Aligners and Fixed Appliances

Clear Aligners and Fixed Appliances

We are carrying out more and more aligner treatments here at our orthodontic practice in Birmingham, and Invisalign is the main teeth straightening product that we use.  There are a number of different options that can be considered for treatments.  Clear aligners are a series of thin, clear trays which, when worn in series, gradually straighten the teeth.  Some cases work better with fixed than with aligners and vice versa.

What kind of problems suit Aligner systems?

Some open bite cases work extremely well because they don’t feature some of the undesirable movements that can occur with fixed braces.  By anchoring the aligners to the back teeth, it is easier to bring the upper and lower front teeth together.  Some cases where the vertical overlap between the upper and lower teeth is increased are also more straightforward using this type of approach.

Some deep bite cases can be managed well with aligners because they can be designed to help open the bite without the problems of fixed brace brackets becoming broken off.

What doesn’t work so well?

Having said that, some aligner treatments work less well.  Especially lower incisor crowding with lots of rotations on the teeth.  Space has to be opened first and then alignment, which is more time-consuming.  Large spaces are more difficult to close with aligners because the bodily movement required to move the teeth is more difficult to control. With these types of cases, another type of treatment may be better.  If you want to hide your brace, then lingual braces might work better in these situations.  Lingual braces are like train track braces but stuck onto the tongue side surfaces of the teeth.

What are the alternatives?

When having Invisalign treatments the aligners that are used can work very well but sometimes a single aligner combined with other components can work even better.  We are now carrying out some treatments where we integrate other components onto the appliance itself that can help us move teeth in a different way.  Combinations of aligners or even just a single aligner and elastics or buttons.  This can work really well where someone has flared upper arch teeth which are displaced out toward the cheek.  A single aligner is a fraction of the cost of having a full series of aligners and the rest can be done with elastics and attachments.   The attachments are placed either to the teeth or to the aligner. This process is helping us to carry out treatments which are even more tailor-made and don’t always rely on changing aligners.

We also combine different methods.  Sometimes a lingual brace stuck to the tongue side of the appliance will work better in one arch of the teeth while an aligner system will work better in the other arch.  Combining different technologies like this is something that we have gained a great deal of expertise in over the years.

We are seeing more people who have been to places where a product is offered rather than a tailor-made solution. Sometimes without even seeing a dentist!  If you are concerned that you are being offered a product rather than a solution for you as an individual, we are happy to see you at our orthodontist practice in Birmingham and plan or discuss what might work best for you.

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