Clear aligners, as the name suggests is a new and popularised way to align your teeth using a clear plastic tray, without the obvious look or pain of traditional metal braces. Popular brands in Singapore such as “Invisalign” and “Zenyum” are trending amongst all ages with the idea of straightening teeth with more comfort.
Just like visiting a supermarket and seeing a wide selection of the same product, it can be tricky to know which to choose! In this article, we will uncover the ins and outs of different systems available and equip you with all that you need to make an informed decision.
What is Clear Aligner Treatment?
Clear aligner treatment is a type of orthodontic treatment that involves aligning teeth into a more ideal alignment or position with a series of see-through plastic trays. Using a digital model of your teeth, aligners are 3D simulated with predictable tooth movements, then phased into stages that are printed into a series of thin, see-through plastic trays (aka clear aligners), custom made to fit your teeth. Every tray is a bit different from the last one in order for your teeth to progressively straighten and are changed on an average of 10 - 14 days.
5 Clear aligner systems in Singapore
The clear aligner industry is growing fast with an ample supply of new brands popping up on various social media platforms such as instagram, but which of them are legitimate?
We have selected 5 brands that have been clinically tried and tested to give you a better idea on what to expect and how these different aligners work.
For starters, the main difference between Invisalign and all other clear aligner brands includes their long history of more 20 years worth of aligner research as well as patented technology and smart force aligner material available to Invisalign only.
Are you suitable for aligner treatment?
If you have any of the following concerns, aligner treatment may be suitable for you:
- Protrusion of upper teeth
- Upper teeth are behind lower teeth
- Mild gaps in teeth
- Upper and lower teeth not touching when you are biting down
- Overlapping of front teeth due to lack of space
Aligner treatments are usually suitable for patients with less severe misalignment of teeth 
When are you likely to need traditional braces instead of clear aligners?
- Extrusion of teeth: if there is a space between the tooth and the opposing tooth when you are biting together
- Moderate and severely rotated teeth: when your tooth requires the rotation of its root to move it into position
- Movement and rotation of the back teeth
- Movement of multiple segments of teeth
What are the main differences between braces and aligners?
A cross comparison between 5 different clear aligner brand available in Singapore
(Estimated costs, experience, process and duration)
What to expect when wearing aligners and useful tips to avoid some common mistakes!
How to maintain straight teeth after treatment
Once your clear aligner treatment is complete and both you and your dentist are satisfied with the results, it is crucial to maintain this by wearing retainers as teeth that have been moved have a tendency to return to their original position if left alone.
Retainers can come in the form of fixed retainers or removable retainers.
Removable retainers can come in the form of clear plastic retainers or wire retainers (Hawley).
Fixed retainers are bonded to the back of your teeth to hold them in place.
Depending on what your teeth started off as, the gold standard is to have a fixed bonded retainer and a removable one on top of that. 
Enjoy your aligner journey and all the best!
Disclaimer: This is an opinion article based on clinical experience, with literature from various dental journals.