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How Do Clear Aligners Work?  

ben Aligners

How Do Clear Aligners Work?  

Let me tell you the process of how invisible braces work. With invisible braces, the idea is a dental aligner technology. These are clear plastic templates that snap into your mouth that slowly and methodically move your teeth. The idea of serial aligners is that there’s a whole number of these aligners mostly numbered from one to maybe 20. Each of these aligners moves or tips a tooth just slightly. The way that they work is that, generally speaking, a company will design and set up your smile and they’ll take your teeth from where they are to ideal and they’ll submit a digital preview to me. I’ll see a virtual orientation of your teeth. I will then communicate back and forth with the laboratory technicians in the platform and will say, “Alright, I think tooth number seven needs to move in a little bit” or “Tooth number 12 needs to go out a little bit or come down”, whatever that may be. 

We’ll agree on a virtual setup, a digital setup of the teeth. Once that happens, then the computer software calculates where you are right now and where I’ve asked your teeth to be. And they’ll develop a strategy. The strategy may include, again, those 1 to 20 different aligners. So, generally speaking, you wear your aligner for about two weeks at a time. 

Once it’s created, it’s going to do a certain number of movements, just a very slight movement of your tooth each aligner. If you’re off by “x” amount of space and it does a 10th of “x”, it’s going to tell you that you need ten aligners to get to where you need to be. That’s just a calculation that they’ll do based on a number of factors of movement that the aligners can they can tolerate. 

Generally speaking, it takes about a year to a year and a half to have your teeth fully straightened based on the average. Some are much more, some are a bit less. It just depends on the type of metal occlusion that we’re dealing with. Usually for this esthetic alignment of teeth, you can say about a year, a little bit less, depending on the case. 

Approximately every two weeks you change your aligner because your teeth have moved in the maximum potential that that aligner allows, and you’ll put in the next one. Some people ask, “How often do I have to see you”? It’s a little variable, but I usually like to see our patient every 4 to 6 weeks. It could even be eight weeks and will distribute two or three or four aligners for you to change on your own at home. 

There are some new exciting technologies coming up where we can actually communicate by camera and you can take your cell phone and take pictures of your own mouth and we can talk and I can see the progress. So, we can distribute almost all of your aligners and you can do a case combined, remote and also in person with us. 

Looking forward to talking to you about that. A little bit more detail once that comes out to market. 

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