(Transparent Plates)
In today's world, where aesthetics has become a necessity rather than a luxury, we get our first impressions by looking at the faces of the people we meet for the first time. The most striking part of our facial aesthetics is the mouth and surrounding hard and soft tissues, including our teeth. The alignment, shape, color and harmony of our teeth with the rest of the face will be the first noticeable area in the entire facial aesthetics. A beautiful and aesthetic smile increases a person's self-confidence and admiration in society.

In cases where the teeth are crooked, overlapped or spaced or there is a problem with the closing of the jaws, orthodontic treatment is the healthiest way to achieve an aesthetic smile. At the same time, you will have a beautiful smile that you will use for a lifetime without causing any damage to your own teeth.

However, when orthodontic treatment (braces treatment) is mentioned, the first image that comes to mind and that we see most often around us is the image of metal brackets and wires glued on the teeth. At first glance, many people find this image disturbing, so they move away from orthodontic treatment even though they need it. Instead, they turn to treatments such as prostheses, etc., which they consider as alternatives, but which may actually cause material loss from their natural teeth and negatively affect oral and dental health. Unfortunately, these invasive treatments are also irreversible, and if you are not satisfied, there is no chance of returning to your old natural teeth.

Today, in the field of orthodontics, as in every field, an increasing variety of both treatment and material options have been developed. Considering the aesthetic concerns of our adult patients, especially those who are involved in social or professional life, invisible alternatives have been produced with less visible transparent brackets or transparent plates instead of externally visible wires.

Treatment with transparent aligners is actually a treatment method that has been around for more than 10 years, but was not fully known by both physicians and patients in our country until recent years. In this treatment carried out by an orthodontist, teeth can be gradually moved and corrected with transparent plaques that are replaced by patients once a week or every 14 days and can be put on and off. With this treatment, which is completed with an average of 40 to 60 plates, almost all orthodontic treatments with fixed braces can be performed. It should be noted that the treatment with plates is personalized and the plates are prepared on the computer according to the measurements taken at the beginning of each patient. It is produced with three-dimensional (3D) printers so that the results can be predicted from the very beginning of the treatment. Thus, while the patient is at the decision-making stage at the beginning of the treatment, he can watch on the computer how his teeth will straighten throughout the treatment and how they will look as a result.

At this stage, after the treatment is planned and shared with the patient, the decision is made and the treatment is started. First of all, digital measurements are taken from the patient (with intraoral scanners) or mouth measurements taken with silicone-based impression materials are transferred to the digital environment. Then, on the digital measurements sent to the company that will prepare these transparent plaques, models are processed in line with the recommendations and planning of the orthodontist and three-dimensional corrections are made with the computer program. After the approval of the orthodontist is received, these plaques are prepared one by one with three-dimensional printers according to the data transferred from the digital environment, and in total Plates are ready in quantities varying between 30-60 plaques. These plates are sent to the orthodontist by the company. During the appointment with the patient, the orthodontist explains the use of these plates and starts by checking them and taking photographs. The patient should be called for check-ups every 4 or 8 weeks, because the functioning of the plates and the patient's use should be monitored and photographs taken. In the later stages of the treatment, when it is noticed that it is not going as planned, measurements can be taken at that stage again and sent to the manufacturer (re-capture) to re-plan the treatment. Sometimes, if it is thought that the desired results are not achieved at the end of the treatment, measurements can be taken and new aligners can be ordered to continue the treatment for a while. All these stages are included in clear aligner treatment planning.

At the end of the treatment, a consolidation phase begins, as should be the case at the end of all orthodontic treatments, in order for the results obtained to be permanent. At this stage, permanent reinforcement can be made with thin fixed wires attached to the lingual surfaces of the teeth, or transparent plates can be used and these plates can be used at night for a while and the reinforcement period can be waited.

We recommend that these transparent aligners, which do not cause any problems in terms of vision and speech in daily life, should be removed only while eating and drinking. In fact, the idea of these treatment plates being "removable" is more acceptable to many people and can be easily tolerated by adult patients. We can say that it is the easiest way to straighten your teeth without interfering with your social life.

At the same time, while it is necessary to clean the spaces between fixed brackets and between the teeth with special brushes to ensure oral hygiene, the fact that transparent aligners are removable provides an advantage in terms of ease of cleaning and making tooth brushing much more comfortable. The plaques that have already been removed during eating can be cleaned by brushing with the person's own toothbrush and paste after meals, and when the person puts on the plaques after brushing his teeth, the necessary oral hygiene is achieved.

In addition to these advantages of treatment with transparent aligners, the fact that they are removable can also become a disadvantage. Because this makes the treatment dependent on the patient, and the time it takes for the patient to frequently remove and reinsert the plate, this delays the progress of the treatment and there is a risk of losing the plates. For this reason, the person who decides on this treatment must first decide whether he can use the plates as recommended by his doctor. To test this, the orthodontist can ask the orthodontist to make passive trial plates before starting the treatment and try to use these plates as recommended for a few weeks.

In addition, we should not fall into the misconception that orthodontic treatment with transparent aligners will take less time or cost less because it works with the same mechanics and principles as other orthodontic treatments. As a result, in this treatment, the movement speed of the teeth will be within physiological limits, and the treatment duration is approximately the same as in classical treatments. Since the production of these plaques individually and through 3D printers also increases their costs, treatment fees are determined accordingly.

Orthodontic Specialist

Dr.Evrim Karadağ