The story behind the creation of composite orthodontic clear aligner material
Clear aligner materials are revolutionary in orthodontics. However, when I began my clear aligner journey I found that they were either too expensive, or simply to brittle to deliver treatment comfortably for my patients. The main problem with single layered material is caused by material fatigue and poor stress retention. This is because the typical material made out of PET -G is very aesthetic but it cracks very easily. The plastic properties means that PET – G distorts very easily and does not return to it’s original form.
Disastrously, this means that aligners will have to be replaced, and frequent refinements have to be performed, leading to patient dissatisfaction with the process.
Plastic, by definition, has both elastic and fluid properties. It will behave like a plastic, but once distorted, at a polymer level, it will not rebound back like traditional orthodontic materials such as nickel titanium archwires.
Our solution was to look beyond the clarity of PET – G, and to search for elastic materials which could replace it. Unfortunately, these materials were not transparent or clear!
The Eureka moment came when our polymer scientists suggested the following:
To combine the material on the left, with great clarity with the material on the right, with great elasticity – but in just the right amount so that the clarity of the material isn’t compromised.
The mixture of materials – a composite of a clear material co – extruded with an elastic material is what gives rise to our new aligner material, tristar. It is thanks to the orthodontic research team, led by Dr Asma Ashari https://ukmsarjana.ukm.my/main/lihat_profil/SzAxOTgzMQ==at the National University of Malaysia as well as our polymer scientists that a general purpose material with excellent elastic properties yet resistant to cracking has been developed.
This material, as you will see in other articles within this site, produces excellent clinical results. We assist clinicians and clear aligner companies that are seeking excellence in their clear aligner treatment and more each day are switching to the gold standard in aligner materials, the Tristar composite sheet.