Treatment with Aligners
The Aligners treatment consists of clear, removable straightening aligners that are replaced every two weeks with another set of aligners (more frequently, if recommended by the doctor).
What is Aligner?
Every aligner is made individually for you. By replacing aligners, your teeth gradually move until they reach the position projected by the orthodontist.View Gallery
A virtual treatment plan is set into place using the unique program that shows how your teeth will change and move during the course of the treatment.
It allows the patient and orthodontist to see and evaluate how the teeth will look at the end of the treatment.
About aligners. Does it fit my lifestyle?
Aligner treatment can become an easy and simple addition to your daily routine without adding unnecessary inconvenience. Brackets and wires are not used during this treatment, so the patient doesn’t have to worry about irritation of the mouth.
Straightening aligners are comfortable to use and can be easily removed before eating meals, drinking, or brushing teeth. With aligners you can proceed with your daily mouth hygiene as normal.
Aligners must be worn 22 hours per day. They can be removed only for eating meals and brushing teeth. If worn in shorter intervals, the results of the treatment might be difficult to project and new aligners that are made individually for that patient might not fit. In that case, the treatment plan will have to be changed.
Compared to treatment with braces, aligners are special because there are no urgent visits to the orthodontist caused when brackets break or wires stab, both of which can be very unnerving for the patient. Aligners are safe. Patients who live far away or abroad are especially pleased, as there are no immediate visits to the orthodontist.
How much do aligners cost?
The expense can only be determined by the orthodontist during a consultation. The amount varies on a case-by-case basis; however, the average treatment cost in Lithuania is around 4000 -5000 Eur.
Usually, the patient has to make a down payment of 2500 Eur at the beginning of the treatment. This amount covers only the initial part of the system: ready-made aligners the doctor’s office purchases from the manufacturer. If the patient changes their mind about going through with the treatment, the doctor still has to pay the manufacturer. For this reason, every patient is advised to make up their mind and be sure about going through with the treatment before making the advance payment.
Aligners’ treatment results
Treatment with aligners usually do not last shorter than treatment with braces (it depends on clinical cases), but the teeth are moved using different principles.
Some of the orthodontic movements done with aligners are easier, while other movements are more difficult. To wrap a tooth in braces is easier and faster than with aligners, but treatment with braces is done in three stages: the first stage is for teeth straightening, the second is for correction of occlusion, and the third is for working out the occlusion. Meanwhile, in a treatment with aligners, the first and second stages can be combined, making treatment shorter.
Important notes about aligners
- During treatment with aligners, fillings are placed on some of the teeth. It is needed to create an additional movement vector: the aligner sticks itself to the filling and makes teeth movement easier. If during treatment such filling brakes off, you should contact the orthodontist. It doesn’t have to be fixed immediately, but should be fixed within one to two weeks. At the beginning of the treatment, fillings may cause a little bit of discomfort; but once the aligner is placed, it covers the filling and sensitivity is eliminated.
- During treatment with aligners, as during treatment with braces, patients might need to wear special rubber bands that help correct occlusion. Patients must be prepared to do so at the beginning of the treatment.
- Various skeletal braces or micro-implants can be combined with aligners. The orthodontist may suggest using them.
- In separate cases, aligners may be used to treat one jaw, while regular braces are used to treat the other. This mostly depends on the financial capabilities of the patient or the mechanics of the treatment.
- Aligners are right for surgical cases, as well. If a patient is preparing for jaw surgery, treatment with this system can be done with the coordination with the surgeon.
How to start?
- You should start with a consultation with the orthodontist. Also, it is important to check if your doctor has an orthodontic license.
- The doctor has to do a check up, take pictures and x-rays, and evaluate the health of your teeth, as well as review oral hygiene. At this time, a preliminary treatment plan is discussed. If the case is not standard, it is possible that the patient will have to come for one more visit to establish a treatment plan.
- IMPORTANT! Teeth must be healthy and with complete fillings to be able to treat them with aligners. Teeth that are strongly damaged must undergo prosthetic repair with temporary caps and permanent cement. Because aligners are being planned for the whole treatment term, it is undesirable to treat teeth during this orthodontic treatment. Fillings and prosthetic changes to teeth anatomy may mean that already made aligners might not fit anymore and have to be ordered anew. If teeth, for whatever reason, need to be treated during the orthodontic treatment, the doctor needs to discuss this with your orthodontist before making any changes. The position of dental implants, if such procedure is being planned, also needs to be discussed with the orthodontist. All aesthetics procedures, such as teeth bleaching or aesthetic filling, should be done after orthodontic treatment is finished.
- If the patient agrees to the treatment plan, he will then be scanned with an intraoral scanner. The patient is recommended to do an oral hygiene procedure before such scanning, preferably the same day. Scanned data is then transferred to align company and the collaboration between orthodontist and the company begins. The orthodontist puts all patient data into the Align system and presents the treatment plan. The adjustment of the plan usually takes 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the seriousness of the case and the workload at the factory. After that, the doctor approves the plan and, in about one week, the aligners arrive at the clinic.
Are all aligner systems equal?
More and more companies appear to offer alignment systems. Some have hardware for planning, while others don’t.
At this time, some companies allows doctors to take an active part in planning, because only the doctor knows and can tell where teeth have to move and stay to achieve the maximum result.
Simple cases can be treated with less expensive systems, but large changes to the positions of teeth require the supervision of a doctor. Other companies usually use technicians to plan the treatment, but not all of their experience and vision match those of a doctor. For this reason, for me, as a doctor, it’s important to use the system, which allows doctors to plan the treatment, monitor the movement of the teeth, and to adjust the treatment for up to 5 years from the start of the process.
Have you started the treatment with the aligners system?
Congratulations on starting the treatment with the most advanced aligners system there is. You should read these recommendations, as some are suggested by patients.