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Straighten up!

Aligners have revolutionised orthodontics and made teeth straightening a viable and attractive option for adults..

More of us want to have a straight and dazzling smile but once you reach adulthood it can be daunting to think that to achieve that look you have to wear obvious-looking metal braces that scream to the world what you are doing.

Which is why aligners are a tempting option, especially for those of you who are beyond your teenage years.

Invisible aligners work in a totally different way from standard fixed braces. Treatment involves wearing a set of clear trays like mouthguards which fit tightly against your teeth. These are called ‘aligners’ and are actually made from thin, clear and flexible plastic.

They are changed every two weeks as your teeth move until they are in the correct position to give you the straight smile you’re after.
The obvious advantage is that it’s hard for people to detect you’re wearing them and you can take them out before eating or brushing your teeth – making it far easier to keep your teeth clean and healthy during treatment. They’re not suitable for everyone, however, and complex cases respond better to more traditional orthodontic methods.

Aligners are commonly known by their trade names such as ‘Invisalign’, ‘ClearStep’ and ‘Inman Aligners.’

How it will work?
Once you have expressed an interest in aligners, you will be given a proper orthodontic assessment to check how well your teeth will respond to this kind of treatment.

Your orthodontist will then set up a treatment plan specifically for you. An accurate impression of your mouth will be used to create the aligners that are then tailor-made to fit your teeth. Each appliance will move the teeth a small distance and is then replaced with the next aligner until the final result is achieved.

Aligners need to be continually worn day and night except for meal times and they do tend to take longer than conventional braces to achieve the same effect.

When should aligners be used?
Aligners are great for people who need simple alignment of teeth and don’t need any teeth taken out. They work best if you only have mild irregularity, your teeth are crowded but can be corrected with a slight expansion of the dental arch, or you need to close small gaps between your teeth.

Aligners will not work very well if your teeth are moderately or severely crowded, if they need movements that are more complex, or if your jaw is in the wrong position or is too big or too small. These types of cases are much more effectively treated with conventional orthodontic methods and treatment plans. Q

All about Inman Aligners
Dental experts Dr Tim Bradstock-Smith, Dr James Russell and Dr Tif Qureshi talk braces..

Dr Tim Bradstock-Smith set up The London Smile Clinic in 1999 and has been awarded the highly prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Accreditation for excellence in the art and science of cosmetic dentistry.

Dr James Russell is a director of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry who lectures dentists. He has been awarded the highly prestigious British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Accreditation and is regularly quoted in national media.

Dr Tif Qureshi is a PR director of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a partner at Dental Elegance in Sidcup in Kent. He was the first dentist in the UK to pioneer the Inman Aligner and has carried out over 600 procedures.

What exactly is an Inman Aligner?

The Inman Aligner is an amazing removable brace that can give you a really simple and hassle free way of getting straight front teeth without the need for fixed braces, or having to grind your teeth back to place veneers.

How is it different from other aligners?

Treatment with the Inman Aligner normally only requires the use of one aligner from start to finish. This means no painful changes and it is far quicker because it is so much more efficient than other aligner systems. It uses a gentle but
very consistent mechanism to generate forces that safely get your teeth to where you always wanted them.

What are the advantages of an Inman Aligner?

The Inman Aligner can straighten teeth in a matter of weeks. Most cases take between six and 16 weeks.
It doesn’t need to be worn 24 hours a day. In fact 16 to 20 hours is easily enough. So you don’t need to wear it while eating and you can take it out for social engagements.

And what about the disadvantages?

It can affect your speech a little, especially with uppers.But because the treatment time is often so short this is rarely an issue. It is also only designed to straighten front teeth. If you have orthodontic problems with your back teeth you may need to visit a specialist orthodontist. It does also have a visible metal bar that shows across the front of the teeth.

Where can you go to find out more information

Visit or

Words: Georgina Maric | photographs: getty


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