Clear Aligner Treatment – The Risks of the DIY Approach

Clear aligner treatment uses transparent plastic aligner trays to move the position of the teeth. It provides an alternative to traditional metal braces which utilise metal brackets and wires.

The concept of a non metal tooth positioner was first documented in 1945. The “one-piece plastic splints” became more common in the 1960’s – 1980’s. The first true clear aligner system was introduced in 1993.

The Essix Retainer was only able to make limited movements and was predominantly used for the front teeth.   “Invisalign” was invented in 1997 by two Stanford University students. It was the first clear aligner system to obtain tooth movements using aligners only. Computer generated models enable an entire programme of tooth movements to be created from a single dental impression.

The clear aligner systems have the advantage of being discreet and near invisible. They can be removed for eating and cleaning. They must be worn for up to 22 hours per day to achieve the required tooth movement and the aligners are usually changed every 2 weeks.

The dentist or orthodontist plays a vital role in diagnosing a dental malocclusion. They can then determine which technique will be most appropriate to manage or correct the orthodontic problem. The dentist looks at not only the individual teeth but the teeth within each dental arch and the relationship of the jaws to each other, the soft tissues and the skeletal profile. The dentist can assess WHY the teeth are crooked.

The DIY aligner systems may be cheaper but do not provide this approach. Anyone can observe that their teeth are crooked but they may not be aware of pre-existing gum disease or pathology or whether there is enough space in which to move the teeth. The unsupervised use of aligners may cause changes to the bite, gum recession, damage to the tooth roots and loosen teeth. The cost to rectify any damage will likely exceed any savings from the DIY approach.

A dentist will take accurate moulds and monitor your tooth, gum and bone health during treatment. They can use attachments and tweak treatment to ensure the optimal result is achieved. Clear aligner treatment is not recommended for every type of malocclusion. A recognised clear aligner system provided by a dental practitioner is the safest approach.

If you are interested in learning whether clear aligner treatment is suitable for you, arrange an appointment online here with Clarinda Clinic for an assessment, or call 03 9551 4599 now.