5 New Instruments Designed to Enhance the Adaptability of Clear Aligners
When we first introduced the Clear Collection for Clear Aligners, we wanted to make it easier for dental professionals like you to manipulate invisible aligners without the need to heat the instrument. The original line-up of instruments – The Tear Drop, The Vertical, The Horizontal, and The Hole Punch – were a big hit, and in the years following their introduction, treatment with clear aligners has only continued to grow in popularity among patients.
Today, the majority of orthodontists utilize clear aligner therapy in their practice. Naturally, as more patients adopt clear aligners, there is a greater need for additional flexibility when it comes to manipulating aligners, chairside.
Indeed, there are many ways to accent, individualize, and optimize the biomechanics of invisible aligners. That’s why we again teamed with Dr. Jay Bowman, who originated the design of the Clear Collection. Consequently, we are introducing five brand-new instruments to provide even more options to enhance aligner treatments.
Meet the Clear Collection Expansion:
The Spot creates a tiny, rounded dimple for spot contacts to accent small individual tooth movements for added aligner retention. It can be used to accent movements on any tooth in the aligner that needs just a “nudge.” The Spot’s small depression placed adjacent to the gingival embrasures can also enhance the retentiveness of an aligner or retainer.
Why is this important? Dr. Bowman explains: “Occasionally, near the end of a series of aligners, a single tooth is just not in ideal position and could benefit from a little push. In this manner, a small indent in the last few aligners from The Spot instrument may preclude the need for another complete refinement.”
The Petite Punch
Similar in design to the Hole Punch from the original Clear Collection, The Petite Punch cuts a 4.5-milimeter half-moon cutout in an aligner for relief of the plastic around bonded buttons for smaller teeth like premolars. This instrument can be used to create cut-outs in either the buccal or lingual marginal plastic, anywhere desired along an aligner. The Petite Punch can also be used to “nip away” plastic at the edge of aligners to provide relief from soft tissue impingement or irritation.
According to Dr. Bowman: “The original Hole Punch was created to assist in placing buttons on large molar teeth. In contrast, The Petite Punch was designed to provide clearance for adding bonded buttons on narrower teeth like premolars and canines.”
The Mesial Wedge and The Distal Wedge
The two new Wedge instruments are used to enhance the rotational movement of specific teeth, one of the least predictable movements with aligners. The Wedges produce an indent in either the mesial or distal side on the facial (near the line angle of the tooth) with the intent of functioning similar to a typical “rotational wedge” used with braces. This can be combined by using the same Wedge instrument on the lingual side of the aligner, but on the (mesial or distal) line angle on the opposite side of the tooth. In this manner, the two opposing Wedge indents can create the force for a rotational couple.
In other words, by producing an indent on the mesial or distal side of the facial plastic and a corresponding, but opposite, depression on the lingual side of the tooth, a rotational force couple is produced. It is important to keep in mind that aligners do flex to accommodate Clear Collection indents. For organizational purposes, The Mesial Wedge is used to affect a mesial rotation of the Mandibular Right and Maxillary Left teeth. This instrument is also used to affect a distal rotation of Mandibular Left and Maxillary Right. In contrast, The Distal Wedge is used to affect a distal rotation of Mandibular Right and Maxillary Left teeth. It is also used to affect a mesial rotation of Mandibular Left and Maxillary Right.
As an alternative, the Wedge instruments can also produce a “reservoir” depression in an aligner (from the inside out) in a location where a bonded attachment is desired. This reservoir is filled with composite, applied to the tooth, and cured. A scan or impression can then be taken to create aligners that employ the new attachment(s).
Dr. Bowman adds, “Rotational movements, especially of laterals and canines, have been recognized as having poor predictability. This may warrant the application of customized rotational wedges, hence the need for these new Wedge instruments.”
The Eraser is designed to reverse or remove unwanted indents placed by other instruments in the Clear Collection by flattening the plastic where a depression was inadvertently positioned or where the accent indent is no longer required. Indents can be erased with just a few squeezes of the instrument.
As Dr. Bowman explains: “Once an accent indent (like from The Spot, The Vertical or The Horizontal instruments) is no longer required in an aligner, The Eraser is used to eliminate them.”
Add to Your Collection
Clear aligner manipulation is as much an art as it is a science, and these new instruments provide enhanced flexibility when it comes to making precise adjustments. As dental professionals, that means better outcomes for your patients with less effort. So, add to your Clear Collection today for more transformative smiles.