Removable appliances (braces) include removable aligners and functional appliances as well as simple conventional types.
Clear removable aligners are a relatively new way of correcting mild-moderate orthodontic problems following a comprehensive assessment and discussion of the all the available options.
"Invisible" removable aligners are perhaps the highest profile orthodontic appliance, with widespread advertising in magazines and television. Whilst they have become increasingly sophisticated and refined it remains important to be clear about the circumstances in which these devices are best used and by whom.
After any aligner treatment, retainers will be required to ensure the teeth maintain their corrected positions.
What are aligners?
Aligners are thin clear flexible plastic 'mouthguards' which fit closely over the teeth. A series of aligners is used to move the teeth incrementally according to a treatment plan developed by the dentist. Aligner appliances are ideally suited to adult patients whose life-style or work commitments make it difficult for them to wear more visible conventional fixed appliances.
As with any other form of orthodontics, a proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan is essential to successful aligner treatment. An accurate impression of the mouth is used to create the customised aligners. Each appliance moves the teeth a small distance towards the intended position before moving on to the next in the series until the final result is achieved. Aligners need to be worn full-time, day and night except for meal times.
When can aligners be used?
Aligners are most commonly used in cases needing alignment of teeth without extractions.
Routine aligner treatments include:
- Mild-moderate dental irregularity
- Crowding which can be corrected with mild-moderate expansion of the dental arch
- Crowding which can be corrected with reductions in tooth width (Inter-proximal reduction or slenderising)
- Mild spacing