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An Aligner (from alignment) is an invisible synthetic retainer, which is used to straighten out teeth. The company Align Technology developed the Aligner at the end of the 90’s in the United States and has been offering their products since 2001 in Germany.
Over the course of time, the German company Scheu-Dental has developed a qualitatively comparable Aligner system with their own Clear-Aligner. Which is a great alternative for many of our patients at MUNDWERK Die Kieferorthopäden.
When searching the world wide web one thing becomes clear: the product palette seems endless. It is not easy to maintain a great overview, especially since different companies make product promises that are medically questionable. If Aligner treatments are executed by non-professional colleagues it can easily cause substantial problems that can not be reversed, such as the reduction of bone, or the deterioration of dental roots. An improper procedure, like any orthodontic treatment, can entail mandibular joint problems or lead to at least insufficient stability.
Therefore, the orthodontic procedure with Aligners belongs in the hands of specialists. This way, the desired results can be achieved. Specialists in orthodontia complete a three-year special dentist education with a compulsory period spent at a German university and final exams. This education allows them to identify the right diagnosis and to choose the right therapy/treatment for their patients. The desire for beautiful teeth plays an important role when considering Aligner treatment, and is therefore a very individual procedure. A lifetime of stable and beautiful teeth is the mission for all patients at MUNDWERK Die Kieferorthopäden.
All of the diagnostic documents necessary for an Aligner treatment, which will shortly be described in the following, are being created and evaluated digitally.
Firstly, an intraoral scan (or digital print) will be performed so that the dental and jaw bone malposition can be explained to the patient. Further, the digital depiction allows for the patient's wishes to be discussed in detail. Even a simulation of the expected results is possible. The process of the digital scan only takes a few minutes and does not cause any trouble for the patient. The gathered information will be then used to create a treatment and financial plan, as well as the ordering process for the Alinger. So in case there needs to be a model printed for an evaluation it can be done quickly. Of course, we at MUNDWERK Die Kieferorthopäden make sure that our quality management system is up to date and corresponding to all data security measures.
X-rays of the teeth and jaw bone will be made, in order to assess the relevant anatomical structures for the orthodontic treatment. These include: the state of the tooth root, the bone incidence - especially at the dental front area - and the position of the upper and lower jaw bone in relation to the facial skull. Certainly, x-rays will only be made based on a justified indication and following radiation protection protocol. The radiation impact is comparably small, due to the state-of-the-art, digital devices. Pregnant patients will not be x-rayed, the Aligner treatment however is still a possibility.
In order to make the Aligners multiple photographs of the patient’s teeth are necessary. For example, it is important to see the progression of the gums, as well as the relation of the teeth to the lips, to ensure a beautiful smile with your “new” teeth.
The diagnostic documents can be made accessible to you via email or text message to your smartphone or tablet. A comparison of the documents from the beginning of the treatment to the final documents can be surprising for a lot of patients!
After finishing up the creation and evaluation of the diagnostic documents and the signing off on the treatment and financial plan the production of the Aligners will be started immediately. We will relay the data over to the production company along with a so-called prescription. For each individual tooth we have a clear vision of how it should be moved and where it is supposed to end up in the dental arcade. Hereby, we are focused on achieving the desired shaping of the front teeth and a most accurate occlusion of the Aligners for our orthodontic treatment.
As soon as the Aligners arrive at MUNDWERK Die Kieferorthopäden, the patient will be notified immediately to schedule the next appointment. During this appointment the first Aligners will be put in, which then will need to be worn 20 hours a day for two weeks. It will be explained to the patient how the orthodontic device is to be cared for. Aligners should be taken out during meals and when drinking any kind of fluids, except water. Further, they should be cleaned multiple times a day, according to the daily dental hygiene ritual with a toothbrush and toothpaste. The 0.6 mm thin Aligners will be comfortable for patients after a short adaptation period. Problems rarely arise, and if they do they can be solved quickly and unbureaucratically.
At the second appointment, after roughly two weeks, further measures for the Aligner treatment will be discussed if necessary. These measures could be small attachments made for dental movement, or an enamel correction at the contact areas on the side of the teeth through minimally invasive sanding and polishing of about 0.1 to 0.2 mm. Afterwards, Aligners for the next eight weeks will be given to the patient. The second pair of retainers is for ten days and the third pair of Aligners is to be worn for one week. The Aligners will be worn as long as the desired results are achieved. Sometimes additional Aligners will be made, which will be at no cost from the production company.
Generally, there are three different options for Aligner treatments with Invisalign.
The Invisalign Comprehensive treatment includes the shaping of the dental arcade, the positioning of all teeth in the upper and lower jaw, as well as the adjustment of the bite form. Comparable to a multi banded, multi bracketed apparatus a comprehensive regulation of the dental and jaw bone malposition is achieved. The treatment period is about one to one and a half years long, and the result usually yields - besides the esthetic effect - a very functional approach for higher stability.
Invisalign Lite is best for patients who want and need a new shaping of the dental arcade and positioning of the teeth in the upper and lower jaw bone. The adjustment of the bite form is not part of this Aligner treatment. The treatment period is about eight to ten months.
The Aligner treatment with the lowest impact is the Invisalign Progress. The frontal teeth will be correctly positioned, to achieve a straight and beautiful front teeth appearance. Usually, this can be completed in multiple weeks to a few months.
Many patients are used through the Aligner method to wear retainers. This is why special holding retainers, which are a little more stable, are being worn regularly during the night. This is very important in the first six months after an orthodontic treatment, because in this time the alveolus consolidation is achieved. Afterwards, the period of usage can be reduced in accordance with the orthodontist.
Patients who, after an Aligner treatment, don’t wish to continue with the method of constantly putting the device in and taking it out, have the option to get tight and thin wires permanently installed behind the frontal teeth. These adhesive wire retainers are very robust and low maintenance, with only one check-up a year. They also don’t bother you when you eat, laugh, speak, kiss, chew, or sing - since they are fixed from canine to canine they are invisible.
Dr. Michael K. Thomas is one of the pioneers of the Invisalign treatment in Germany. In 2001 he completed the first Invisalign certification course in Berlin. He then quickly introduced this new type of orthodontic treatment to his practice. Since then this modern method has gained importance and is now one of the most commonly used treatment methods in orthodontic medical practices.
If you are thinking about trying out the Aligner treatment yourself, contact us! In our non-binding Aligner appointments we are answering all of your questions in a competent and extensive way - all without timely pressure.
Together we can discuss calmly if this treatment method is for you and if so, which one of the Aligner options fits your desired results best. Of course, the extent of the treatment and the financial costs will be sorted out beforehand. We offer different payment installments options, which are often used by our patients.
We have already successfully treated more than 2500 patients through the Aligner method from various production companies and we are looking forward to offering you consultation at MUNDWERK Die Kieferorthopäden, the Aligner centre in the south west of Berlin in the Zehlendorfer Welle.