crooked teeth. Invisible aligners are indeed a great blessing for a smile makeover to straighten your teeth.

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What are clear aligners?

Clear aligners are transparent tightly fitting thermoplastic trays used to straighten the teeth that are out of alignment. Clear aligners are custom-made as everyone has a unique set of teeth and different jaw sizes. The dentist gives a series of custom-made sets of aligners to the patient. Each set is to be worn in a particular sequence for a period of a minimum of 20 hours per day for 2 weeks.

How do clear aligners actually work?

They apply a small constant amount of force onto the teeth, leading to tooth movement. Movement is very smooth as a result of bone remodeling. The saying ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ works well for clear aligners. Clear aligners are fabricated using computerized 3D technology. Each set of clear aligners is designed in such a way as to apply the varied amount of forces in the required direction. Wearing each set for at least 2 weeks is essential for the tooth to stay in its new position and to prevent rotation of the tooth back to its original position.

Steps in Treatment

After diagnosing, basic dental procedures like scaling (cleaning) and filling of decayed teeth if any are carried out. X-rays and photographs are taken, which aids in treatment planning.

Images are taken before and during each phase of treatment.

  • Impression

Unlike conventional braces for clear aligners, digital impressions are taken for accuracy with a scanner. These images help in creating a 3D model and even develop the end result. These scanned images or 3D models are analyzed in the lab, where they fabricate the best custom-made aligners.

  • Aligners

Once the aligners are fabricated, they are delivered to the patient. Wearing the aligners for 20 hours per day minimum is a must. Any inconsistency in wearing the set can lead to negative and delayed results. Duration of treatment varies according to the severity of mal-alignment. The patient has to visit the dentist whenever it is advised to track the treatment progress and to assess oral health.

In-clinic and at-home clear aligners

In-Office clear aligners require consultation by the dentist and treatment is carried out at the clinic like any other dental procedure. On the other hand, at-home clear aligners do not require a single dental visit. A complete impression kit is delivered to your doorstep. With these kits, the patient makes a self-impression of the upper and lower jaw, and they are sent to the lab. The lab in turn creates custom-made aligners and the patient uses them as directed.

At-home aligners are much cheaper than in-office aligners. Though not widely carried out as there are limitations, and treatment under a dentist’s supervision is always better.

Things to remember

  • Brush and floss before placing your aligners.
  • Use aligners for required duration in the advised sequence by the dentist.
  • Never immerse or clean aligners in hot water.
  • Remove aligners before having food.
  • Clean aligners with warm water and diluted soap or with cleaning agents given by your dentist.
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Are clear aligners and clear braces the same?

Often people confuse between clear aligners and clear braces. They are not the same. Clear braces are conventional braces with transparent brackets and wires often known as ceramic braces. They are more aesthetic than metal braces, but not anywhere near clear aligners.

What’s the buzz about clear aligners?

When traditional braces are doing a great job, why go for clear aligners? Well, it’s simple, why would you want to drive a geared car when you have an option to drive an automatic? The answer that comes to your mind would be convenience and additional benefits! So yes!

  • They are absolutely hassle free and you can remove them and clean them regularly. This helps in maintaining your oral hygiene.
  • Highly aesthetic as it is transparent and tightly fitting, which makes it virtually invisible.
  • These are also patient friendly
  • No risks of frequent ulcers or cuts in mouth caused by conventional brackets of braces.
  • There are no diet restrictions with clear aligners. You can remove your aligners while eating food unlike metal braces.
woman-with-perfect-smile-shows-with-finger-transparent-aligners-her-teeth

Limitations of clear aligners

Clear aligners are definitely a boon, but not everyone can opt for them. Only an orthodontist will be able to guide you through your case and suggest you a treatment option best suited for you.

  •  They are highly expensive when compared to conventional braces.
  • Not meant in treating severely crooked or maligned teeth.
  • You need to keep wearing your aligners sincerely. Any breaks in wearing them may not give you the results in time and there will be chances of relapse that is you will be back to square one.

The bottom line

With more and more advancement in the field of dentistry, Clear Aligners are clearly winning over the conventional braces. So if you are looking for convenient and better options to get a beautiful smile then why wait? Opt for clear aligners and have a hassle-free treatment and keep smiling.

Highlights

  • Clear aligners provide additional benefits than traditional metal and ceramic braces.
  • These are not only aesthetically better, but also are comfortable and patient-friendly to use.
  • Clear aligners need consistency to show results. So patient must wear them sincerely.
  • Not all cases can be treated with clear aligners, so consult with an orthodontist (dentist) for your options best suited for you.
  • In comparison, between In-clinic and at- home clear aligners, it is always better to get your treatment under the supervision of the dentist.

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Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.
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