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How Do Clear Aligners Work?

how do clear aligners work
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 3 December, 2022

How do clear aligners work? Clear aligners or invisible braces like Invisalign and Spark straighten your teeth and give you the smile you want without people knowing you are having it done. But how do they make your teeth move and what is involved?

Dr Rachel Hall holistic and clear aligner dentist explains how aligner technology and clear braces move your teeth to correct things like crowding, rotated teeth, overbites and underbites.

How do clear aligners work to straighten teeth?

Clear aligners are vastly different from traditional braces, yet they can accomplish a majority of the same results. They do so by encapsulating the teeth in a thin see-through layer of plastic that has been designed to push on the teeth and gradually move them into the desired position.

With 3D digital scans and the latest in treatment planning software and clear aligner technology, we can now plan and treat most orthodontic issues with clear aligners with remarkable accuracy and predictability in much shorter time frames. So you can get the smile you want faster and easier than ever before.

Clear aligner technology

Aligner technology is an alternative to orthodontic braces. 

It uses thin, transparent plastic shells to move teeth in small increments when worn consistently.

Instead of braces that are attached to your teeth, aligners are removable and changed at intervals of 7-14 days. They look like dental whitening trays or clear retainers.

A series of aligners are manufactured from 3D virtual models of your teeth, with programmed-in gradual or incremental movements from our treatment planned prescription designed to gently move the teeth into a straight even smile

The typical range of aligners per series is 10-35. It takes anywhere from one to three series of aligners to produce a good result.

The range and number of aligners depend upon the complexity of your bite, how consistently your aligners are worn, and how much resistance to movement your jawbone presents.

How do clear aligners work?

Aligners are designed to make small movements at a time by putting gentle pressure on your teeth. That pressure is transferred through your roots to your jaws.

Your jawbone responds to forces by essentially moving the sockets, and your teeth go along for the ride.

Because the changes from aligner to aligner are small, treatment with aligner technology tends to be gentle and comfortable.

Aligners need to be worn 22 hours per day to be effective. This leaves time for eating, brushing, and flossing without aligners.

How do clear aligners straighten teeth?

From a basic understanding, you might assume you just snap on the aligners, and your teeth begin to move.


That’s not the case entirely.

There are a few other “parts” to clear aligner therapy.

Since aligners aren’t attached to the teeth, we need little pressure points called attachments that give the aligner more grip like a handle to hold onto to direct the movements that the teeth need to make.

Attachments are tooth-colour bumps bonded to your teeth during your treatment. The placement and shape of them will depend upon the movement required.

Attachments help apply pressure from the aligners onto your teeth and direct them into the proper position.

Additionally, your treatment may call for elastics, which are also commonly used with traditional orthodontics to help guide and move the teeth into a better position or bite.

Elastics (similar to a tiny rubber band) are sometimes needed to allow the shifting of teeth. Elastics are attached to slots in the aligners or small buttons attached to the teeth.

Can clear aligners fix all orthodontic issues?

With the correct treatment planning, we can achieve the same results with clear aligners as we can with traditional orthodontic braces.

Clear aligners solve minor to complex cases, yet severe cases requiring challenging movements may be best suited for conventional orthodontics.

Dr Rachel Hall clear aligner dentist also employs a combination or hybrid approach where more challenging tooth movements are initially done with traditional style braces or appliances and then finishing is carried out with clear aligners.

That way, you get your desired result and spare no time or money in the process.

Things to remember with clear aligners

  • Teeth only move when forces are applied consistently. For that reason, you must be disciplined in wearing your aligners 22 hours per day. Otherwise, you’ll extend treatment and compromise the end result.
  • Keep to the aligner change schedule that is recommended
  • Monitor the fit of your aligners and contact your clear aligner dentist if you have any concerns.
  • Keep in mind that it’s impossible to always accurately predict how many aligners or even a series of aligners it will take to reach your goals. Try to keep an open mind and be flexible.
  • In some instances, the bone will not allow the teeth to move into the desired position. In these cases, you can either accept the result, consider braces, or look into dental treatments, such as veneers, to achieve the desired results.

Clear Aligners Dentist Kenmore

Dr Rachel Hall clear aligners dentist has completed additional training in orthodontics and clear aligners through the OrthoEd Institute and believes you deserve to have a beautiful healthy smile for life.

Don’t be embarrassed to smile, clear aligners are a simple and affordable way to get your teeth straightened. Call us today at 07 3720 1811 or fill out the form HERE.

  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 30 years experience, practising holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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