Written by Dr. Tanvee Date | Medically Reviewed by Dr Shaista Salam, BDS; Zein El Hammouz, DDS, MFD/RCSI.
Do you want your crooked teeth straightened, but don’t want to go through the hassle of traditional braces? Are you in search of something invisible, that wouldn’t be noticed when you smile? If yes, then you are in the right place. This blog will tell you everything you need to know about how do aligners work.
Clear aligners are nearly invisible, tray-like dental appliances used to straighten crooked teeth. They use gentle, consistent pressure to move your teeth to a suitable position. The good news? Unlike traditional braces, clear aligners don’t require metal wires and brackets to work.
They are comfortable, nearly invisible, and gentle on your teeth. But, how do aligners work?
Throughout the treatment, a number of aligner trays are required to achieve the desired position of the teeth. A set of aligners is manufactured with the help of 3D scans of your teeth and jaws. Each aligner tray applies gentle pressure on your teeth. As a result, physical positions of your teeth change and improve. After each smaller movement is achieved by an aligner, you will move on to the next aligner tray, which will bring further movements. This continues till your teeth are straightened, and your smile is improved. (1)
Clear aligners are as effective as metal braces; only with a much better appearance and a higher level of comfort, oral hygiene (2)
For effective results, you need to wear them for at least 22 hours a day. (1) Throughout the treatment duration, your doctor will conduct regular appointments to monitor progress, even in mild cases. Thus, treatment with clear aligners is more convenient with fewer, shorter dental visits.
If worn while eating, aligners can become a home to a lot of bacteria and sugars. If aligners are not cleaned from time to time, this build-up of bacteria can easily decay the teeth. (3) Consumption of flavored drinks, soda, and fruit juices can cause discoloration of the aligners and the teeth as well. Hence, the best practice is to avoid having any foodstuff while you are wearing your aligners. To avoid any bacterial build-up on your teeth, always floss and/or brush your teeth before wearing your aligners.
Aligners kept carelessly in unhygienic surroundings can easily harbor harmful bacteria, which can be ingested into your body when you wear them.(3) Hence, it is important to clean your aligners regularly and keep them a clean aligner case with vent holes to keep it dry.
You can soak your aligners in a denture cleaner once daily. Or you can clean the insides of the aligner tray with a soft brush and toothpaste (3)
The average time needed to complete the treatment with Eon Aligner is 8-10 months. (8) The exact duration depends on the complexity of the case.
To know how long clear aligners take to work, consult your doctor.
Now that we know what clear aligners actually are, let's know more about the process to get your aligner treatment started, shall we?
At your first visit, your dentist will examine your oral cavity for any abnormalities, decayed teeth, infections, etc. He will also examine the bite of your teeth on both sides. This gives him an idea of the severity of malalignment and helps to decide the duration, course, and the cost of the treatment.
In this step, the doctor will take a 3D scan/ impressions of your teeth with a bite registry to understand the relationship between your upper and lower teeth.
After your consultation and 3D scan are done, Eon Aligner’s clinical team along with your doctor will create a customized treatment plan for you. The duration and course of treatment are determined by keeping in mind your convenience and priorities.
Considering all the aspects, a preview of your corrected smile is created digitally, even before the treatment starts. This preview helps you to predict how your smile would look once the treatment is completed.
Once you are completely satisfied with the preview, your teeth impressions are sent to the lab and your customized aligner trays are made. Depending on your case, your doctor will recommend going through additional steps like adding attachments or IPR (Interproximal Reduction) to ensure the treatment is effective. (1)
Each aligner is to be worn for at least 1 week and 22 hours a day, to achieve maximum results. After every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the case, a new aligner tray is to be worn which is different from the previous one.(1) Each aligner tray moves the teeth in the desired direction discreetly.
Your dentist will give you the necessary instructions regarding the maintenance, care, and hygiene of your aligners. Throughout the treatment, you will visit the dental clinic a few times, to evaluate your treatment progress and make any adjustments if required.
Once your teeth have achieved their desired position, your dentist will give you your invisible retainer. Wearing a retainer after the completion of your treatment is very important as it prevents your teeth from moving back into their original positions and reduces the chances of a relapse.
Today, with more advanced technology, clear aligners can be equally effective in achieving the straightening of teeth for even complex cases. (4)
Clear aligners usually take 8-10 months for the completion of the treatment. To know more about how do aligners work and how long aligners take to work, consult your dentist. (5)
For the first 2-3 days, Clear aligners may cause discomfort while talking. This is because you are not used to wearing them. But once, you get used to it, the lisp will disappear gradually.
Clear aligners are removable. Hence there is no restriction to your diet, as far as you are eating after removing your aligners. You should thoroughly clean your teeth and the aligners before wearing them again. (6)
To be sure if clear aligners are the ultimate treatment for you or not, it is advisable to consult your orthodontist. Nonetheless, you are a good candidate for clear aligners if: