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How are the Aligners Manufactured?
How are the Aligners Manufactured?
Michael Yoon avatar
Written by Michael Yoon
Updated over a week ago

 At OrthoSnap we are not the first ones to introduce clear braces to the dental industry. What we did do is improve the accuracy and effectiveness of the aligners, and also make the process of aligning teeth much simpler. Our novel approach involves easy to follow and familiar steps of impression taking, same as in any prosthodontics cases. We have simplified the patient treatment plan on-boarding to a few simple steps – in most cases, we only need molds of upper and lower models and bite registration.

 Clear orthodontic aligners have been available for 40 years, but the advent of 3D digital imaging and CAD-based systems have more recently revolutionized the industry by making aligner production a viable substitute to metal braces. While CAD is a progressive concept and has many applications in dentistry and prosthodontics including crown and bridge work, it has limitations in producing clear aligners that restrict treatment to relatively simple cases.

Some of these limitations are visible to the naked eye, such as striation lines that result from the inability to 3D print angled surfaces and instead print approximations that can be seen as steps, or contour lines. The multi-step 3D/CAD process results in compounded inaccuracies that result in a less than perfect fit, undermining the performance of the aligners and treatment overall.

Dynamic Physical Models

Simple, yet more effective: OrthoSnap addressed the challenge by developing the process of modulating teeth movement on the original cast model thus making each sequential clear aligner a precise fit because they are made over the original cast models of the patient's teeth. The original model of the patient’s teeth is transformed into an articulated bite with each tooth separated as an independent segment placed on a dynamic pin. Each pin facilitates a 0.25mm incremental step, promoting movement of a selected tooth in predetermined direction. After each sequential manipulation with the model a clear aligner is formed, generating a sequence of clear trays. By eliminating the 3D printing step, we not only produce a better fitting, more transparent aligner, we also made the system user friendly with a minimal learning curve, perfect for those who are just starting in cosmetic orthodontics. Our patented process of teeth movement on physical models allows for a better understanding and control of teeth interactions over the course of a treatment plan. In addition to higher accuracy and broader coverage of variety of clinical cases, OrthoSnap technology is proven to be more cost-effective and produce faster results.

CAD/CAM or 3D printing cannot currently produce a resolution as high as impression moulding. This difference in fit can be seen with the naked eye, and can be felt by the doctor and patient as a firmer "snap" of the aligner to the teeth. This is important in tooth movement because, just like an improperly sized wrench will have trouble moving a tight bolt or nut, an improper fit aligner will not apply even force and limits tooth movement. We also know that the optimal technique for tooth movement is to shift one tooth, while leaving surrounding teeth stationary, using an anchoring technique. Our experienced dental technicians do just that and will identify and move the target teeth up to 0.25mm on the DPM, then form an aligner. For the next aligner, different teeth may be selected and repositioned up to 0.25mm. This process continues, allowing an unlimited number of manipulations of the teeth without distortion of the original model itself.

Technology at OrthoSnap

The OrthoSnap Clear Aligner System leverages the best that dentistry has to offer patients, applying both dental art and science, but never sacrificing clinical effectiveness for the sake of technology alone. At OrthoSnap, we constantly research the latest technology and incorporate it into our practice, from 3D printing of parts and research into the latest heavy polymer resins, to the latest software including AI and machine learning. We believe in embracing technology when it is capable of producing a better clinical result and will be the first ones to experiment and adopt as these technologies mature.


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