Advancing sustainable orthodontics with eco-friendly 4D aligners 

Advancing sustainable orthodontics with eco-friendly 4D aligners 

Dr Sherif Kandil introduces a pioneering approach to sustainable orthodontics, emphasising eco-efficiency and reduced resource use.

ClearX 4D aligner system benefits


1. Enhanced sustainability: ClearX cuts aligner use by up to 50%, significantly reducing plastic waste

2. Patient engagement: the boosting process is straightforward and can be done at home, making patients active participants in their treatment

3. Efficiency: treatment time is reduced by about 30%, thanks to the aligners’ ability to perform multiple stages of adjustment

4. Customisation: the technology allows for highly individualised treatment plans, catering to each patient’s unique dental structure and oral health needs

5. Reduced refinement rates: ClearX aligners offer superior precision, leading to fewer adjustments and refinements.

The world of orthodontics is witnessing a transformative era, thanks to the advent of 4D aligners. This novel technology, inspired by space-age innovations in shape-memory materials, is not just a leap in dental care but a stride towards environmental sustainability.

For dentists exploring efficient, eco-friendly, and patient-centric orthodontic solutions, 4D aligners from ClearX offer a groundbreaking alternative.

4D technology explained

4D technology in orthodontics is a concept derived from NASA’s research on shape-memory alloys and plastics. 

ClearX aligners use this technology to create aligners that can change shape or ‘shift’ over time. This shape-shifting ability is thanks to the polymer chains in the aligners, which are programmed to transition from one pre-set alignment to another under specific conditions.

The innovation lies in the aligners’ ability to ‘remember’ their shape. Initially, these aligners are formed on a 3D model of the patient’s current dental structure. After a period of wear, usually two weeks, the aligners are ‘boosted’, which triggers the aligners to shift to the next stage in the treatment plan. 

To boost the aligner, the patient simply places it in a special container, or ‘booster’, provided with the ClearX system. Then, they pour boiling water over the aligner, which is sealed in the container. The heat from the water activates the shape-memory properties of the polymer chains, which rearrange themselves, causing the aligner to shift to its next programmed shape. This new shape corresponds to the next stage of the teeth alignment process.

After the aligner has cooled down (usually after about 10 minutes), it is ready to be used again. The patient then wears this newly shaped aligner, which continues to guide the teeth towards the final, desired position.

This process significantly reduces the number of aligners needed per patient, aligning with the growing demand for sustainable healthcare solutions.

The environmental impact 

To place this in context, in 2023, the production of clear aligners reached a staggering 1.2 million per day, amounting to approximately 15,000 tonnes of plastic annually. This is equivalent to the weight of 600 humpback whales, highlighting a significant environmental concern. Traditional aligners also come with a carbon footprint of around 4kg per set.

ClearX, however, has drastically reduced this impact. The unique manufacturing process and material composition of ClearX aligners have halved their carbon footprint to just 1.8 kilograms. 

This reduction is not only in the aligners themselves but extends to the entire production process, including packaging and 3D models, addressing the issue of plastic waste right from the production stage.

Exceeding patient expectations

In an era where sustainability is not just a preference but a necessity, 4D aligners resonate deeply with the growing patient demand for eco-friendly healthcare solutions. 

Indeed, patients today are increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint. They are seeking sustainable options in all aspects of their lives, including dental care. ClearX aligners, with their reduced plastic use and carbon footprint, fit perfectly with this eco-conscious mindset.

This means that dentists adopting ClearX technology are not just offering advanced orthodontic care. They are aligning their practices with the values of environmental responsibility and innovation. This commitment to sustainability differentiates them in a crowded marketplace, attracting patients who prioritise greener choices. 

By choosing ClearX, dentists demonstrate their dedication to both patient care and planetary health. This is a powerful combination that appeals to the modern, environmentally aware patient.

A positive sustainable outlook

ClearX aligners represent not only technological innovation but also a commitment to environmental stewardship, responding proactively to societal demands for sustainability.

They offer dentists an opportunity to meet the evolving demands of their patients while contributing positively to global sustainability efforts. This dual benefit positions ClearX as a leader in the future of orthodontics, where patient satisfaction and ecological impact are harmoniously balanced.

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