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Rachel Jenkins

How invisible aligners work

Ironically for a clear aligner, Invisalign London treatment can be a bit opaque; they don’t seem to have any moving parts. So how do they put teeth back where they belong? Or even move teeth? Find out how these clear aligners get the job done.

How do they work?

There is an underlying mechanism behind all orthodontic treatment. Teeth are not fixed in place; their roots can move over time and the tendons that anchor the sides of the tooth to the jawbone are flexible. If forces are applied suddenly via trauma, the tooth will break. But when a moderate amount of force is consistently applied to the teeth, they will move and adjust into new positions.  This was first proposed nearly 1000 years ago in classical Greek medical textbooks. They suggested using finger pressure for this. Orthodontic tools that have developed since have exactly the same principle, just in a more convenient package.

And, just as braces stepped in to replace all sorts of headgear, clear aligners are becoming a more convenient method of correcting the majority of dental misalignments.

The exploring stage

Clear aligners are widely useful for a great number of patients. Depending on what the clinical needs are. They can be over engaged in by some clinics, and some providers over-promise what they can deliver. It’s very important to discuss your goals. Severe misalignments cannot be treated with aligners and that determination can only be made by a registered dental professional. It’s important to cover how to get the most from your aligners, to have an effective treatment and hit your goals.

Seeing the results before you start

Invisible aligners use a very different treatment schematic to standard braces. During standard braces, there are adjustment appointments every 2 to 6 weeks where the braces are tightened. And your orthodontist makes a determination of which direction your teeth will be coaxed into next. Invisible aligners do this the other way round. By starting with a 3D scan, it carries out the treatment with a designated end goal in mind and then works backwards, figuring out what forces need to be applied to your teeth at which stage. The treatment for these goals is determined using an advanced AI heuristic algorithm. Allowing you to see how your treatment will proceed and the final finish before you have even started.

Starting aligners

Aligners are not fitted like braces; they are removable and worn as part of a sequence. When treating a misalignment, each one is worn for approximately two weeks and when they are first placed over the teeth, there is noticeable pressure. This will fade after the first few hours and when it stops completely, it will be time to move onto the next aligner in the sequence.

Refining the treatment

Clear aligners have an excellent track record when it comes to aesthetic goals but that does not mean it is perfect. Although the goal is something that should be achieved as soon as possible, refinement aligners can be added at the end of treatment to alter tooth position by the final few fractions of a millimetre. This might seem unnecessary but when two teeth are next to each and there is one that is slightly off, such misalignments can very easily be picked up on in social situations.