A favourite with orthodontic patients who are conscious about a metallic smile, aligners are not only transparent but also more comfortable than conventional braces. They are removable trays that have to be worn for at least 20-22 hrs a day. Each set of trays is meant to be worn for 2-3 weeks as advised by your dentist or orthodontist. Aligner therapy is being used for a large number and types of cases but in complex situations, conventional braces are still the choice of treatment.
Treatment with aligners largely depends on the patient’s compliance. An aligner case can take a minimum of 3 months to over 2 years if the patient is regular in wearing them. Aligners can take longer than their said time frame in case of slightly difficult cases.
However, other reasons the aligner treatment can take longer are:
- Non- compliance by the patient: The aligners need to be worn for a minimum of 20 hrs a day. If this is not followed, they need to be worn for a day or two more than required for that particular set of trays. In this way, the treatment time keeps increasing for the overall treatment.
- Poor oral hygiene: If the patient is not maintaining his/ her oral hygiene, it can lead to gum disease or tooth cavities. In case of gum disease, there can be bleeding from the gums and pain in the teeth. Both these conditions need the patient to stop wearing the aligners till the gum disease or inflammation subsides. In case a tooth decay develops, the patient needs to get that tooth treated before re-wearing the aligners. This also leads to extension of treatment time.
- Missing an appointment with your dentist/ orthodontist: Even though patients with aligners don’t need to visit their dentist or orthodontist every month, they still need to come for follow- up visits as and when the dentist requires them to. Missing these appointments can extend the aligner treatment duration.