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How do you use the Invisalign / Tru-line aligners?

05 May 2011

We have been using Invisalign and Tru-line to straighten patients teeth for several years. Both Invisalign and Tru-line aligners are very effective methods of orthodontically moving teeth without the needs for conventional metal braces and wires. They both have their limitations and are not suitable in all cases. However for the right cases, these systems are comfortable and easy to use without any of the complications that can be involved with braces.

Aligners are used with both methods to slowly move the teeth into the straightened positions. Aligners are custom made thermoformed trays that represent the desired new position of the teeth. Once worn, they exert a pressure on the teeth which causes plastic deformation of the bone surrounding the teeth causing remodeling and new bone being laid down.

The most important factor for a successful result with the aligners is duration of wear. The aligners must be worn for at least twenty hours a day to allow the teeth to move in the desired way. Invisalign Teen has a wear indicator that tells you if the aligners have been worn sufficiently between the recall appointments.

The aligners are worn all day and night and only taken off to eat or drink anything apart from water. Many patients report losing weight because it prevents them from snacking in between meals! The first time new aligners are worn, we would also advise taking some painkillers and wearing before going to bed and not taking them out until the morning. As they soften overnight, and the teeth move a little, it makes them easier to take off in the morning.

The main difference between the two systems is that with the Invisalign system the entire treatment is designed on the computer and the movement can be tweaked. In this way the exact number of aligners is known from the outset. Attachments are also easily placed onto specific teeth when more difficult movements are required. The Tru-line system has been done by hand thus far, without the ability to place attachments so only more simple movements are possible. While they are moving to a computerised models with attachments, we have yet to see the end result.

Essentially this means that when aligners are worn, they must be squashed down onto the teeth to be effective. When a patient changes to a new aligner, it does not ‘fit’ passively because the new aligner is trying to force the teeth into a position. Both systems come with a bit of rubber that you can chew on to really squeeze the aligners onto the teeth. The Invisalign trays must engage their respective attachments completely, while the Tru-line trays must be flush against the teeth.

Realistically this means that Invisalign can be used for more difficult, complex movements of teeth ie. about 90% of orthodontic cases, while Tru-line is used for orthodontic relapse and minor teeth movements. Overall, for successful orthodontic movement, the aligners must be able to create the movement required but more importantly the patient must use the aligners for the majority of the day.

We are certified a Invisalign Sydney dentist. To see if either of these systems are right for you, contact us at our Neutral Bay office for a complimentary consult. We’ll have you smiling again in no time.

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