Patients have questions and it’s nice to have the answers for them. We’ve provided some of the more common questions asked about clear aligners so you and your staff are prepared.
What should I expect during treatment?
While wearing clear aligners is generally not painful, there will be brief periods, days not weeks, when the new aligners may cause the teeth to be uncomfortable.
Will the aligners hurt? How comfortable are the aligners?
It’s fairly common to experience some tenderness or sensitivity for the first few days of wearing a new aligner. However, the more you wear the aligner the more comfortable they become. Sores and irritation are possible but really don’t occur that often.
The aligners can also sometimes temporarily affect your speech. But most people adapt quickly to wearing the aligners and it is rare that your speech would be impaired for an extended period of time. You may also experience a temporary increase in salivation or dryness of the mouth.
Invisalign aligners are among the most comfortable in the industry. Similar to braces, if aligners change too abruptly between steps, they can cause unnecessary discomfort. Invisalign aligners employ a unique system which balances your comfort and treatment time.
Are the aligners hard to keep clean? How do I clean them?
No. The aligners are fairly simple to keep clean, however, tooth decay, periodontal disease, decalcification (permanent markings on the teeth) or inflammation of the gums may occur if proper oral hygiene and preventative maintenance are not maintained. Most aligners can be cleaned with a toothbrush and cool water. A non-abrasive toothpaste is also recommended. Cleaning instructions are on every bag of new aligners.
I’ve seen people with bumps on their aligners – what are they?
Depending on your treatment, it may be necessary to temporarily affix engagers (those bumps) to your teeth. They’re made of tooth-colored composite material and are there to assist with difficult tooth movements. When you’re not wearing your aligners they can feel awkward in your mouth, but don’t worry they’re easy to remove and are only used when absolutely necessary.
How long will I be in treatment?
That depends entirely on the treatment goals you set with your doctor and the amount of correction that needs to be achieved. Treatment time can at times exceed estimates. Poor compliance, missing appointments, excessive bone growth, poor oral hygiene and broken appliances can make treatment time longer, increase costs and affect the quality of your results. Treatment time can also vary considerably depending on an individual's health and physiology. Much of orthodontic tooth movement relies on metabolism and bone remodeling. Further, the rate of tooth movement is not always linear and also depends on the type of movement being performed. For these reasons, treatment times are estimates based on the doctor's clinical examination findings and experience.
What is the daily wear schedule?
It's recommended that you wear the aligners 22 hours a day. They should be removed for meals only, brushing and flossing before re-inserting the aligner. If not worn for up to 22 hours a day, the corrective process can be halted and within a few hours begin to reverse. It can then take several days for this process to start up again. Wearing your aligners 22 hours a day is key to achieving your treatment goals.
How long should I wear an aligner before going to the next one?
The wear schedule is determined by the doctor taking into account the individual's malocclusion, health history, treatment setup and goals. It commonly ranges between 1 and 3 weeks and may not always be the same increment of time during the entire treatment. Compliance with wearing the aligner and type of tooth movement being performed are central factors in determining aligner changes.
What will happen when I’m done with treatment?
While the treatment aligners will have a determined period of wear based upon the treatment goals, the retainers may have to be worn for an extended period of time based upon the condition of the treatment result. The doctor will recommend a retainer wear schedule for you based on your dentition and what correction was done.
What are the clear aligners made of?
Invisalign aligners are made from a plastic which has been specially formulated for Invisalign. It is a polyurethane resin that has been crafted and tested extensively to make it a superior plastic for clear aligners: it leads the class in stress retention, crack & impact resistance, clarity, and stain resistance. And, of course, it has been thoroughly tested for biocompatibility.
Do the aligners contain BPA or phthalates?
No. Invisalign aligners are made without BPA or phthalates, and have been approved by the FDA.
I’m pregnant/nursing, can I do clear aligner treatment?
Invisalign aligners are free from harmful chemicals and do not pose a significant risk to your health. However, it’s up to you and your doctor to determine if treatment is safe for you.