Backtracking is when you have a patient wear a previous aligner longer than originally planned. Usually, when one of the below circumstances exist, the teeth may just need more time to make the difficult movements. Backtracking gives the teeth the time that they need to get back on track with treatment.


Backtracking is used when: 

  • Aligners Don't Fit
  • If the patient has been non-compliant and hasn't stuck to the recommended wear schedule of at least 22 hours per day

How to... 

Here is an example of how to backtrack:

Say you are getting a poor fit out of aligner 15.

  1. Have 14 remade and advise the patient to wear it for another 2-3 weeks. (A fresh pair of aligners will have more resilience and tension than a three-week-old aligner.)
  2. Make sure you get the tooth movements you were supposed to get out of this. You can check the treatment setup against the position of each tooth. Have these movements occurred? If not, you may need to do more troubleshooting.
  3. If you're sure the patient is being compliant and you've tried backtracking and other troubleshooting techniques, but the next set of aligners still doesn't fit, then it's probably time to order a case revision.


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ClearCorrect is a medical device manufacturer and does not practice dentistry. The treating physician is solely responsible for prescribing and administering orthodontic treatment. Clear aligner therapy is unpredictable. ClearCorrect does not guarantee a successful treatment outcome. Individual results will vary.

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