Aligners revolutionized esthetic treatment in orthodontics. But since their introduction in the late ’90s, the options for tray materials within a treatment design have been very limited. That changed recently with the introduction of 3M™ Clarity™ Aligners Flex. Developed by 3M materials scientists, Clarity Aligners Flex features 5-layers of contrasting materials that offer you new flexibility to direct movement. When used in conjunction with 3M™ Clarity™ Aligners Force (the new name for our original tray material) you can develop treatment designs that simply aren’t possible when using just one type of aligner tray material.
Tapping into the fixed appliance paradigm
Orthodontic treatment is all about biologic-based tooth movement. Treatment may start with one type of movement—creating space for example—and then switch to another type of movement such as torque. With fixed appliances, these movements can be achieved by using flexible wires at the start of treatment and stiffer wires near the end.
3M™ Clarity™ Aligners Flex + Force work in a similar manner. Clarity Aligners Flex is comparable to an initial wire in that it is more flexible and has better force persistence than our original aligner. This compliance may help at the case start when there tends to be more crowding and undercuts. A more flexible material provides the characteristics needed to engage well with teeth that are misaligned. Being comfortable is also a desirable quality when removing and replacing the aligner, which can be challenging for the patient.
Clarity Aligners Force is analogous to a stiffer wire. It is well suited to directing movement in the transverse dimension or when you need to deliver torque and help correct vertical or horizontal discrepancies.
Two materials more than double your treatment options
While we have preliminarily identified which movements are best suited for Clarity Aligners Flex + Force, we know that orthodontists have their own ideas for how to best use the materials. It may be that in some cases, it could make more sense to start with Clarity Aligners Force to achieve expansion and then move to the Clarity Aligners Flex for rotation and finishing. That’s the beauty of this new system—you get to choose.
How orthodontists have been using them
Before officially launching Clarity Aligners Flex + Force, we provided a group of orthodontists with the aligners to better understand how they can be used for different movements. Here’s what two orthodontists had to say:
- “[I] do the heavy lifting (expansion/ deep bite correction) first with force, then detail/finish (align) with flex.”
- “I am looking at the amount of crowding and the anatomy of the teeth. Lots of crowding and/or tall, “curvy” teeth make me want to begin with flex. If there isn’t a lot of crowding, or the teeth don’t have as many undercuts – force would be my preference.”
Advanced Tx Design within the 3M™ Oral Care Portal.
Updates to the 3M Oral Care portal allow clinicians to customize each patient’s treatment using Clarity Aligners Flex + Force in a single treatment design.
Key to the user experience of advanced Tx Design is the ability to work seamlessly with multiple treatment modalities and combination treatments, for example using Clarity Aligners and 3M™ Digital Bonding Trays. There’s no more jumping between multiple systems or brands—it’s an integrated experience that allows you to explore options and create the best plan regardless of the modality for truly customized treatment.
For more information about Clarity Aligners Flex + Force, please visit 3M.com/ClarityAligners.