Clear aligners replace conventional braces in orthodontic work. While they still offer you the same teeth-straightening power of braces, they’re practically invisible. This makes them a more attractive option for adults who’d like to straighten their teeth but without having to go through the dreaded metal-mouth phase, according to WebMD.
They’re very convenient. That said, clear aligners require some care, just like braces do. If you’ve just gotten fitted with clear aligners, here are some tips for taking care of them.
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Although clear aligners have many advantages that braces don’t have, there is one drawback. They’re removable like retainers are, which means unless you’re disciplined, you may be just as likely to skip wearing your aligner.
This happens naturally sometimes. You forget to put your aligner in after you eat. You take it out to brush your teeth and to clean it and forget to put it back in. Your teeth and gums hurt as the aligner starts to move your teeth around, so you just skip it. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to just not wear it if you don’t feel like it.
Braces don’t give you this option. Braces function as perma-wear for the time you have them. The problem is that if you don’t wear your clear aligners, your teeth remain crooked and misaligned. Your orthodontist may add time to your treatment plan to make up for the lost time.
Typically speaking, it’s good to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day. Not doing so can literally add weeks to each set of trays (new aligners).
When you wear braces, the orthodontist affixes dental brackets onto your teeth. These brackets hold the wires that move your teeth into their newer, straighter position. Clear aligners, also known by the brand name Invisalign, work differently.
The orthodontist makes a mold of your mouth from which he/ she eventually creates trays or clear aligners. Each of these aligners is “off” just a bit from your bite. When they’re worn, the difference between the alignment of your teeth and the alignment of the aligners is just enough to move your teeth around just as braces would.
Every couple of weeks, you get a new aligner, which moves your teeth even more. This process goes on ad infinitum until your teeth are straight. All of this is important to know because it’s likely that your orthodontist will tell you to keep your most current “old” aligner, even though you won’t be wearing it. You’ll keep it just in case you lose your current aligner. The old aligner keeps your teeth in a place like a retainer would until your orthodontist can make a new clear aligner.
Usually, you’ll wear your current aligner for about two weeks or so, give or take. Your orthodontist will tell you exactly how long you’ll need to wear your current clear aligner before you must get a new one. To keep your orthodontic work on schedule, you should plan on changing your aligners out at the right time.
There is a sweet spot between changing them out too soon and not changing them out often enough. The sweet spot ensures that you have a beautiful smile once it’s all said and done. Be sure to keep on the schedule your dental professional gives you to get the maximum benefit from your aligners.
When you wear braces, it’s harder to keep your teeth clean because you have to maneuver around the brackets and wires. That’s one advantage of clear aligners. In order to brush and floss your teeth, you will have to take them out, which keeps your teeth and gums cleaner between visits to the orthodontist.
It’s important for the health of your mouth and the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment to keep your clear aligners cleaned up as well. There are cleaning crystals you can soak your aligners in. You should also use a baby’s toothbrush to clean them up. If you don’t, they’ll become filled with bacteria and other “gunkies,” which cause bad breath and tooth decay.
Clear dental aligners make an excellent choice for adults who want to straighten their teeth but who don’t want to become a “metal mouth” in the process. Clear aligners move your teeth into a new position, allowing you to walk away from the procedure with a pretty and straight smile.
However, in order for these treatments to give you the maximum benefit, you should follow the tips that the orthodontist gives you for the care of your aligners and teeth during the straightening process for best results.