Caring for clear aligners is relatively easy if you know what to do. It is important for us to set clear expectations for patients so that they know what steps to follow and can take care to ensure that the aligners do not become damaged during the orthodontic treatment. Since the aligners must be worn in a series, if one of them becomes damaged, replacing it will cause delays in the overall treatment. Anyone who is focused on trying to straighten their teeth as quickly as possible, should be aware of this and take great care to keep their aligners in the best possible condition. Knowing that, here are a few things we recommend.
Be careful when handling clear aligners
The aligners themselves are strong enough to move teeth but they are not so durable that they cannot be broken or damaged. To the contrary, they can be if not handled with care. We recommend only using clean hands to remove the aligners or to place them back in and to use two hands when doing so. Removing the aligners with one hand is going to place pressure on the aligner and could potentially alter its shape if that motion is done repeatedly. Using two hands to pull them straight out of the mouth is the best way to ensure their shape is not accidentally altered during the process.
Store them correctly
Patients are provided a storage case for the aligners. It is critical to use this case anytime that the aligners are out of the mouth. This includes when eating and brushing teeth. One of the common mistakes that patients make is accidentally throwing their aligners away after eating. Using the case helps to prevent this. It also ensures that when the aligners are out, they cannot accidentally be knocked off the table or counter and then broken because of this.
Be careful with dietary choices
We recommend only drinking water when the clear aligners are in. Warm beverages can cause them to warp so it is important to remove the aligners even when drinking coffee or tea. Also, no one should drink soda when wearing aligners given how corrosive and acidic soda can be.
It is also important to never eat when wearing the aligners since this can also alter their shape and potentially break them. Take them out to eat and drink unless drinking water.
Remember that the aligners only need to be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day for them to be effective so there is already time built into the schedule to allow for eating and brushing teeth.
Keep the aligners once they are done
On occasion, it is necessary for someone to wear an aligner that they were done with. For example, if the current aligner is lost, going one back is going to keep teeth from reverting back to their initial opposition. This is worn while the replacement aligner is created. Therefore, we recommend keeping aligners during the treatment instead of throwing them away. Just store them in a safe and secure place.
Aligners can be cleaned using warm water. Some patients like to use a nonabrasive cleaner which is also effective. Be sure to avoid regular toothpaste and a hard toothbrush, as this can scratch them and make them easier to detect when worn.
Call with questions
To learn more about our orthodontic treatments using clear aligners or how best to care for your aligners, call our office and schedule an appointment today.
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