Clear aligners give you an option of orthodontic care without causing too much inconvenience or affecting your appearance during treatment. This is not typical of many teeth-straightening treatments so Invisalign Dublin is particularly useful for adult patients.
Fitting aligners is a little bit different to the majority of orthodontic tools. It requires extremely accurate measurements to be made of your teeth as they are a removable orthodontic treatment option; nothing is actually attached to the tooth surface.
Traditionally, when an accurate record of tooth position was required dental moulds would be used. This involved a patient biting into a silicone mould and waiting for it to set, from which mould plaster replicas could be produced.
Many clinics have taken advantage of improvements in 3D scanning technology to put traditional moulding to bed. 3D scanning is quick and far less uncomfortable, producing extremely accurate models that can be emailed over rather than bulky moulds sent by courier.
Design and fabrication
Design and fabrication are at the heart of what makes Invisalign different to other clear aligners and almost any other orthodontic tools available.
Aligners straighten teeth, not through the use of brackets and wires, but the tension that’s built into the material itself, as this is built into the shape and tension of the aligner. This is a very streamlined way of carrying out orthodontic treatment, minimising the bulk and inconvenience of wearing a full brace.
Unfortunately, each aligner is effective over a very short time, requiring multiple aligners to be used sequentially. It also makes the shape of the aligner very critical.
Each one in the sequence has to be unique and the sets of aligners are unique to each patient. This used to cause a fabrication problem, requiring more than most forms of mass manufacturing could deliver and therefore increasing production costs.
This has been overcome with the use of UV cured 3D printing technology, which is not that different from the UV curing resin that is already used in dentistry. These very unique aligners can be made to measure with minimal human intervention, allowing the costs to be brought down and passed on to patients.
Average treatment schedule
There’s a wide range of orthodontic misalignments that can be practically treated using clear aligners, thus making treatment schedules vary widely from patient to patient.
A schedule lasting 4 to 12 months is not unreasonable, with a possible night-time retainer used depending on the individual’s susceptibility to regression, where repositioned teeth attempt to move back to the starting locations.
After screening, the treatment schedule can be very accurately predicted with computer modelling allowing an accurate picture of the process before you commit to any orthodontic procedure.
Maintenance and aftercare
The maintenance of clear aligners is far simpler than with full braces, cleaning them is far easier than going around wires and brackets that have to be carefully brushed. And to be able to remove them before eating stops them from reducing your food choices and minimises the chances of them becoming damaged.
Careful washing with lukewarm water is enough when paired with brushing after eating, but before replacing the aligner. With clear aligners, the risk of inducing cavities is significantly lower than with a brace which can easily trap food and debris close to the surface of the teeth.