What is the clear aligner process?
Table of Content:
- What are clear aligners?
- Step 1: Clear aligner consultation
- Step 2: Clearance to begin orthodontic treatmentS
- Step 3: Dental records
- Step 4: Treatment planning your aligner therapy
- Step 5: Start wearing your clear aligners
- Step 6: Monitoring your progress
- Step 7: Reviewing the end results
- What are my options for straightening my teeth with clear aligners?
- Option 1: Clear aligner treatment at home
- Option 2: Clear aligner therapy through your local dentist or orthodontist
What are clear aligners?We all want that whiter and brighter smile. After all, you’re smile is the first thing that others notice about you. It’s no surprise that straightening your teeth improves their appearance. Having an even smile makes you look and feel better. Plus, straight teeth are easier to keep clean. Straight teeth trap less plaque and tartar as compared to crooked ones. This means you’re less likely to develop gum disease, cavities and avoid dental infections.
So how can you straightening your smile? Traditionally, braces were your only option. That all changed 20 years ago when clear aligner technology was introduced. Clear aligners are a series of plastic trays which move your teeth without the need to wear brackets or wires. Naturally, patients love clear aligners! They are comfortable, barely visible and can be removed when needed. You can use clear aligners to close gap teeth, straighten crooked teeth, fix overbites and do so much more.
If you’re considering clear aligners, you’re probably wondering about the process of wearing clear aligners. How do clear aligners fix your smile? Lets take a look at the 7 steps involved in fixing your smile with clear aligners:
Step 1: Clear aligner consultationFirst and foremost, you need to make sure that you’re a candidate for wearing clear aligners. Difficult orthodontic misalignments, such as crossbite or underbite, do not qualify for clear aligner treatment. The most complicated orthodontic movements always require braces, sometimes in conjunction with tooth extraction or even jaw surgery. To see if you’re a candidate for clear aligner therapy, schedule a consultation with a local orthodontist or dentist who offers teeth aligner treatment near you today.
Step 2: Clearance to begin orthodontic treatmentThe next step is to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough to handle aligner therapy. Placing clear aligners on teeth with cavities or gums suffering from gingivitis is dangerous and risky. Starting any type of orthodontic treatment without proper clearance from your dentist can cause irreversible harm to your mouth. Orthodontic clearance involves a thorough exam of your teeth and gum, a dental cleaning and fixing all essential underlying conditions. Once cleared, you’re set to start your aligner treatment right away!
Step 3: Dental recordsTo begin your clear aligner treatment, your dentist or orthodontist must obtain necessary dental records. The most important dental record for clear aligner therapy are moldings of your upper and lower teeth. These moldings are used to communicate your teeth shape, size and form with the dental laboratory. Teeth moldings are obtained either by taking impressions of your teeth with putty or scanning your teeth using sophisticated intraoral scanners. Additional dental records may include photos of your facial profile, teeth photos, X-rays and your bite relationship. Your dentist or orthodontist will decide which preliminary information is required for each case. Obtaining dental records is easy and quick. It only takes about half-an-hour to an hour to obtain your dental records for clear aligner treatment.
Step 4: Treatment planning your aligner therapyOnce your doctor has obtained all necessary dental records, he or she will send them to the laboratory. The lab technician will scan your dental records, including all impressions, scans, photos, bite, etc. into the computer. They will follow your doctor’s prescription to design a 3D animation of your projected teeth movement. Many factors are taken into consideration to give you the best end results, for instance:
- What is your primary concern regarding your smile?
- Which teeth should be moved and which ones should not be moved (dental implants, bridges, etc.)?
- Are there teeth which are too large and require contouring?
- Is there any tooth which is rotated that requires additional torquing?
- Does your midline, canine or molar teeth require correction?
The lab technician will follow your doctor’s prescription to design a projected animation of your teeth movement. They will send this animation to your treating dentist or orthodontist to review. Your doctor will either approve the design or make necessary modifications to it. This process is repeated until your treating doctor is satisfied with your tooth movement projection. It’s important that your treating doctor work closely with the lab technician to ensure the success of your treatment. After all, you only get one set of adult teeth, so messing them up is not an option!