An interesting alternative to fixed appliances, mostly used in adult orthodontics is the use of aligners to treat dental malocclusions. Most adults are very self conscious of their appearance, and some adults may have a career that, if not based on, but is greatly aided by their appearance. Businessmen, public individuals, those of us with high end retail positions, managers, and folks who work in sales or marketing positions may simply be faced with the fact that their jobs just do not allow for an adult with a mouth full of metal. This is where aligners can provide an acceptable alternative, to what is potentially a serious medical problem.
What Are Aligners?
Aligners are removable orthodontic appliances that are made of see through plastic. They resemble mouth guards used by athletes, except are see through and less bulky, and fit onto the patents teeth exactly, in order to move the teeth around. They are hardly noticeable when the patient is wearing them, unless someone actually takes the time to peer into the patients mouth.
The appliances are removable, and can be taken out whenever the patient feels the need, but the appliance does need to be worn for at least 20 hours a day, but the longer an aligner is worn, the faster the treatment will be done. Let me explain in detail how these appliances work to give a better idea of how they should be worn.
The Science Behind Aligners
Getting aligners works the same way getting any other braces would. An impression has to be taken of your teeth, and a study model has to be made. This study model will be sent to the company who makes the aligners, where they will make a three dimensional model of your teeth, and a model of the way the teeth should be aligned. After that, each intermediary step between the two models will be calculated. Once these calculations are done, each step will be manifested into a small plastic tooth guard, or aligner. A series of aligners will thus be made, and at each monthly appointment you will receive a new one. This is to take the place of the monthly activation sessions of regular dentists.
Each aligner has to be worn at least 20 hours a day in order to have the calculated effect on your teeth. By having it for less time, you risk prolonging the treatment time, as your teeth will not be in the proper alignment to receive the next aligner.
Some Words Of Wisdom
Not all orthodontic conditions can be cured by aligners. More serious malocclusions may require fixed braces to be worn at all times, and certain appliances, like a palatal expander, do not have a removable option. If your treatment involves a palatal expander or headgear, then you will need to have a fixed appliance.
Retainers will probably need to be worn after the treatment has been completed, to make sure that the teeth that have been aligned stay in their new position. Teeth have a tendency to shift back to their old position once the braces are off, and many times retainers must be worn to prevent this from occurring.