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Aligners

                                                              

Invisible” removable aligners are perhaps the highest profile orthodontic appliance, with widespread advertising in magazines and television. Whilst they have become increasingly sophisticated and refined it remains important to be clear about the circumstances in which these devices are best used and by whom.

It is important to seek an opinion from an Orthodontic Specialist who will be able to give authoritative advice on the options.
After any aligner treatment, retainers will be required to ensure the teeth maintain their corrected positions.

What are aligners?

Aligners are thin clear flexible plastic ‘mouthguards’ which fit closely over the teeth. A series of aligners is used to move the teethincrementally according to a treatment plan developed by the orthodontist. Aligner appliances are ideally suited to adult patients whose life-style or work commitments make it difficult for them to wear more visible conventional fixed appliances.

As with any other form of orthodontics, a proper orthodontic assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan is essential to successful aligner treatment. An accurate impression of the mouth is used to create the customised aligners. Each appliance moves the teeth a small distance towards the intended position before moving on to the next in the series until the final result is achieved. Aligners need to be worn full-time, day and night except for meal times.

When should aligners be used?

Aligners are best suited to cases needing simple alignment of teeth without extractions. It may be possible to carry out more complex treatments but an ideal result may require a short course of fixed appliances to upright the roots of the teeth.

Routine aligner treatments include:

  • Mild dental irregularity
  • Crowding which can be corrected with a slight expansion of the dental arch
  • Crowding which can be corrected with minor reductions in tooth width (Inter-proximal reduction or slenderising)
  • Mild spacing

When should aligners not be used?

These cases are much more effectively treated with conventional methods under the majority of circumstances.

  • Moderate to severe crowding
  • Treatments that require tooth extraction
  • Treatments that require complex tooth movements particularly of the tooth roots
  • Problems that reflect an underlying discrepancy in size or position of the jaws