Clear aligners are the latest technology in dentistry that helps straighten teeth. These are soft, plastic trays worn on upper and lower teeth to bring about tooth movement. Since these aligner trays are invisible when worn on teeth even from close distances, they are called invisible braces. They are convenient, comfortable, and highly aesthetic, making them the favourite choice for most young and old patients.
But have you ever wondered what happens to your teeth while undergoing clear invisible braces treatment? Let’s get to know more about how clear invisible braces work!
How are Teeth Moved During Orthodontic Treatment?
Before we understand how teeth move with clear aligners, it is important to know how teeth move and reposition a force is applied to them. Remember Newton’s Law which says each action has an equal and opposite reaction? Well, this applies to orthodontic movement too!
When your orthodontist ‘tightens’ the wire in your braces, it exerts a force on your teeth. Due to this force, the bone cells on the opposite side of the applied force (called osteoclasts) start dissolving the bone to allow teeth to move in that direction.
At the same time, bone-forming cells, called osteoblasts, fill in the gap created by depositing bone on the same side of the tooth as the force. This way, teeth move and are relocated to their designated places with braces.
What Happens To Your Teeth When Undergoing Clear Invisible Braces Treatment?
Compared to braces, what happens to your teeth when undergoing clear invisible braces treatment is very similar. The movement of teeth with aligners occurs due to the same biomechanical osteoclast-osteoblast activity as seen in braces.
However, the difference lies in the fact that the force is being applied using a wire fixed in your brackets with braces. With clear invisible braces, removing the aligner trays removes the force on the teeth, impacting the treatment, duration, and success rate.
This happens because osteoclast cells that dissolve the bone during tooth movement take around 48-72 hours to begin their activity but only 4 hours to stop. For this reason, patients are asked to wear their retainers for a minimum of 22-23 hours every day. Wearing aligners for short periods or not wearing them for a long time can prolong the treatment duration.
Did you know that your teeth are in a constant state of flux and movement despite their static appearance in the mouth? Well, this is true and is because of the elastic structures that hold your teeth in their socket. Invisible braces use these natural movements of your teeth.
Each set of aligner trays can help move your teeth by around 0.25mm in the first three days of you wearing them. However, the time taken by the bone around your teeth to remodel itself to settle your teeth into their new positions may take a few more days.
Another important thing one must know about the movement of teeth is that it is a challenge to maintain teeth in their newly occupied positions. Not wearing your aligner trays as recommended by the orthodontist can cause your relocated teeth to move back to their original places, disrupting and delaying your clear aligner treatment.
Things To Remember During Your Invisible Braces Treatment
The ultimate goal for any patient wearing clear aligners is to have well-aligned teeth that give a beautiful smile. If you have opted for clear aligner treatment– congratulations! Here are some things you must remember during your treatment to ensure you have a successful treatment:
- Wear your clear aligner trays for at least 22-23 hours during the day, removing them only while eating, drinking, and brushing.
- Visit your orthodontist every 6-8 weeks to allow them to monitor your treatment progress.
- Each of us is different and the rate at which our teeth move is also different. So, the treatment duration with clear aligners varies for everyone.
- Remember to change your aligner trays as per schedule.
- The key to orthodontics is patience. Unlike most dental treatments, moving teeth into proper alignment and giving you your dream smile does take time. Be patient!
There are many benefits of having straight, well-aligned teeth such as reduced cavities, better aesthetics, a healthy jaw, and proper speech. If you are thinking about getting clear aligners for that million-dollar smile you wish to flaunt, visit your orthodontist right away!