Invisible aligners: how they work

Clear aligners situated on a black colored desk

Adult orthodontics is more popular than ever these days. Perhaps you missed the opportunity to have orthodontic treatment as a child, or maybe as you have gotten older, your teeth have become misaligned. Luckily, your local dentist Welwyn Garden City may be able to offer you a treatment that is discreet, time-saving and affordable.


Relatively new to the area of adult orthodontics is the clear aligner.
Custom fitted to slot over your teeth, this visually discreet aligner can speed up the process of realigning your teeth; this is due to the design of the aligner and how long each aligner is worn. Generally, if you begin treatment with a clear aligner, you will be given a set of between 14 to 16 aligners, with each one needing to be worn for 14 days.

The aligners themselves have different shapes, which are predicted using computer software, to gradually push your teeth in smaller increments, speeding up the process and making it more comfortable.

It is important that you wear the aligners in the precise order and do not skip any of them, as this can slow your treatment and cause your teeth to move back to their original positions.


Clear aligners are removable, and as such, many patients assume that they will be comfortable, especially when compared to traditional metal braces.

This is partially true. You need to remember that aligners are designed to move your teeth, and when you switch between aligners, the newer aligner may feel tight or slightly uncomfortable. But as the aligners are made from thin plastic, they do not protrude outwards and are less likely to cause friction against your tongue or inner cheeks. They also do not require tightening or adjusting, making them more lifestyle-friendly, as there will be fewer trips to see your dental team.


woman in white sweater putting a clear aligners in her mouth

To keep your aligners clear, you will need to keep them clean! This also has a hygiene reason; you will not want any food or bacteria that is on the aligner to be pressed against your teeth or gums, as this may increase the chances of you developing tooth decay or gum disease.
So, to keep the aligner clean, simply rinse them under a cool tap twice a day. Do not use hot water to clean them since this may cause them to warp out of shape.

You will need to wear your aligners for around 22 hours per day or as directed by your dental team. If you do not wear them for the directed time, your treatment may slow and your teeth may revert.
It is advised that you remove your aligners when you are eating or drinking anything that is not cold water; this will minimise staining and, of course, will keep your aligners clean.

Treatment time

Though variable, many patients wear invisible aligners for between 3 to 6 months; this is dependent on the issue being corrected by the aligners and how often you wear them.

If you lose an aligner or there is an issue with the realignment process, it is likely to take slightly longer, with some patients requiring the use of a clear aligner for up to and over a year.

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