Smilelign - a clear solution

Featuring in June's edition of The Dentist, our Technical Director, Matt Everatt, discusses treating diastema with clear aligners.

While certainly not a new concept, interest in adult orthodontics has increased in recent years, with more people searching for solutions to improve the appearance of their smile. Fifty-four percent of women admit to being so self-conscious of their teeth that they have considered braces. So, this raises the question - what types of treatments are available?

Upon hearing the word 'orthodontics', most people automatically envisage fixed, wire braces. The most common form of treatment, metal braces are bonded to the teeth to help combat malalignment cases. They are a private option for adult patients, available free on the NHS for teenage patients and have an average treatment length of 24 months. 

It is perhaps due to the recent boom in aesthetic orthodontics that many patients are now seeking alternative solutions. This has led to developments in the dental industry, including the introduction of clear aligners.

Often referred to as 'short-term' or 'cosmetic' orthodontics, clear aligners offer a solution to common problems including crowding, spacing, overjet, overbite and midline discrepancies. This patient's anterior spacing was resolved with Smilelign clear aligners.


The patient contacted the prescribing clinician unhappy with the diastema in her maxillary arch. The degree of spacing was severe and the patient was keen to undertake treatment to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing smile. She desired a treatment that was relatively quick to complete and would not be disruptive to her lifestyle.

Treatment Planning

Impressions were taken and sent to the laboratory for consideration, along with a request to allow even spacing between all teeth in anticipation of post-treatment cosmetic build-up. Once assessed and approved for clear aligner treatment, specialised 3D software was used to create a digital copy of the patient's teeth, which was then manipulated in order to demonstrate what could be achieved.

This was sent to the dentist for the patient's follow-up appointment. The treatment plan showcased before and after images, as well as a short video documenting the movements required to achieve her future smile. A pre-aligner was also provided for the patient, allowing the dentist to check the aligner and ensure a secure fit with no discrepancies. This stage also allowed the patient to get an idea of what clear aligner treatment was going to be like.

The treatment plan proposed 12 upper aligners and eight lower, with each to be worn for a minimum of three weeks before progressing. The fit of the pre-aligner met the patient's specifications for comfort, as well as appearance, so the case was approved.

Treatment Process

Upon approval, Smilelign made and provided the eight lower aligners and the first eight upper aligners. Due to the extent of the diastema, Smilelign advised that a review should follow the initial eight aligners, at which point new impressions were taken to check progress.


Taking a total of nine months to complete, the clear aligners resolved the patient's diastema concerns whilst also fixing the midline discrepancy. Following her final aligner, the patient had composite bonding, as well as whitening, to give the completed look.


The use of cosmetic orthodontics plays an important role for adult patients and the general dentist. Clear aligners offer a reduction in overall treatment length, are virtually invisible to the human eye  and can also be removed to maintain excellent oral hygiene. As with all orthodontic treatment, it is important to reiterate to the patient that a retainer must be worn in order to preserve the new position of the teeth.

Want to discover more? Request one of our free Smilelign info packs for your practice here.

Sophie BarberComment