Starting aligner treatment with ST Direct – your checklist
Dental health is about more than just aesthetics (though that’s still important), it’s about the health of your teeth and gums. This overall dental health is crucial when you’re considering getting started with aligner treatment.
If you’re considering invisible aligners or just ordered your SmileBox™ [impression kit] , here’s a quick checklist to rate your oral health first.
#1 Gum health checklist before starting aligner treatment
Our gums form the critical foundation that holds our teeth in our jaw. If your gums are unhealthy, your teeth are automatically weaker. This is why healthy gums are so important when starting aligner treatment.
Signs of unhealthy gums:
Signs of healthy gums:
If your gums are currently swollen or unhealthy, it can cause errors when you’re taking your dental impressions. This can cause delays and errors when your aligners are made, we might even need you to redo them when your gums are healthier.
If you want your impressions to be right the first time, you need to make sure the health of your gums is tip-top.
#2 Overall oral health check at your local dentist
Regular checkups are the best way to prevent future issues with your teeth, the general recommendation is to visit your dentist or hygienist for a clean and check up every 6 to 12 months depending on your personal needs.
1.What to ask when starting aligner treatment with ST Direct:
When you book your dental appointment, make sure to ask for a BPE (Basic Periodontal Exam) check. This is a simple check where the dentist or hygienist measures the gums in 6 areas around the mouth. They will then record 6 numbers, which explain how healthy the gums are.
When they are cleaning your teeth it’s important they clean under the gumline as well to remove any calculus or tartar below the gums.
The gums may bleed slightly but that’s normal and will return to health. Then at home follow the instructions with mouthwash and using the small brushes between your teeth.
2. Do you need to ask for x-rays?
X-rays are useful for checking tooth decay / wisdom teeth and you should have them to ensure dental health.
Extra ones aren’t essential before orthodontic treatment if you are dentally healthy though and we’ve put more detailed info about orthodontic x-rays and why they are not mandatory below.
#3 FAQ before starting aligner treatment
1. What about my wisdom teeth?
Having wisdom teeth isn’t an issue for getting straight teeth, as long as they are healthy.
Here you’ll find all info about wisdom teeth and teeth straightening.
2. What if I need dental work done?
Having a filling or even many fillings on back teeth is no issue, as the tooth shape isn’t changed in a meaningful way.
Having crowns/bridges/implants/veneers is a different story and you should message us to explain what you are having done and if it will affect the aligners.
If you are thinking of improving your front teeth shapes then having cosmetic bonding on the front teeth should be done after straightening not before, as it can interfere with tooth movement from the aligners, and the result would always be better after straightening.
3. What records shall I share?
Sharing your BPE gum scores (see above) and your last x-rays (it’s fine if they are 12-18 months old if you are dentally healthy) is helpful for your assigned orthodontist to review them when preparing your report.
Of course, you can sign a disclaimer if you don’t want to share them.
4. Why is it so important to be dentally healthy before starting aligner treatment?
We all know what a healthy smile looks like, but do we know what causes decay and loose teeth? The simple answer is – sugar.
Tooth decay is commonly caused by sugary foods which produce acid that attacks the surface and structure of our teeth. This weakens the enamel, causes the tooth to become darker and sensitive over time, and can even progress to holes and cavities. These cavities weaken the tooth until it’s at risk of breaking, causing a lot of pain, or even on the verge of falling out.
To be able to move the teeth with aligners, your teeth need to be in a healthy condition.
That means no holes, cavities or weakened enamel. Any existing dental problems need to be treated by your dentist first. They’ll commonly fix cavities by cleaning away decay and placing a filling material inside the tooth to repair it.
Bear in mind, sometimes it’s better to get decays treated before you take your impressions. If you have major fillings done or crowns that will alter the shape of your teeth after your impressions you might need to redo them because the size and shape of the teeth will vary.
#4 Ongoing tips to keep your teeth in perfect condition
#5 No time to see a dentist? No problem with Instant Dentist™
While it’s important to ensure you’re dentally healthy before and throughout your entire teeth straightening journey, not everyone has time for regular dentist visits and some may even be affected with dental phobia.
There is now an easier way to receive a dental screening through a digital dentist.
Thanks to our sister dental health platform, Instant Dentist™, you can consult with a trusted dentist online and discuss any area of concern you may have before seeking the help from your local dentist or in between your annual check ups.
This innovative solution provides cost effective private dental advice and tailored at home treatments at the touch of a button. Need a dental checkup, have a specific concern or want a second professional opinion? Your healthiest smile is just a thumb swipe away, with expert online consultations, dental advice and personal targeted dental products delivered straight to your door. In the 2020s, there’s no easier way to truly understand the health inside your mouth and to find out whether or not there are any areas that you should be concerned about.
If you have any doubts or questions, our smile coordinators and the clinical team are always here to help and guide you.