What are Aligners and Orthodontic Apparatuses?

Watch Dental Video about Aligners and Orthodontic Apparatuses

Aligners are orthodontic apparatuses that can correct teeth misalignments almost invisibly.

Misalignment treatment with the aligner technology requires the patient to wear a series of transparent splints called aligners. These aligners are produced from thin, transparent foils created according to the orthodontist’s specifications by using a sophisticated, computer-based process. As a result, the teeth can be corrected without the use of wires or other materials. The dentist makes impressions of your jaw and sends them to a company that produces aligners. The manufacturer then cleans and digitally scans the impressions.

The misalignment is then corrected on the monitor by using a virtual model. Intermediate steps are determined. Each of these steps represents a new foil. Afterwards, the digital data is transferred onto plastic models which are then used to produce the appropriate splints.

Depending on the initial diagnosis, such treatment requires between 12 to 50 splints. The aligners have to be worn 22 hours a day and are usually changed on two-week intervals. This causes the teeth to straighten by about 0,15 to 0,25mm per aligner until the final position, determined by the orthodontist, is achieved.

The extent of the movement depends on the teeth as well as the periodontal proportions. Usually, the patient is given two new splints per jaw during each monthly appointment with the dentist. On the first day, a majority of patients experience slight pressure or heightened tooth sensitivity when the new aligners are put in place. This demonstrates that the aligners are working and that the teeth are moving in the desired direction.

Patientin beim Zahnarzt

dentist with patient

Because the splints are transparent, the teeth are corrected almost invisibly.  Furthermore, the patient can remove the apparatuses. During treatment, the patient can eat and drink as usual and can also clean the teeth without restrictions, which allows for continued optimal dental hygiene.

After each removal the aligners should be rinsed with water to ensure that there is no saliva residue, which could complicate the cleaning of the aligner. Aligners are not suitable for every patient or for every case of misalignment. For example, corner teeth rotation is rarely treatable through aligners.

In certain misalignment cases, the orthodontist is required to remove a good portion of the contact area between the teeth. This is called the approximate melting reduction (stripping). Stripping is necessary because it is the only thing that will allow tooth movement through aligners. However, too much removal damages the gums. In order to avoid damage, a traditional brace should be used in some cases.

Click here to see the video: Tooth Aligner

 

This post is also available in: German

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