How Clear Aligners Work

SureSmile® Aligners are designed using advanced software to ensure they fit comfortably and deliver the exact tooth movements needed to achieve your ideal smile.

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Virtually invisible. Clearly impressive.

Sometimes called “Invisible braces” or “clear braces”, dental professionals commonly call them “clear aligners”. Clear Aligners are a technological advancement that has made orthodontic treatment less obvious, while moving teeth and aligning jaws to create a healthy, beautiful smile.

Clear Aligners are a series of plastic aligners created using initial impressions or digital scans of your teeth as the starting point.  The aligners are plastic replicas of your teeth. Wearing them puts gentle pressure on the teeth, ever-so-slightly repositioning them over time. Each set of aligners is worn for a week or two before going to the next set. Over time, teeth reach their ideal clinical alignment.

The benefits of straight teeth are more than just a pretty smile.

Did you know that misaligned teeth can lead to oral health problems? It’s true. Teeth that are crooked or crowded, along with any bite issues that are left uncorrected can make oral care and hygiene difficult. Misaligned teeth and improper bites can sometimes lead to:

  • Tooth damage and chipping
  • Tooth loss
  • Wearing away of tooth enamel
  • Difficulty chewing or speaking

Benefits of straightening your teeth may include:

  • Reduced risk of cavities
  • Help prevent gum disease
  • Improve confidence
  • And of course, improve your smile


*Source: Mehl et al. Accuracy of complete and partial-arch-impressions of actual intraoral scanning systems in-vitro, Int J Domput Dent (publishing date: March 2019), in the peer group of intraoral scanners, Primescan showed the best median and mean values across complete arch, anterior and posterior segments, few statistical limitations apply.

Start with a Scan

Your dental professional will take a digital scan of your mouth, which produces several images of your teeth in seconds. With Primescan, the innovative Smart Pixel Sensor processes more than 1,000,000 3D points per second, producing a highly accurate representation of your teeth.

These digital images, when uploaded to our SureSmile software, allow your dental professional to assess how clear aligners will best work for you, creating your unique treatment plan.

Digital Lab and Treatment Planning

Once your dental professional has submitted your case and images to our digital lab, they work with our clinical experts to define your treatment journey, assessing each tooth for optimal movement to achieve your ideal smile. If your treatment plan moves teeth too aggressively with too much movement, there’s a greater chance of experiencing discomfort or tightness beyond what’s normal. Conversely, if the movement isn’t enough, you’ll find yourself facing treatment revisions and, ultimately, longer aligner wear. The precision of SureSmile software combined with the clinical expertise of the Digital Lab ensures the right amount of force at the right time to the right tooth, resulting in better alignment, greater comfort & faster treatment times—so you can enjoy your ideal smile sooner!

Did you know?
When straightening teeth, clear aligners are the people’s choice!

Clear aligners represent 15% of the ortho appliance market.*

More than 55 Million clear aligners are worn worldwide*

*TIndera, M. Billionaires: Bracing for competition? URL on file. Accessed September 25, 2019.

Frequently asked questions
Are SureSmile Aligners for me?
SureSmile Aligners are an aesthetically pleasing alternative to braces, especially for minor tooth movements that improve your smile. Specifically, they are for use with teens and adults, from simple to complex cases such as: crowded teeth, spaces and over/underbites. A SureSmile dental professional can assess your needs and recommend the best treatment plan for you. Take our patient assessment to see if you are a SureSmile candidate today.
How are SureSmile Aligners different than other clear aligners?

While there are several similarities between popular clear aligner brands on the market, SureSmile uses proprietary software paired with our Digital Lab experts to support your dental professional in crafting your unique treatment plan for a straighter smile.

 SureSmile alignersOther clear alignersTraditional Braces
Patented software powers more precise treatment planX  
Unique Essix® ACE aligner plastic material designed to stay comfortable and clear throughout useX  
Uses industry leader in dental plastics for aligner fabricationX  
Variable trimlines for optimal comfort and movementXX 
Rigorous 6-step quality check reviewed by clinical experts for every caseX  
One-on-one consults with dental professionals providing expert clinical advice and answers to your questionsX X
Digital Data Stream shortens time from planning to treatmentX  
Uses digital scan to produce images in place of impression traysX  
Laser trimmed aligners with polished edges allow for more precise fit and comfortX  
Uses traditional brackets and wires  X
Minimal attachment sitesX  
Easily removable for eating, drinking and flossingXX 
Covered by many orthodontic insurance plansXXX

Interested in the science behind SureSmile aligners? Learn more about the SureSmile difference.

How do SureSmile Aligners work?

SureSmile® is an orthodontic treatment that works to gradually straighten teeth through the wearing a series of clear, custom-fit, removable aligners. There are no brackets or wires like traditional metal braces.

There are 3 easy steps: the first 2 steps swiftly prepare you for your custom-made aligners; the last step is your transformation, beginning when you put on your first set of SureSmile aligners.



    1. Consult: Make an appointment for an initial SureSmile consultation with your dental professional. Check to see if your dental professional, or others in your zip code, offer SureSmile. If you are a candidate for SureSmile® Aligners, a 3D digital impression, or pictures of your mouth, is taken and the treatment process begins – no fuss, no mess, just a few minutes in the dental chair.
    2. Scan, Plan & Fabricate: Your dental professional and knowledgeable SureSmile specialists at our Digital Lab plan and design your case using advanced digital software, orchestrating each step of your smile transformation with precision. Using state-of-the art laser manufacturing and creating just the right number of custom finished clear aligners, your dental professional partners with our Digital Lab to make your perfect smile one step closer. Once ready, your dental professional schedules a quick visit for you to review your new smile plan!
    3. Treat: Congratulations! Your journey to a fabulous smile begins back in the dental office when you try on your first set of SureSmile aligners. By wearing your clear aligners and following your custom treatment plan, you will quickly notice your clear aligners are not only comfortable and easy-to-wear, but virtually invisible … your friends and family won’t even notice you’re wearing them!

Learn more about how clear aligners work


How many hours a day will I have to wear SureSmile Aligners?

For the shortest time to your perfect smile, wear them 20-22 hours each day, including while asleep.

Download our Wear and Care Guide


How much do SureSmile Aligners cost?

Because each case is different– some patients require more or less treatment– the total cost of your new smile will depend on the treatment plan you and your dental professional agree upon. Be sure to discuss cost, insurance options and payment plans with your dentist during your initial consultation appointment.

Learn more about SureSmile payment options

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