Clear aligners; what are they and how to get them!
There are lots of words to describe Invisalign in Sheffield; invisible braces, clear aligners or even orthodontic dental splints. Invisalign is the oldest clear aligner provider and started producing aligners in 1992. They also hold the patent on a piece of aligner designing technology called ClinCheck. In spite of their time in the market, Invisalign has never provided aligners directly to patients and has chosen only to work through local clinics, which the company calls its Invisalign partners. This allows them to be certain that their product is being applied to a professional standard and that the patients’ milestones are accurately monitored.
Newer clear aligner providers have found a niche by providing their aligners directly to customers without the use of a local clinic. This has never been recommended by the BOS (British Orthodontic Society) and raises some serious concerns, especially from data collected using questionnaires which showed a lower effectiveness of treatment when carried out without the assistance of a dentist or orthodontist.
The purpose of clear aligners
Clear aligners are considered an effective treatment for mild to moderate misalignment. If the misalignment involves molars which are misaligned or alterations have to be made in pallet width or depth, aligners are not considered effective and may in fact be counterproductive. This is one of the most important reasons why an assessment by a qualified dentist and supervision during treatment is important.
This does not mean that a clear aligner cannot have a role in more complicated treatment. If used in conjunction with or after a traditional metal brace, this would allow the brace to be removed earlier and the majority of the treatment to be carried out with the aligner.
How long do aligners take to work?
In medicine in particular, the treatment schedule is highly dependent on the condition of the patient’s teeth and their team. Although 6 months to 2 years would be considered a normal range, it is very difficult to give a more accurate prediction without a thorough assessment.
Unfortunately promising treatment times which are optimistic, based on little or no information about the patient’s condition, is one of the marketing strategies which has been used by the mail aligner providers. During the treatment schedule, you would wear a series of aligners, each one only for about 2 weeks, before moving onto the next in the schedule. The aligners are not the same and each one is designed to move your teeth a little further towards their straightened or re-orientated positions. This is quite different to the traditional brace, which you would have to wear for the entire length of the treatment. This means Invisalign aligners can be lighter and custom-fitted, and therefore more comfortable and convenient.
How do you look after clear aligners?
Unlike braces, the maintenance of clear aligners is very easy. It is not recommended to wear them whilst eating. So not only does this increase your food choices, it makes the cleaning of them as simple as rinsing them under a tap rather than the extensive brushing required when wearing a full metal brace.