Aligners FAQ

Straightening teeth with aligners is a relatively new method, so many patients have many questions at the first stages. How to wear aligners? Can they even out the bite? How to put them on correctly and what to do if the aligner is broken? - this is just a small list of what the patient is interested in. As a rule, during a consultation with a doctor and your firm decision to straighten your teeth without braces, all information about the care, as well as the method of treatment, is provided orally, so it is possible that you may miss or forget something. In this article, we will look at the most common questions patients have about aligners.

What are aligners?

Aligners are transparent mouthguards that are made individually for your teeth and contribute to the correction of their position in the jaw. These mouthguards are made of polycarbonate, which makes them durable and almost invisible on the teeth. And their most important advantage is that aligners can be removed at any time, unlike braces.

How it works?

To straighten the teeth, several sets of aligners are required, which must be changed at regular intervals. Most often every two weeks. The new set is a small step towards straight teeth. Each aligner is designed to change the position of the teeth. Therefore, their design differs from each other, as a result of which pressure is created, and the teeth begin to "move". As soon as the teeth are in the position of the aligner, a new set is installed, which will again apply pressure and help the teeth move in the desired direction. The mouthguards also have special retention points (small bulges). Thanks to them, the displacement of the teeth will be faster and more controlled.

How long to wear aligners?

It all depends on the curvature degree of your teeth. On average, it will take 8 to 16 sets of aligners to fix crooked teeth. One set needs to be changed every 2 weeks, so it turns out that aligners will need to be worn from 4 to 8 months in relatively simple cases. If situations are difficult, then additional sets of aligners may be required, from 16 to 30 or more, which will require a longer wearing period. The entire treatment plan is discussed individually with the doctor.

How to put on and take off aligners correctly?

Installing aligners on your teeth is as easy as shelling pears. You will need to put the aligners over your teeth and lightly press it down until it clicks. This sound will signal that the aligner is locked and you did everything right. Initially, it will be difficult to put in aligners, but over time the plastic will soften, absorbing liquid, and this process will be much easier.

To take off aligners is pretty easy too. It will be enough for you to slightly pry them with your fingernail and, slowly, carefully remove them from the teeth from both ends. Aligners should only be worn on clean teeth. Therefore, before eating, you will need to remove the aligners, and after completion brush your teeth and put in the aligners back.

Can aligners be placed on one jaw?

If there is a curvature in only one jaw, then there is no need to install aligners on the other. Therefore, yes, it is possible to install aligners on teeth only on one jaw.

How old should you be to install the aligners?

The installation of aligners is possible for children from the age of 14, since up to this age the teeth in children are actively growing, falling out, and moving, which can nullify all efforts.

What are better aligners or braces?

A lot of questions arise on this topic: what to wear longer, what is cheaper, what is more convenient. Each case should be considered individually. But if you want to see an overview of the comparison of aligners and braces, then this topic was discussed in detail in the article "Aligners VS Braces".

What to do if the aligner is broken

If your aligner breaks during treatment, then for the period of its manufacture you will need to put in an aligner from the previous set. That is, if you, for example, wore aligner No. 5 and it broke, then you will need to return to aligner No. 4. If you just changed the set, and it broke immediately, you can forcefully move on to the next one. That is if you just changed aligner No. 7 to aligner No. 8, and it broke, go to aligner No. 9. But it is worth considering that this can cause discomfort, and teeth can be very sore due to increased pressure.

When will aligners fail?

It is worth considering that aligners are not omnipotent, so in some situations, it is still better to resort to braces. Aligners will not help if you have a bad bite, or if your teeth are overcrowded and misaligned. In any case, in order to choose the method of orthodontic treatment, you will need to consult your doctor.

Will your teeth hurt?

A slight discomfort will be felt for the first 3-4 days after each aligner. This will be followed by a period of adaptation, during which, as a rule, no pain occurs.

Therefore, in general, we can say that you will not experience severe pain, as is the case with braces.

author
ALEKSANDR MAKAROV
Dentist, surgeon, orthopedist

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