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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.