Ladera Ranch, CA – Clear Aligner Therapy (CAT) is growing in popularity, and chances are good that you know at least one person currently using it as their orthodontic treatment option. If you are also in need of orthodontic treatment, chances are you have some questions about the different options. One common question is how does clear aligner therapy work to move teeth? Ladera Orthodontics explains.
First, let’s explain what CAT is. CAT uses series of clear, plastic aligners that are worn for a certain period to gently guide teeth to their new locations. The aligners are removable and comfortable to wear. But how do they work to move the teeth?
Simply put, your aligners will apply directed and controlled pressure to the teeth to guide them into their ideal positions. Each set of your aligners will be perfectly calibrated to achieve a certain movement, so that by the end of your treatment, all your teeth will be in their new desired locations.
There is one key difference between how braces move teeth and how aligners move teeth. Braces, using brackets and wires, apply a pull force to shift teeth. Aligners, however, use a push force to gently guide the teeth. Aligners can move teeth to their new positions in as little as 24 hours, but that doesn’t mean it is time to move on to the next set of aligners yet.
To understand why, we must examine the structure of the tooth. The roots of your teeth are covered in a material called cementum. This cementum is connected to the tooth socket by the periodontal ligament (PDL). This ligament acts as the anchor to hold the teeth into their sockets. In order to move your teeth, we must gently work at the PDL to guide it through the bone thereby allowing the tooth to make its necessary movement.
When pressure is applied to the tooth, the ligament is stretched on one side of the root but compressed on the other. Two new kinds of bone cells are created in this process. Osteoclasts break down the bone on the side of the ligament that was compressed, while osteoblasts build new bone cells on the side that was stretched. This is why once the movement has been made, it doesn’t mean the PDL is ready to hold it in place just yet. The ligament must get used to the movement and build up the bone, while the gums and other tissues need time to adjust, as well. That’s why you need to wear the same aligner set for seven to 10 days.
Your orthodontist will create a fully customized treatment plan that will use this process to gently guide your teeth until eventually, they have moved to the desired locations. Your aligners will place a precisely controlled level of pressure to the teeth to guide them into their ideal positions in a more convenient and aesthetic way than regular braces. You won’t need to visit your orthodontist every couple of weeks to have your wires tightened but will instead simply move to your next set of aligners following the schedule set forth by your orthodontist.
Clear aligner therapy is a wonderful orthodontic treatment option for many patients. To determine if you are an ideal candidate, call Ladera Orthodontics today at 949-203-2644.