Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, also known as clear-aligner care, are orthodontic tools used to change teeth in a translucent, plastic type of dental braces. As of 2017, over 27 brands including Invisalign and ClearCorrect are available.


Clear aligners have undergone changes which make it difficult to evaluate the effectiveness. A systematic review conducted in 2014 found that published studies were of inadequate quality for assessing effectiveness. Experience suggests that they are useful for mild front teeth crowding, but are less effective for several other issues than traditional braces, and are not recommended for children. In particular, they are indicated for "moderate to moderate crowding (1–6 mm) and mild to moderate spacing (1–6 mm)" in cases where there is no jawbone discrepancy. They are also indicated for patients who have had a relapse following a fixed orthodontic treatment.


Clear-aligner treatment involves an orthodontist or dentist, or the person themselves, with home-based systems, taking a picture of the patient's teeth that is used to create a digital tooth scan. The computerized model suggests stages for each stage between the current and desired teeth positions, and aligners are created. During two weeks, each aligner is worn for 20 hours a day. These move the teeth slowly towards the agreed position between the orthodontist or dentist and the patient. The average time for the treatment is 13.5 months. No company has won an injunction against another manufacturer, amid the patent infringement lawsuits.


Uses of Clear Aligners


A systematic review in 2014 concluded that insufficient evidence exists to determine the efficacy of these clear aligners. Opinion is they are probably useful for moderate crowding of the front-teeth. The aligners are usually not as effective as traditional braces in those with teeth that are too far forward or backward, or that are twisted in the socket. Further cases of anterior teeth regression with transparent aligners have been found compared to conventional braces. A 2013 Cochrane review found no high-quality evidence for handling the recurrence after diagnosis of the lower-front-teeth misalignment.


Clear aligners are more noticeable than lingual braces, but they can be removed, which makes cleaning of the teeth easier, and they are faster for the dentist to apply.


Procedure for Clear Aligners


Treatment begins with taking x-rays, photographs, bite registration, and impressions of the person's teeth and gums with polyvinyl siloxane. The dentist / orthodontist completes a written assessment which includes a plan for diagnosis and treatment. To create a digital, 3D image of the teeth, dental impressions are scanned. With the Treat system, technicians shift the teeth to the desired location and creates the stages between the current and desired teeth positions. It may need anywhere between six and forty-eight aligners. Each aligner moves.25 to.33 millimeters of teeth.


A computer graphic representation of the predicted teeth movements, created in the ClinCheck software program, is given for approval or adjustment by the doctor and patient before aligners are produced. The aligners are designed using CAD-CAM software (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) and produced using a rapid prototyping technique called stereolithography. The molds for the aligners are constructed in layers using a photo-sensitive liquid resin which cures when exposed to a laser into a hard plastic. The aligners are made of an elastic thermoplastic material which exerts pressure on the teeth to move into the location of the aligner. Patients needing a rotated or pulled tooth may have a small, tooth-colored composite attachment bonded to some teeth. Since the form-fitted plastic used in clear aligners is not as rigid as the metal used in traditional braces, it is sometimes necessary to compensate for the flexibility in the materials in areas requiring motion. Alternatively, attachments can be used to aid movement by changing the tooth shape. More attachments may be less aesthetically pleasing to the aligners. Reproximation (also referred to as interproximal reduction or IPR and colloquially, filing or drilling) is sometimes used in teeth contacts to enable better fitting.


Each aligner is intended to be worn an optimal 22 hours a day for two weeks. On average the treatment process takes 13.5 months, although treatment time varies based on the complexity of the planned teeth movements. The aligner is removed for brushing, flossing and eating. Because clear alignments are made from plastic, hot liquids may warp them. You will limit your intake of hot liquids when undergoing treatment to preserve the shape of the aligners and prevent them from becoming stained.  Once the treatment phase is over, it is advised that the patient continue to wear a retainer at night for the foreseeable future.


When the Invisalign system was first developed, many of the aligner manufacturing processes were performed manually, and computer technicians had to individually modify each tooth in the computerized model.

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Are You Looking for Clear Aligners or Invisalign to Straighten Your Teeth?

With over 30 years of professional experience helping patients renew and beautifying their smiles, Balfour Dental continues to be the preferred dental office for families in Brentwood California and the surrounding communities of Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay and beyond. Their dental office is locally owned and operated by Dr. Dimple Rayani and Dr. Sien Siao, two professionals with vast experience in cosmetic dentistry treatments as well as in general dentistry. Dr. Rayani and Dr. Siao both have many different certifications, including Invisalign Certification, Implant Dentistry, Sleep Apnea Treatment, Cerec CAD-CAM Restorations, Neuromuscular Dentistry, and Implants respectively.  If you are looking to renew your smile, contact Balfour Dental today!