What Are Active Aligners?
Active Aligners are an alternative to traditional braces and are known in the dental industry as clear aligner therapy. In clear aligner therapy, clear customised "aligners" are worn in sequence to move a patient’s teeth in stages until their optimal alignment has been reached. Think “invisible braces”.
These clear aligners utilise basic orthodontic principles to correct various degrees of crowded, gapped or rotated teeth and achieve the desired results in an organised and planned fashion. Active Aligners are worn for 22 hours a day, 1 to 2 weeks at a time (one stage) until the end of the treatment.
See the Active Aligner overview video here.
What Do They Treat?
Dental professionals use Active Aligners to treat various degrees of the following orthodontic conditions:
- Crowded teeth
- Rotated teeth
Who Are They For?
Active Aligners are for anyone looking for a discrete alternative to traditional orthodontic braces that produce similar outcomes, affordably and with shorter treatment times on average.
Active Aligners are available to adults and teenagers provided they have been determined as candidates by their treating dental professional. The minimum age is set to 16 as it is required that all the patient’s permanent teeth have erupted. Currently, there is no maximum age for Active Aligners and many adults find the nature of the treatment suitable to their lifestyle.
If a potential patient is uncertain about their candidacy, it is recommended that they consult their chosen Active Aligner provider to have their candidacy determined.
How Long Does It Take?
The average Active Aligner case takes anywhere between 6-8 months. Depending on the complexity of the case, this could be shorter or longer. Once a potential patient has undergone their candidacy assessment by a registered dental professional, and it has been determined that they are a candidate, the details of the treatment which include the expected length of treatment will be available to them.
Are Active Aligners Covered by Medical Aid or Medical Insurance?
Depending on a person’s medical aid/insurance provider and plan, the full amount, a portion, or none of the treatment may be covered. Therefore, we recommend that patients enquire directly with their medical aid/insurance to see what their potential cover for orthodontics could be.
How Much Does It Cost?
The recommended retail price of Active Aligners falls into the cost categories below depending on your region:
- Dollar: +- $2 200 - $2 900
- Pound: +- £1 700 - £2 200
- Euro: +- €1 980 - €2 600
- Rand: +- R22 400 - R35 000
The prices above cover only the cost of the Active Aligners. The treating provider may charge professional fees and/or for consultations and any additional work (i.e. fillings, x-rays, IPR etc.) to get the patient’s mouth into a suitable condition for treatment.
Sometimes refinements are needed at the end of a patient's journey. Should the practitioner or patient wish to have a refinement, there will be an additional charge above the recommended retail unless the provider has already included it in their price.
Active Aligners vs. Traditional Orthodontics
Traditional orthodontics use metal wires and brackets which are bonded to teeth to move them into their desired positions. Instead of the metal wires or brackets, Active Aligners are clear removable plastic trays that are set to the position a patient’s teeth should be at after each stage. This results in a slight yet highly precise force being applied to specific teeth over the treatment time as the aligners are worn. This gradually moves them into their most optimal positions.
In certain circumstances, for example where patients present highly complex bites, Active Aligners may not be the most suitable treatment option and traditional orthodontics is recommended. However, for most candidates, Active Aligners are preferred to traditional orthodontics as they are virtually undetectable, removable, affordable, more comfortable, and in most cases have faster treatment times and produce similar results.
The average costs of traditional braces vary depending on the treating professional as well as per country. Below is what we have found indicative costs to be by country.
- Dollar: +- $5 000 - $7 000
- Pound: +- £4 000 - £7 000
- Euro: +- €3 500 - €5 000
- Rand: +- R35 000 - R80 000
See how Active Aligners differ to traditional braces here.
Active Aligners vs Other Aligner Companies
Active Aligners and the other aligner companies all use similar technologies to move teeth straighter through a series of stages with clear plastic aligners. However, some notable points about Active Aligners are that we:
- Strive to be as affordable as possible without compromising on quality
- Use some of the best equipment and materials from around the world
- Have a highly experienced treatment planning team
- Have specifically designed treatment protocols that move teeth as safely as possible with minimum use of IPR
- Produce Active Aligners to strict quality standards.
We endeavour to provide the best support to our providers (for their patients) and go the extra mile to ensure that each provider has satisfied patients and successful Active Aligner cases.
See the Active Aligner difference here.
How Does the Process Work?
An overview of the average Active Aligner treatment process can be found in the 3 steps below:
Step 1: Smile consultation and candidacy determination with an Active Aligner provider
- The dental professional will assess the overall condition of the potential candidate’s mouth and complete any necessary dental work required, ie: fillings, restorations etc. to get the candidate's mouth ready for Active Aligners.
- This is followed by either a 3D scan or impression of the mouth which will be sent to the treatment planners to determine candidacy.
- Should the patient be a candidate, the treatment planning team will digitally plot all tooth movements and model the patient’s new smile according to the provider’s instructions.
- On approval of the treatment plan, the laboratory will then manufacture the Active Aligner case in less than 2 weeks using high accuracy 3D printing and positive pressure thermoforming.
Step 2: The Active Aligner journey
- Some treatment plans require, IPR or attachments - the provider will complete this prior to the patient starting their Active Aligner journey (normally done on the same day as collection of Active Aligners).
- The patient collects their Active Aligners from their provider and begins treatment. Each provider has their own method of administering Active Aligner cases.
- Active Aligners are worn for 22 hours a day, 7 days a week and replaced every 1 to 2 weeks with the next stage.
- Every 8-10 weeks the patient will either digitally check up with their treating professional or see them in person to monitor their treatment tracking.
Step 3: Retention
- The patient has finished their Active Aligner treatment and wears their retainers for a minimum 3 months to maintain their newly aligned smile. Thereafter they can move to nightly wear or a fixed lingual retainer at the discretion of their treating professional (1 set of retainers is included per treatment).
Where to Go from Here?
It’s as easy as 1,2,3! Consult, Align, Retain.
Those interested to see how Active Aligners could benefit their smile are advised to book an appointment with an Active Aligner provider. During the first consultation it will be determined whether Active Aligners are the recommended treatment for them. Thereafter, the treating provider will explain the next steps for treatment and oversee the Active Aligner treatment to ensure that the patient is pleased with their results.
Note: Active Aligners are only available through Active Aligner providers. Should Active Aligners not be the correct treatment for a patient’s specific needs, the provider may refer to them an orthodontist who may be able to recommend an alternative treatment to their individual needs.
Find an Active Aligner provider here.
See Frequently Asked Questions here.