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How Clear Aligners got to where they are now

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Since the introduction of clear aligners in the late 20th century, we can see the transparent dental splint moving through many different stages. Most of the time, these were only small stages of development, so while they gradually contributed a small part to the evolution, they never led to a drastic change in the entire system.

The most common materials used to date in the manufacture of clear aligners are various types of polymers, polyurethanes and PETGs. These materials provide a modulus of elasticity that expands on the tooth surface, exerting adequate pressure on the teeth and creating tooth movement.

Patients typically wear each Clear aligner for one to two weeks at a time. In the case of K Clear, a wearing period of two weeks is envisaged. To date, aligners have been static plastic trays whose sole purpose is to exert pressure on the teeth.

Clear aligners accompany a patient 87% of his entire day. He lives with them, chews on them, cleans them, and after two weeks he throws them away. Because then it is the turn of the next splint. The daily wearing time of the Clear Aligners is almost 87% of the whole day into the night.

We are in a time where the word "smart" resonates with everything we experience. We have smart televisions, live in smart homes, and drive around the streets in smart cars because it makes our lives easier and more enjoyable.

So why don't we let our clear aligners become smart, too?

What if we make these plastic aligners smarter and teach them to act biomimically - like human muscles? Would that make them smarter, better and more effective?

What if we could drastically reduce the number of aligners we need? And what if we could help protect our environment by reducing plastic waste?

True to the motto "less is more", I believe that "less" is also smarter: one smart aligner has greater added value for us than several conventional aligners.

As research and development continues, one thing is becoming very clear: all this could become a reality in the near future. We call this next stage in the development of transparent aligners "dynamic 4D clear aligners". Based on the fourth dimension in physics, which is described by time.

Basically, clear aligners are made of shape memory polymers, which are specially designed to reshape themselves step by step over a period of two months. As a result, teeth move an average of 2 mm each and instead of four aligners previously, only one is needed.

The age of dynamic 4D orthodontics has arrived and could turn the entire orthodontic industry upside down.


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