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In-Office vs. Traditional Aligners: Which is better?

The options in invisible orthodontics have evolved significantly. Two of the most popular alternatives today are invisible braces. in-office aligners and traditional aligners (Invisalign, Spark or Angel Aligner). Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one depends on a number of factors, including your specific needs, budget and personal preferences. In this article, we'll compare both types of aligners to help answer these questions. 

What are the In-Office Aligners?

The in-office aligners is the technique where the orthodontist plans, designs and manufactures his own aligners in the clinic or laboratory of proximity. 

Like traditional aligners, they are a medical tool that allows the orthodontist to achieve the prescribed goals. At in-office aligners the orthodontist has control over the whole process. But what is the workflow?

Workflow In-Office Aligners

  1. Record-taking and diagnosis. To treat any type of malocclusion, regardless of the technique of aligners or brackets you use, the first step will always be to take records and make a diagnosis. Specifically for in-office aligners we must ensure a good quality scan of the patient's arches. 
  2. Treatment planning. Unlike traditional alienators, in in-office alienatorsYou don't have a CAD Designer who you ask to make the movements for you, but you design the treatment plan from start to finish using the software tools. 
  3. 3D printing. Once the plan is ready, we will export the print files. This part of the process allows us to obtain the physical model on which, by means of thermoforming, we will obtain the final alienator. 
  4. Thermoforming. Once we have the models ready, we will make a suitable selection of the thermoforming material from the range of materials available, from the most rigid to the most elastic. By thermoforming, we will adopt the plastic sheets to the shape of the printed model, thus creating the aligner. 
  5. Cutting and finishing. Another fully customisable process is the trimming of the aligner, we can define the type of trimming best suited to the patient's needs, for example a higher trim line to achieve greater retention, or a shorter trim line to facilitate the removal of the aligner in periodontal patients.
  6. Bagging. Finally, it is time to create the packaging, both the bags for the aligners and the box containing them. This phase adds a lot of value to the patient's perception of your service and makes it very different from the competition. 

You will no doubt have noticed that the flow differences are very different, but with many advantages over traditional aligners. Let's take a look at some of them. 

Advantages of In-Office Aligners

  1. Personalisation of the alienator material.  With aligner material customisation you can take biomechanics to a higher level. From using rigid materials for mandibular advancement to more elastic materials to improve comfort for periodontal patients. 
  2. Full control of treatment.  Any maladjustment during the treatment will not be a financial problem for you, you can always take new records to rethink the strategy in the correction of the malocclusion.
  3. Speed and agility. Because the entire 100% process is up to you, you can plan and manufacture the aligners at the times that best suit your appointments. 
  4. Costs. You can cut up to 70% of traditional treatment costs. Take advantage of non-appointment times to get the most out of your clinic staff. 

In-office aligners


In short, there is no one technique that is better than another, but depending on your experience with design tools, software and materials for aligners, one approach or another will be more or less interesting. Your knowledge of biomechanics and clinical experience will be the key to success with aligner treatment. 

What is clear, however, is the great number of opportunities that the new in-office aligner technique brings. Both in terms of treatment customisation and in terms of cost and profitability.

Interested in in-office aligners? You can learn more about this new trend thanks to the SAS method where you can learn about the biomechanics of all brands of aligners.

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