Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population does not have the ideal bite, according to data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Invisalign aligners are designed to help straighten teeth and correct improper bites with fewer visits to the dentist office compared to traditional metal braces. However, there are certain things you should know when using clear aligners. These orthodontic devices must be properly maintained and used to ensure proper tooth movement.
What are Clear Aligners?
Also known as invisible aligners, clear dental aligners are designed to correct crooked or misaligned teeth. These devices are virtually invisible when properly placed in the mouth. Additionally, they offer the flexibility and convenience not available with metal braces. Aligner trays are custom-made for each individual patient based on their unique mouth size and the severity of teeth misalignment.
Clear aligners can be used to correct a wide range of dental problems, such as:
- Overbite – When the upper front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth.
- Underbite – When the bottom front teeth overlap the upper front teeth.
- Crowded Teeth – When teeth are too close together and overlap.
- Open Bites – When the front upper and bottom teeth slant outwards and don’t touch when the mouth is closed.
- Diastema – When there are large or small gaps between the teeth.
Cleaning Clear Aligners
Clear aligners are worn for an average of two weeks before being replaced with a new aligner. Ideally, a clear aligner should be worn around the clock or at least 20 to 22 hours per day. To avoid breakage or the distortion of the aligner, it is recommended that you remove them while eating. Before replacing the aligner back into your mouth, you will need to clean it to prevent a buildup of bacteria that could harm your health.
Aligners can be cleaned with a small dab of clear anti-bacterial soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Gently brush the aligners to remove any stuck-on food particles. They should also be soaked at least once per day in denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals. After cleaning, rinse the aligners with water before placing them back in the mouth. In addition to cleaning your aligners, you’ll want to remember to continue brushing and flossing your teeth when the aligners are not in your mouth.
Storing Clear Aligners
Clear aligners are constructed from a thermoplastic polyurethane resin that is custom-made to take on the shape of your mouth. While these aligners are made to be strong and resilient to damage, they can become distorted or break if not well cared for. One of the most important things to remember when you have clear aligners is to store them properly.
Never leave your clear aligners in the open air as this potentially exposes them to various airborne pathogens that could end up entering your mouth and body. When you leave your clear aligners laying around, you also risk losing them or someone else accidentally damaging them. When your aligners are not in your mouth, it is important to store them in their aligner case in a safe place.
Avoiding Unsightly Stains
You wouldn’t want to develop stains on your natural teeth. Therefore, it only makes sense to avoid staining your clear aligners. Various foods and drinks can cause staining on the plastic that is not easily removable. This means you will need to continue wearing stained aligners until it is time to switch to a new aligner.
Another bad habit that can cause staining to your aligners is smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your overall health but it can be especially harmful to your dental health. Smoking can result in rapid discoloration of your aligners and can cause staining to your natural teeth.
Speak With Your Dentist in Largo, FL
Clear aligners have helped countless people achieve more beautiful smiles without the confines of traditional metal braces. To learn more about clear aligners and how they work, find a dentist that offers cosmetic dentistry services like Invisalign. The experienced team at Bonham Dental Arts in Largo, Florida offers cosmetic dentistry, as well as family dentistry, and sedation. Contact Bonham Dental Arts today to learn more.