First Align (1st Phase Aligners) @Invisalign

When a child grows, their smile grows alongside them. And even with baby teeth, children aged 6 to 10 can begin orthodontic treatment, which is referred to as Phase 1 treatment.

With the use of a digital scanner, our practice also now offers a new treatment option to our patients when the orthodontic problem is not complex. Complex problems are cases with skeletal abnormalities and extensive bundling, for example.

A comprehensive orthodontic investigation will precede your aligner treatment.

The treatment entails that you will be provided with a set of clear aligners (10-20 sets on average) and that you will use one set (top and bottom) for approximately 2 weeks until the desired result is achieved. These devices must not be used for less than 22 hours per day.

What are clear aligners?

Clear aligners are a modern and virtually invisible alternative to traditional braces to align teeth and correct malocclusions. They are custom-made to fit your teeth and gradually straighten them over time. Because of their subtle appearance, aligners are a popular choice for adults and older teens who want to improve their smiles. These aligners are replaced every 7 to 14 days with a new set.

In our practice, we use Spark and Invisalign® aligner systems for optimum quality, comfort and care.

Clear aligners are generally used for the less complicated orthodontic malocclusions. The orthodontist will give you clear guidance on whether you are a suitable case to be treated with clear aligners.

How do clear aligners work?

Clear aligners work by applying gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position. The aligners are worn for a set amount of time each day, usually between 20-22 hours. Every eight weeks, we will schedule a visit to evaluate your aligners’ progress.

The clear aligner process

The course of the treatment process is as follows:

1. You make an orthodontic consultation appointment at our practice, where the normal orthodontic examinations are completed. The investigation typically involves photography, panoramic X-ray imaging, Cephalogram, periapical X-ray imaging and a digital scan.

2. During this first consultation, Dr Swart will be able to determine whether you are a possible candidate for this treatment.

3. If you can possibly be treated in this way, a quotation will be handed to you for consideration. You will have to complete an informed consent document, and we then forward this document and your orthodontic records and scan it to the aligner technician.

4. The computer technician does a digital setup for the treatment to determine the number of translucent aligners you will have to use, and they then send a treatment plan (Clincheck) to us, together with a virtual representation of how the teeth will be aligned.

5. As part of the treatment plan, it is often necessary to do interdental stripping of teeth here and there between teeth to create small spacings so that the teeth can align nicely.

6. If the technician’s treatment plan is approved, he can proceed with manufacturing the devices.

7. During the first treatment appointment, small transparent attachments (virtually invisible) are placed on the teeth, which are required to make certain complex movements. If interdental stripping is required, it will be done. The translucent aligners are fitted and handed over to the patient, and thorough guidance is given to the patient regarding the use of the devices.

8. Patients are requested to schedule an appointment with us after every 4th set of devices used.

9. The last set of aligners provided is used full-time for 6 weeks, and then the translucent attachments on the teeth are removed, and a new scan is done.

10. After this, the technician produces transparent retention appliances for the patient for both dental arches, after which the patient uses them long-term.

11. If appliances are lost, the patient must inform us indicating the sequence number of the appliance as well as which dental arch it is. The technician can duplicate the device at a small extra cost. 

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Frequently asked questions about aligners

Are clear aligners uncomfortable?

Most of our patients experienced little to no discomfort when wearing clear aligners. They are designed to fit your teeth and don’t have the same framework as braces, alleviating any chaffing.

How long does treatment take?

The amount of time you will have your aligners depends on your individual needs and the severity of your case. Typically, aligner treatment takes 12-18 months.

How do I clean my clear aligners?

Clear aligners should be cleaned daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap or a clear aligner cleaner. It’s essential to remove any plaque or food particles before inserting the aligners. You should also brush your teeth before putting them back in.

Can I play sports or musical instruments while wearing aligners?

Yes, you can continue your daily activities and hobbies, but we recommend wearing a mouthguard for added protection.

Will clear aligners affect my speech?

Some patients may experience a slight lisp when starting treatment, but this usually subsides as you get used to wearing your aligners.

Let’s get started with your new smile

You are moments away from seeing how great your new smile could be