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Clear Aligners

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Clear Aligners

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Clear aligners are used to correct the mal-aligned teeth which are invisible braces. To know more about the treatment read the article.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Chithranjali Ravichandran

Published At April 21, 2021
Reviewed AtAugust 8, 2023

Introduction:

Are you conscious about your malpositioned teeth? And at the same time, conscious about the visibility of braces too? Are you unable to smile freely in public? And at the same time, afraid of smile with braces? Then no worries, you can go clear through your treatment. You can think of clear aligners. Clear aligners are taking away the social stigma of orthodontics.

What Are Clear Aligners?

In simple words, clear aligners are orthodontic devices that are plastic in nature. They are transparent and so-called clear alternatives for braces. In this system, trays are used for alignment or correcting the position of wrongly placed teeth. Clear aligners are more aesthetic when compared to traditional braces, gaining more popularity among teenagers and adult patients who want to get orthodontic treatment but are concerned about their looks during treatment.

When Can Clear Aligners Be Suggested?

Clear aligners are the best options in the case of

  • Relapse cases after fixed orthodontic treatment.
  • Mild to moderate crowding.
  • Mild to moderate spacing.

In What Cases Are Clear Aligners Contraindicated?

There are certain cases where clear aligners are not as effective as traditional braces and so are contraindicated in

  • Cases of skeletal discrepancy.
  • Cases of severe crowding and spacing.
  • Cases that need high anchorage.
  • Mainly, when patient compliance is not there, then it is strictly contraindicated.

Clear aligners were initially used only on simple orthodontic cases, but now they are used even for the most advanced orthodontic cases.

Why Are Clear Aligners Patient-Friendly?

  • Visibility - Clear aligners are not totally invisible, but they appear invisible and are more aesthetic when compared to traditional braces. Because of this feature, most adult patients feel comfortable having orthodontic treatment without thinking of the age bar and without any embarrassment. Even if the patient is socially active or in a profession where he or she cannot compromise on their looks, then in that case also one can go with clear aligners to address their problem. To some extent, it conceals the fact that the patient is undergoing orthodontic treatment. ·
  • Removable - Orthodontic appliances are of two types removable and fixed. Fixed ones are those that are fixed on teeth during the entire treatment, and the patient cannot remove them. Conventional braces come under a fixed appliance system. Unlike traditional, fixed braces aligners meant to be removed and worn by the patient themselves.
  • Patients are advised to remove clear aligners only at the time of eating and brushing. This allows them to continue their routine oral hygiene procedure. Not only oral hygiene procedure, but the patient can also eat whatever they want and no more food restriction list that comes along with traditional braces.
  • Hence no more extra appointments for fixation of debonded brackets like that of traditional braces.
  • Health Benefits Oral Hygiene - The majority of patients find it difficult to maintain proper oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment using traditional orthodontic braces.
  • Impressionless or Digital Scanning - Digital scanning is becoming more widely used and famous in dentistry and is one reason most patients choose clear aligners. Digital scanning is literally like a treat to patients as no more trays, no more impression material in the mouth, and no more gag reflux.

All these things are preferred by the patient when they go for aligners.

On top of these things, scanning comes with more accuracy, more detailing, and more comfort for the operator and patient as well. One of the best ways that are clinically more efficient and cause less discomfort to patients is the combined use of clear aligners and impressionless scanning or the use of digital scanning.

Comfort- Wearing clear aligners offers comfort because it does not affect your speech. It does not affect your esthetic. It does not hamper your oral hygiene routine. It does not affect patients eating habits, and so no more food restrictions.

What Does the Clear Aligners Treatment Procedure Involve?

Clear aligner treatment involves a team of an orthodontist, general dentist, and dental technicians. The process starts with a clinical examination by an orthodontist, then after clinical examination and diagnosis of your problem treatment plan will be decided for your case. As every individual has a different profile, there will be different treatment plans for every individual depending on chief complaint, type of malocclusion, or individual problems and concerns. Although this system is a home-based appliance system, it should be done strictly under the supervision of a certified orthodontist.

After treatment planning, digital impression or scanning is made on patients' teeth that generate a computerized model of patients' teeth. These scanning or digital impression are more accurate that records minute details without much discomfort to the patient, unlike the traditional impression technique. The orthodontist will later analyze the scans and design a treatment plan for a particular case.

