Have you been told you need braces? Worried? Have you considered the use of clear aligners as an alternative treatment? They can correct a wide variety of misalignments. They are almost invisible and are available outside of traditional dental clinics.
How orthodontic care works
Dental care in the UK is based on a primary and secondary care system. This allows local dentists to perform some minor orthodontic procedures and refer more complicated cases to more trained dentists.
This stops them from being bogged down in minor cases and patients from having to pay for expertise that is not required.
The art and science of orthodontics is the movement of teeth; teeth are always in a state of motion, although it is far too slow for most people to notice.
Even in the ancient world, it was realized that by applying finger pressure to teeth consistently, you could alter their positions. This is obviously a pretty inconvenient way of realigning teeth.
So a big part of an orthodontic dentist’s role is fitting, maintaining, and educating patients about orthodontic tools which reside in their mouth and apply pressure to their teeth over time.
Braces are one of the time-tested solutions to misalignments, being actively used in clinics around the world for more than 100 years and assembled from a set of pre-manufactured components.
This allows them to be individually sized for each patient whilst also benefiting from traditional mass manufacturing fabrication, significantly reducing the price.
Unfortunately, they are far from the smart solution; they require patients to return to the clinic every 6 weeks or more to be tightened and adjusted.
It is during this time that your dentist is making an assessment of how your teeth have moved since the last visit and is directing them further on by altering the force applied to them in various directions.
These appointments have to be considered part of the costs of brace-based treatment and make up the vast majority of the overall price.
Ceramic braces clear-braces
Ceramic braces share a very similar form as their metal predecessors but instead of being formed from translucent materials, the original ceramic braces were primarily glass. That glass even toughened glass under tension, had its limitations in that a minor break could result in shattering and lacerations to the inside of the mouth.
Thankfully, this is quite rare with modern ceramic braces. They are made of a mixture of polymers and silicone; they are much tougher and more robust, appropriate for even the most sporty or high activity lifestyles.
Clear aligner treatment
Invisalign London treatment is significantly different. Rather than having a tool applied to the teeth at the beginning of the treatment cycle that needs adjusting, all of the necessary adjustments right the way from the start to the end of treatment are pre-designed into the series of aligners.
This is made possible by the sophisticated simulation software that carries out the entire treatment process digitally, working out how each tooth needs to move from its current position to its best-aligned location, what path it needs to take and what quantity of force and in which direction must be applied.
From that information, a set of aligners can be designed and 3D printed that carry out at function. This extremely automated and efficient workflow allows patients to see a short clip of how their treatment will take place after the scan but before they commit to going ahead with the procedure.