How Do Clear Aligners Work?

The world has changed so much in the past 20 years, from the Internet to Smart Phones to Clear Aligners. Technology has come a long way and changed the way we do almost everything, even straightening teeth!

When Aligners first came out, they were extremely limited in what they could do and only very minor tooth movements could be performed. This meant that the majority of patients still needed braces and would not be a good candidate for Clear Aligners. Fast forward 20 years and the technology has improved significantly. Now most patients can be treated with aligners; however, there is a catch. In order for Clear Aligners to be effective in creating a beautiful smile, the patient must wear them consistently for around 20-22 hours a day.


When it comes to Aligners, they move teeth very differently than braces. Aligners use small pressure points (called attachments) to help guide the teeth in the right direction. Gone are the days of coming in for monthly tightenings with braces. With Aligners you only have to come into the office every couple months, and because you change them weekly, each aligner only does a quarter of a millimeter of movement so the movements are very gradual. The majority of patients who had braces as a child and then Aligners as an adult report that the Aligners are much more comfortable.


1. Meet with an Orthodontic Specialist

It is important to meet with an Orthodontic Specialist to see if you are a good candidate for Clear Aligners. At Happier Smiles Orthodontics, we offer Complimentary Consultations so you can find out if Clear Aligners are right for you.

2. Get your 3D Digital Scan

Goopy molds and impressions are a thing of the past! Once your Orthodontist has determined that you are a good candidate for Aligners, the next step is to get your 3D Digital Scan. This scan of your teeth is far more accurate and comfortable than the goopy molds used in the past. The 3D Scan can also be sent via the cloud meaning that your Aligners can be delivered sooner.

3. Aligner Creation on the Computer

Once your 3D Scan has been sent to Spark, they will send back a treatment plan of the Aligners to your Orthodontist. This is where your Orthodontist does most of the work designing all the tooth movements that will be engineered into your custom Aligners. Spark then 3D prints each custom Aligner designed by your Orthodontist.

4. Aligner Delivery Day

The day has finally come and your Aligners have been delivered. Your Orthodontist will add those little tooth colored anchor points (also called attachments) and give you your first set of Aligners. You will then change your Aligners each week or as directed by your Orthodontist. Each Aligner moves your teeth only around a quarter of a millimeter so the change is very gradual.

5. Routine Check Ups

One of the benefits of Aligners is that you don’t have to take off work or miss school as frequently to come in for tightenings like with braces. With Aligners patients come in every 2-3 months for check ups and to pick up their new set of Aligners.

6. Retainers

Once you complete your Aligner treatment and have the smile of your dreams it’s time for retainers! Retainers are important to hold everything in place and to keep your smile looking as great as the day you finished treatment.

So what are you waiting for? Start with a Complimentary Consultation today to see if Aligners are right for you!