How Clear Aligners got there?
Since the inception of digital clear aligners in the late nineteen hundreds, we have seen clear aligners move through many different stages. Mostly small incremental stages that added small value bit by bit but never came to the point of full concept upheaval.
The most common clear aligner materials till date were various types of polymers from polyurethanes to PETGs and etc. These materials provided an adequate modulus of elasticity that was suitable to stretch on teeth surfaces and exert adequate pressure on teeth to generate forces and respectively show tooth movements.
Patients have to wear several aligners that could be worn from 1–2 weeks per aligner i.e. 2 weeks in case of K clear. Putting in a nutshell clear aligners were static dummy plastic trays that do one job it was designed to do, push teeth, no more.
Clear aligners are worn almost 87% of the patient’s day & night time, they live with them, they cuddle them, chew on them, clean them and then just throw them in 2 weeks away to wear the following one in line. We are in 2018, where the word “smart” has been adherent to almost everything we experience and around us. Why can’t we make our clear invisible aligners also SMART?
What if we made these plastic molds called clear aligners smarter and act in biomimicry like human muscles? will that make them smarter, better and more effective?
What if we have less number of aligners to wear, location detecting sensors built-in the aligners and most of all save our environment by decreasing plastic usage and waste?
I agree to less is smarter. Less number of aligners make every aligner count and thus invest in every aligner and make it worth.
It turns out that all this could be possible in the near future. We call these dynamic 4d clear aligners. In physics, 4d stands for the dimension of time. So basically manufacturing clear aligners from shape memory polymers specifically designed to reshape itself step by step within a time frame of 2 months to move teeth an average of 2mm, thus replacing the need for 4 aligners by just one single aligner.
4D dynamic orthodontics is near and it could be disruptive for the whole orthodontic industry.
Stay tuned for more blogs about 4D orthodontics coming soon in our blogs.