However, even if aligners appear to fit properly and comfortably, that doesn't guarantee that the teeth are actually moving as intended.
Some common causes for tracking issues are:
Here are some tips for identifying unseen tracking issues before the treatment goes too far off the rails:
- For non-compliant patients, be sure to educate your patient on the importance of wearing their aligners at least 22 hours per day. Signs of non-compliance include missed appointments, unusually clean aligners, and a persistent tight fit after weeks of wear. Make sure your patients know they should contact you immediately if their aligners no longer fit.
- Saliva buildup or saliva bubbles inside the aligner often indicates that there is a significant gap between the aligner and the teeth. This will most likely be seen at the incisal edge.
- Blanching of tissues indicates soft tissue impingement. This could be the result of inaccurate capture of these areas in the impression or the result of a frenum that extends towards the gingival margins.
- If the aligners are slightly ill-fitting when you give them to your patient, but the patient calls back a few days later saying that they now fit, don't rely on that self-assessment. Do a follow-up visit to confirm the quality of the fit before advancing to the next step.
- Even if the aligners are fitting during check-up appointments, you should check the treatment setup and paperwork to see which teeth are moving and if those teeth appear to be on course. If you see that a tooth is not moving as planned, don't wait, take immediate action. If you continue with treatment in hopes that it will correct itself later on, it may get worse.