In this article, we explain why a change from the traditional bi-weekly aligner to weekly aligner change improves Autograph Aligners' clinical outcomes and enhances the patient experience.
In our aesthetically focused world, clear removable aligners are now a popular method for orthodontic treatment. Although variables such as age, sex, root characteristics, and bone quality affect treatment outcomes; advancements including aligner pliers, aesthetic buttons, attachments and use of different material thickness present an opportunity to overcome the limitations previously experienced by clinicians with clear aligners. Autograph’s change from bi-weekly to weekly not only aims to address some of these limitations; it also improves patient compliance and comfort.
What results can be expected with weekly aligner changes?
Richard Cousley, the former Consultant Orthodontist at Peterborough and owner of Visage Orthodontics and the Priestgate Clinic, has trialed the Autograph weekly system. He has spoken highly of the change, and of Autograph in general. “I use the weekly Autograph aligner system because it achieves consistently good results. The customer service is excellent and the turnaround times are swift - I know I’m in good hands with the Autograph team”
With a change from bi-weekly to weekly changes, many orthodontists report a reduction in refinements being needed after treatment in comparison with two weekly changes, or in some cases none at all. This is partly because the incremental change feels more gradual – alternating from 0.75 aligner material in week one, to 1mm in week two, back to 0.75 in week three and so on – finishing with a 1mm final aligner - suggested to be worn for two weeks before entering the retention period.
“I use the weekly Autograph aligner system because it achieves consistently good results. The customer service is excellent and the turnaround times are swift - I know I’m in good hands with the Autograph team”
Unlike some clear aligner systems which offer weekly changes in order to speed up treatment times, the Autograph system has not been designed with this in mind. The changes have simply been spread over double the number of aligners – creating a streamlined course of treatment where teeth are less likely to be left behind.
Case photos by Richard Cousley, Orthodontist
The Patient is a 29-year-old male.
How do weekly aligners benefit the patient?
Hygiene is an added bonus that comes with the switch. They will feel cleaner, as they are only worn for a week, and also will be more pleasant to wear. Even with the best brushing routine, a weekly aligner gives less opportunity for bacterial deposits to develop in the anatomical curves – reducing the chance of any odour.
Many patients with bruxism experience breakages – leading to extra practice visits, increased chair time and the associated costs, not to mention stress and inconvenience for the patient. Weekly aligners half the chance of this happening – good news for all.
“It is important for us to constantly assess ways we can develop Autograph further – therefore, we knew weekly changes were a way forward for us. However, we felt it unfair to penalise our loyal customers, plus our existing price remains attractive for new customers”.
Do weekly aligners cost more than bi-weekly?
No. Quite generously, the cost of the extra aligners has not been passed on to the clinician. The amount of aligners has doubled, yet the price of each aligner has halved. This means the system can continue to be a competitive product for clinicians to market. Atiq Zaman, laboratory manager of Studio 8 - DB Orthodontics’ in-house laboratory said, “It is important for us to constantly assess ways we can develop Autograph further – therefore, we knew weekly changes were a way forward for us. However, we felt it unfair to penalise our loyal customers, plus our existing price remains attractive for new customers”.
What other variables affect clear aligner treatment outcomes?
Research has shown that the final dental results from clear aligners may not entirely match the prescribed tooth movement planned during digital set up. This may be due to the flexibility of aligner material; inaccuracies in impression, model creation and vacuum/pressure forming technique; and differences in tooth reaction to force (1-4).
Can aligner pliers avoid refinements?
The process of individualising aligners with aligner pliers may avoid future refinement stages by recovering teeth which may have fallen behind during treatment.
The Ixion Rotation Aligner Plier (IX888)
Aligners pliers produce an accurately sized indent to create or modify force application points or provide retention.
DB Orthodontics is currently working on 3 aligner pliers due for launch at the BOC this September.
Featuring the world-renowned elegant and streamline Ixion design, the range of aligner pliers aid clinicians in the successful treatment of all cases.
With no heat required and narrow tips for easier access into narrow and thin anteriors, these easy to use pliers are perfect for many functions, including achieving greater torque, rotational control, and retention.
- The Retention Aligner Plier (IX889),
- The Torque Aligner Plier (IX887),
- The Rotation Aligner Plier (IX888).
DB Orthodontics are proving not to be resting on their laurels with their latest enhancements to Autograph. In a market which seems intent on promising miraculous results in shorter time, with minimal hassle, DB set to offer a refreshing and realistic antidote. Coupled with their new aligner pliers due to hit the market soon, this brand is one to watch.
- Clements KM, Bollen AM, Huang G, King G, Hujoel P, Ma T. Activation time and material stiffness of sequential removable orthodontic appliances. Part 2: Dental improvements. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2003;124(5):502-508.
- Djeu G, Shelton C, Maganzini A. Outcome assessment of Invisalign and traditional orthodontic treatment compared with the American Board of Orthodontics objective grading system. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2005;128(3):292-298.
- Phan X, Ling PH. Clinical limitations of Invisalign. J Can Dent Assoc. 2007;73(3):263-266.
- Tuncay O. The Invisalign System. London: Quintessence Publishing; 2007.