Talk about the latest in orthodontic treatment, and you cannot miss clear aligners. The transparent trays that are worn in upper and lower teeth to bring them in alignment and correct your bite. Compared to the other treatment options like metallic braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and self-ligating braces, clear aligners or clear braces are way more aesthetic and comfortable to wear. They are invisible when worn on the upper and lower teeth, and so they are also called as invisible braces. This invisible nature of these clear braces makes them very attractive to patients today.
Though clear aligners cannot correct all the orthodontic cases, they can treat most conditions that include spacing, crowding, rotation, bite correction, protrusions, and arch shape correction.
How Do Clear Aligners Work?
Clear aligners fit snugly around your upper and lower teeth and apply uniform forces on your teeth. These forces help move your teeth into alignment and correct your bite.
But how do these changes look? Let’s look at some before and after cases which have been treated by clear aligners.
Clear Aligners Before and After – Spacing
In the ideal scenario, your teeth must not have any gaps between them and must have tight contacts with each other. However, when there are some minor gaps between them, this is called spacing. Clear aligners can quickly close these gaps or spaces and align your teeth.
As you can see, in the first image, there are minor gaps seen in the teeth. But, after being treated with aligners, these gaps are closed, and the teeth have proper contacts with each other.
Aligners Before and After- Crowding
When teeth do not have enough space to erupt and come into alignment, they explode in improper positions in the jaw. This condition is called as crowding. Believe it or not, but this is one of the most common alignment problems that patients need dental advice for. Overcrowding essentially means that the teeth ‘crowd’ around each other instead of erupting in one straight line. This is as harmful to your oral health as spacing is, if not more.
Crowding changes the way you bite, the external appearance of your face, lips, profile and also makes it difficult to brush and floss appropriately due to lack of adequate space between teeth. This poor oral hygiene leads to cavities, gum, and bone problems in the jaw. So, it is important to align the crowded teeth and bring them into a smooth line.
As you can see in the first image, the teeth are crowded. You can see a few teeth are placed behind, whereas the rest are placed in front. These cases are easily treatable by clear aligners, as we can see in the second image. The second image shows how the aligner treatment has brought the teeth into a straight alignment to facilitate better oral hygiene measures.
Rotation & Side View of Teeth
Another one of the conditions that aligners are successful in treating is rotation. When a tooth or teeth rotate in their position in the jaw, it is called rotation. Due to the rotation, the tooth is unable to help in biting or chewing. If the tooth is rotated in a way that it causes crowding, it can also lead to poor oral health, bad smell from the mouth and cavities. So, it is important to de-rotate such teeth, and this can quickly be done using clear aligners.
As you can see in the first image, the upper left tooth is rotated and therefore, isn’t in proper approximation with the corresponding lower tooth. Also, a rotated tooth can cause spacing as we can see in the same image. Clear aligners can efficiently and effectively treat such cases, whereby they de-rotate the tooth into its ideal position, close the gaps and bring it in the bite to make it functional, as we can see in the second image.
Braces Before And After Bite Correction
The primary function of our teeth is to help us bite and chew, isn’t it? But, what if your teeth are not well-aligned to perform these two functions? Such conditions are called as bite problem and are of various types:
- Crossbite– Ideally, your upper teeth rest or overlap on your lower teeth, and this helps us bite and chew. But, in many individuals, this balance is disrupted, and the upper teeth arch is either too narrow or too wide, and the upper and lower teeth do not meet one on top of the other. This is called a crossbite.
As you can see in the above image, the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth, which is the reverse of what they should be. Clear aligners can be used to correct this case to bring them in a proper bite.
- Overjet & Overbite– When the upper teeth are placed far ahead of the lower teeth, it is called as overjet. Open Bite is when the upper teeth cover the lower teeth vertically, more than the ideally required amount of 2mm, it is known as an overbite.
In the image above, you can see that the upper teeth are placed far ahead of the lower teeth. This condition has been corrected using aligners in the second image.
- Open Bite: When the upper and lower teeth do not meet each other, it leads to a gap in your bite. This condition is called an open bite.
As you can see in the image above, there is a failure of the upper and lower teeth meeting in the front portion of the dentition, which has led to an open bite. The same has been correct using aligners in the second image.
Correction of Arch Shape – Gaps in Teeth
In many cases, there are mild alignment issues in the position of teeth – gentle rotations, slight crowding or spacing, etc., which leads to a change in the shape of the upper or lower arch of teeth. Aligners are very efficient in correcting your arch shape size and bring all teeth into proper alignment.
As you can see in the above image, the upper front teeth a slightly rotated, giving the shape of the arch an unnatural curve. In the second image, after treatment with aligners, you can appreciate the smooth curve that the arch forms in the area of the upper front teeth. This correct shape of the arch is linked to the efficiency of chewing and biting.
So, now you know how clear aligners work and with them before, and after images, one can appreciate the changes they bring about in the alignment of teeth.
Are you a fan of the clear aligners yet? Contact us today for an orthodontic consultation for clear aligners!
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