Clear Aligner Therapy (CAT) isn’t new, but it is catching on as an alternative to traditional metal braces. In CAT, the orthodontist creates a series of removable clear plastic aligner trays that fit the patient’s teeth. By slowly changing the aligners through the course of therapy, the orthodontist can align the patient’s teeth.
Although you may not have heard much about this approach to orthodontic alignment, the basic technique has been around for about 50 years! An enterprising orthodontist named Dr. Robert Ponitz proved that plastic aligners could correct misalignment problems. Later, other orthodontists refined Dr. Ponitz’s technique by using computers to carefully plan and design a series of aligners for their patients.
The aligners work by putting slow, steady pressure on the patient’s teeth. The pressure causes the teeth to move in the desired direction. Each successive aligner tray moves the teeth closer to the ideal alignment. Eventually, the aligners bring the patient’s teeth to an ideal position.
Angle Orthodontic Aligners
Dr. Darrell Angle and Dr. Alex Vo are experts in Clear Aligner Therapy. Our staff can not only create a clear aligner treatment plan for you, but also create the aligners you need right here in our offices. The advantage to patients is the product is delivered faster and the cost is optimized. From start to finish, we have complete control to adjust the treatment for each individual malocclusion. Patients who choose clear aligner therapy can enjoy benefits of orthodontic treatment without the use of traditional metal orthodontic braces. Invisible aligners make orthodontic treatment more comfortable and impose fewer limits on patients while treatment is underway.
What are the benefits of Clear Aligner Therapy?
Even though we offer “clear” braces, they can still change a person’s appearance while treatment is in progress. Patients who opt for clear aligner therapy typically want one or more of four major benefits from this treatment approach.
Aesthetics: – Clear aligners are less noticeable than traditional metal or clear braces.
Eating: – Patients can remove clear aligners while they’re eating. Their removable nature means that you have minimal restrictions on what you eat while treatment is underway. With traditional orthodontic braces, patients may not be able to enjoy foods that can damage their braces.
Oral hygiene: Patients can remove and clean clear aligners easily. In addition, patients find it easier to clean their teeth and practice good oral hygiene during treatment. Clear aligners can eliminate “white spots” that may form if they don’t maintain proper hygiene during traditional orthodontic treatment.
Removability: Sometimes, you just don’t want to have your braces on! You can remove clear aligners for special events like job interviews, performances, photos, dances and sporting events without disrupting your treatment schedule. To achieve the best orthodontic results, patients need to commit to having aligners in place at least 18-22 hours per day. If you don’t stick to this rule throughout treatment, your teeth can move back into their natural position and extend treatment time. The aligner maintains constant pressure on your teeth. That pressure is required to make your teeth move, whether you choose traditional metal braces or clear aligners. If the pressure isn’t there, your teeth won’t move.
How do clear aligners work?
The orthodontist starts by creating a digital simulation of your teeth in their ideal position. To create the simulation, the orthodontist will make a digital scan of your teeth (or an impression). The doctor then imports the scan into the computer. Once your “teeth” are in the computer, the orthodontist can “move” them into their final position.
The computer then creates a series of digital models that move your teeth from their initial position to their ideal position. Each model represents a gradual shift from one position to the next. Using a special 3D printer, we can “print” the entire series of models, and then use them to create your aligners.
Are there different kinds of clear aligners?
There are several clear aligner products on the market. Invisalign is the most well-known because it has been around the longest. Many orthodontists use Invisalign to correct varying degrees of malocclusion. Other systems include Clear Correct and MTM Clear Aligner. New aligner systems enter the market frequently. Some clear aligner systems are designed only to work with mild or moderate malocclusion.
Where can I get Clear Aligner Therapy?
Orthodontists (including Angle Orthodontics) and some general dentists can provide clear aligner therapy. Orthodontists are dentists who have received an additional 2-3 years of training in the specialty of moving teeth. In addition, orthodontists are experts in identifying problems with your bite. Although general dentists are experts in the care of your teeth, most general dentists do not have the training to correctly identify and treat malocclusion problems.
Sometimes, patients look to the Internet for help with their teeth. While this strategy may seem like an inexpensive way to “treat yourself,” malocclusion isn’t really a do-it-yourself condition! Orthodontists are specially trained to evaluate your teeth for malocclusion and a host of other problems. You may think you have just one or two crooked teeth, or just a little gap, or that your bite only needs a little tweak, but the wrong kind of orthodontic treatment can create serious immediate and long-term problems for you. Personal attention by a trained orthodontic professional is the safest and most cost-effective way to ensure that you get the best possible smile for your time and money!
If you’d like more information about clear aligner therapy , please contact us to schedule a consultation at (503) 252-5567.