After proper designing of the case, one can see digital transformation of own teeth from irregularly placed to perfect position after treatment. This is one additional benefit patients get from this system that they can visualize their looks after treatment. According to the decided treatment plan, the computerized model suggests stages between malaligned and desired teeth scan, and then aligners are created for each stage. Aligners have to be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day for one or two weeks. As per the case and malocclusion, the duration of the treatment is decided.

There are certain trays in a given set of aligners that can last for six months to one year. Patient compliance is more important in this aligner system. So if the patient is a non-complaint, then aligners are strictly contraindicated in that case. Eating with aligner trays in the mouth is not recommended. They are not designed to withstand the pressure of chewing. It leads to staining of aligners and food lodgment in between teeth and aligner tray. Patients are advised to remove aligners only while eating and brushing.

Which Is Better Clear aligners or Traditional Braces?

  • Esthetic – clear aligners are esthetically better than metal braces.
  • The severity of malocclusion- Simple as well as complex cases can be treated with conventional braces. In the case of clear aligners, only mild to moderate types of malocclusion can be treated.
  • Appointments- patients have to visit an orthodontist more often in the case of traditional braces. Clear aligners need a fewer number of appointments as compared to traditional braces.
  • Clear aligners are removable, and hence it is the patient's responsibility to remove and wear them on time. The patient should handle and maintain all the given aligners with utmost care. So individual responsibility and compliance are mandatory in clear aligners than metal braces as metal braces are fixed.
  • When it comes to the cost of clear aligners as compared to metal braces, then metal braces are cheaper than clear aligners.

Conclusion:

If you are concerned about the visibility of the braces and at the same time you want to get your malaligned teeth corrected, then you can go for the clear aligners.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Benefits Do Clear Aligners Offer?

- As their name indicates, they are clear or transparent. They do not look odd like the conventional braces and are esthetically pleasing. While in the mouth, one cannot notice it easily.
- It need not be worn the whole day continuously. It can be removed while eating.
- Oral hygiene maintenance is easy compared to conventional braces.
- They do not irritate oral tissues like gums, tongue, inner cheek, etc.
- It is comfortable and easy to wear by oneself.

2.

Do Clear Aligners Really Align the Teeth?

Clear aligners help in the alignment or straightening of crooked teeth and are indicated in people with mild to moderate malalignment. In such conditions, they align the teeth better.

3.

Do Clear Aligners Harm Teeth?

Clear aligners do not harm teeth if used under the advice and supervision of an orthodontist. However, there is evidence of root resorption associated with clear aligners. Also, several at-home or mail-order teeth aligners move teeth more slowly or faster than needed since these are not tailored and are not supervised by an orthodontist. In such conditions, these aligners can harm the teeth.

4.

Which Is Better Among Clear Aligners and Braces?

Clear aligners and braces have their own benefits, and their usage depends upon the treating orthodontist’s treatment plan, individual preferences, needs, requirements, and severity of teeth malalignment.

5.

How Efficient and Effective Are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners effectively treat mild to moderate crowding, diastema (a gap between teeth), teeth intrusion (one or two teeth only), and distally tipped molars. For severely crooked teeth, fixed braces are the choice.

6.

Do Teeth Return to Their Old Position After Invisalign Treatment?

Once you stop wearing Invisalign after your treatment period ends, your teeth tend to return to their old crooked position if retainers are not used post-treatment with clear aligners.

7.

Is Invisalign the Best Choice?

Comparing Invisalign and metal braces are quite tricky as both have their own uses, benefits, and downsides. Invisalign is best in treating mild to moderately malaligned teeth.

8.

How Do Invisalign and Clear Aligners Differ?

Both clear aligners and Invisalign are the same. While clear aligners is a general term for invisible teeth aligners, Invisalign is the United States-based brand of clear aligners.

9.

Do Clear Aligners Offer Permanent Solution?

Clear aligners provide permanent results if you strictly follow your orthodontist’s treatment protocols. Failure to wear retainers post-treatment can result in a relapse in teeth position.

10.

Do Clear Aligners Affect the Periodontal Status and Oral Health?

Clear aligners do not affect the periodontal status and oral health. Instead, they promote periodontal health and good oral hygiene. They can be easily removed, and oral hygiene practices can be performed hassle-free, thereby preventing plaque accumulation.
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Dr. Kandi Disha Yermal
Dr. Kandi Disha Yermal

Dentistry

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3d dental scanorthodontic relapsedental bracesteeth alignment
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