Know nothing about clear braces? Here’s the perfect way to start learning…
They were invented in the 1990’s, and first introduced to the public in the year 2000. Over the years, marketing of branded clear aligners, such as Invisalign, OrthoClear and ClearCorrect, have cultivated a large following. Dental patients, both adult and teen, now consider clear braces one of the main treatment alternatives for achieving an improved smile.
“Where do I begin?”
The process of clear braces treatment begins much the same way as with traditional braces. Patients receive a proper exam to answer the question, “Are clear braces right for me?”.
The extent of misalignment has a lot to do with the applicability of clear braces in any one case. Only an orthodontist or trained dentist can make that determination. Most professionals will agree that traditional braces are the go-to method, especially in cases of severe bite problems, jaw misalignment or crowding of the teeth. However, moderate alignment issues can be effectively treated with clear aligners.
What happens next?
Once clear braces are prescribed, impressions of the teeth are taken with plaster models. Additionally, digital scans can be used to provide a highly accurate picture of a patient’s tooth structure.
The orthodontist or trained dentist submits the case to the respective aligner maker, such as Invisalign. The case includes impressions, plus other evidence such as x-rays and photos.
Gradual tooth migration
Clear braces employ a clever procedure to gradually bring teeth into place. Since the aligners, called “trays”, cannot be loosened and tightened like traditional brackets and wires, treatment includes a set of several trays, each with a different design. One tray takes over for the previous tray in order to continue the intended movement of teeth.
The design of each tray is planned out by the practitioner in order to produce the set of trays. Patients visit the practitioner to monitor progress, and dispense the next set of aligners, usually about every two weeks.
A team effort
For a good outcome, patients must, in fact, wear the aligners! Not wearing them produces no movement, and intermittent wearing can cause a relapse of misalignment, to a point where the aligner is no longer relevant, and the entire process may have to start all over again.
Clear aligners alone often cannot treat certain conditions in the mouth, and the practitioner may require a combination of treatments, adding traditional braces to the mix. If the patient rejects that alternative, then compromises in tooth position will have to be accepted.
All in all, clear aligners are a revolutionary and highly useful addition to the methods used for creating a better smile for patients. Find out more from your dental practitioner!