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900 Cummings Center,
Suite 106T, Beverly MA 01915

July 21, 2023

How Do Aligners Work? A Complete Guide by Kuljic DDS

At Kuljic DDS & Team, we're committed to offering our patients the most accurate and comprehensive information about their dental health. Today, we're going to answer a common question we get asked: 'how do aligners work?'

Aligners are a revolutionary dental solution that has transformed countless smiles worldwide, and we're excited to delve into the science and process behind this innovative treatment.

Exactly how do Clear Aligners Work

Aligners, also known as clear aligners, are a modern solution for straightening teeth. They work on the principle of applying constant, gentle pressure to your teeth, gradually shifting them into their correct positions. This process is similar to traditional braces, but aligners offer a more discreet, comfortable, and convenient treatment.

Each aligner in your treatment plan is custom-made to fit your teeth. They are designed to make small changes to the alignment of your teeth, approximately 0.2mm per set. This ensures a gradual and comfortable shift, reducing the risk of discomfort or damage to your teeth.

Clear Aligners and Traditional Braces: What's the Difference?

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, patients today have more options than ever before. Two of the most popular options are traditional braces and clear aligners. While both are designed to straighten teeth and improve oral health, they do so in very different ways.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces have been around for many years and are what most people think of when they hear the word 'orthodontics'. They consist of metal brackets that are glued to the teeth and tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands. They are known for their effectiveness in treating even the most complex orthodontic cases.

However, traditional braces are not without their drawbacks. The metal brackets and wires can be uncomfortable and can cause mouth sores. They also require special care and diet modifications, as certain foods can damage the braces.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, on the other hand, are a more recent innovation in orthodontic treatment. They are virtually invisible, as they are made of clear, flexible plastic. Unlike braces, aligners are removable, which means you can take them out to eat, drink, brush, and floss. This not only makes oral hygiene easier but also means there are no dietary restrictions.

Aligners work by using a series of custom-made trays that fit over your teeth. Each tray is slightly different, moving your teeth gradually over time. They are also typically more comfortable than braces, as there are no brackets or wires to irritate your mouth.

However, aligners may not be suitable for all cases, especially complex ones. They also require discipline, as they need to be worn 22 hours a day to be effective.

In conclusion, both traditional braces and clear aligners can be effective in straightening teeth. The best choice depends on your individual needs, lifestyle, and orthodontic case. At Kuljic DDS & Team, we can help you make the best decision for your smile.

The Journey of Your Teeth with Aligners

The journey begins with a detailed examination by our dental professionals. We use advanced technology, such as 3D imaging, to create a precise digital model of your teeth. This model serves as the blueprint for your custom-made aligners.

Your treatment plan will consist of a series of aligners. Each aligner will need to be worn for about one to two weeks before moving on to the next one. It's crucial to wear your aligners for approximately 22 hours a day, removing them only for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing.

As you progress through the series, your teeth will gradually move to match the new position set by each aligner. This is how aligners work to straighten your teeth over time.

What Can Aligners Fix? A Look at Their Capabilities

Clear aligners have proven to be a versatile solution in orthodontics, capable of correcting a variety of dental issues. Here are some of the conditions that aligners can effectively treat:

  • Overcrowding: When there's not enough space in the jaw for all of your teeth to fit comfortably or evenly, aligners can help shift the positioning of your teeth to eliminate overcrowding.
  • Gaps: Whether caused by missing teeth or simply genetic factors, gaps between teeth can be closed using clear aligners, resulting in a more uniform and attractive smile.
  • Overbite/Underbite: Overbites and underbites occur when the upper and lower jaws are misaligned, causing one to overlap the other. Aligners can help adjust and align the jaws to correct these issues.
  • Crossbite: A crossbite happens when some of your upper teeth bite inside your lower teeth. This can lead to wear and tear, and even bone loss. Aligners can help correct this misalignment.
  • Open Bite: An open bite refers to when the upper and lower teeth don't touch when the mouth is closed. This can cause speech issues and difficulty chewing, which aligners can help rectify.

The Benefits of Aligners

Aligners offer several benefits over traditional braces. They are virtually invisible, making them a perfect choice for adults and self-conscious teens. The removable nature of aligners means you can maintain your oral hygiene routine without any extra hassle. Plus, there are no dietary restrictions – you can continue to enjoy all your favorite foods!

Post-Treatment Care

Once you've completed your aligner treatment, the journey isn't over. To maintain your new smile, you'll need to wear retainers. These devices look similar to aligners and are designed to keep your teeth in their new positions. The duration and frequency of wearing retainers can vary from person to person, depending on the specifics of their treatment.

Are Aligners Right for You?

Aligners have proven to be a highly effective solution for many people looking to improve their smiles. However, they may not be suitable for everyone. At Kuljic DDS & Team, we offer comprehensive consultations to determine if aligners are the right choice for you.

Aligners represent a significant advancement in orthodontic technology, offering a convenient, comfortable, and discreet way to achieve the smile you've always wanted. If you're interested in learning more about how aligners work and whether they're the right choice for you, don't hesitate to contact us at Kuljic DDS & Team.

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