There are many different orthodontic procedures. Your orthodontist will recommend the one that best suits your needs and concerns. Aligners are an innovative alternative to traditional orthodontic devices. They are perfect for patients seeking to improve the alignment of their teeth without having to wear a traditional orthodontic device.
What are aligners?
Aligners are transparent, removable devices that cover the entire surface of your teeth. They apply corrective pressure on specific areas to gently but progressively reposition your teeth, a fraction of a millimeter at a time.
Aligners are custom-made to fit your teeth perfectly. Moulded out of durable, thermoplastic material, with no metal. They are changed regularly, about every three to four weeks. Each new aligner exerts just the right amount of pressure on specific teeth until the final desired position is achieved.
Aligners can adjust your teeth in a controlled, comfortable way.
Who can use aligners?
Aligners are transparent and very discreet. Adults prefer this option to traditional, more apparent orthodontic devices, like braces.
To find out if aligners are right for you, the dentist will perform a complete assessment of your mouth. Some serious alignment problems or other dental issues cannot be corrected with aligners.
In general, aligners can be used to correct overlapping teeth, wide gaps between teeth, some malocclusion problems (overbites or underbites) and upper and lower teeth misalignments. However, if teeth need to be moved substantially, the dentist will recommend traditional orthodontic devices.
Starting the treatment
Before starting any orthodontic procedure, the dentist will perform a complete assessment of your mouth to determine if any extractions are needed.
Then, digital impressions of your teeth will be taken using a digital scanner. The image is transferred to 3D virtual modelling software. The dentist then prepares the treatment plan by determining how your teeth will shift over time until they’ve reached their final position.
Finally, the dental lab prepares a mould as well as the custom-made transparent aligners.
Advantages of aligners
1) Cosmetic appeal
The biggest advantage is their appearance. Because they’re invisible, aligners are very discreet.
Aligners are perfectly moulded to your teeth and do not have any metal parts. They are comfortable and smooth to prevent injuries to the inside of your mouth. In addition, they exert gentle and gradual pressure to ensure minimal discomfort.
Aligners can be removed for cleaning and meals, meaning you can eat anything you want during the treatment. You can also temporarily remove them for special events, like a wedding or for picture taking.
Limits of this technology
While aligners offer many advantages, they also have certain limits. Since teeth are repositioned using a device that is not fixed in place, the procedure is not as precise as with traditional braces. Sometimes, teeth may slip within the aligner and not end up exactly where they should be.
It is also very important to wear the aligners as much as possible, day and night. You should only remove them for meals or cleaning. Otherwise, the process may take longer.
This technology isn’t suitable for all dental misalignment problems. Ask your dentist if aligners are right for you.