As an orthodontist, patients regularly ask us questions about aligners. Patients want to know what to expect on a daily basis from the overall treatment process. Here are some of the questions we hear and our answers to them:
What are aligners?
Aligners are plastic trays that surround your teeth in a similar fashion to certain dental retainers. Aligners are durable and designed to move gradually move the teeth into the correct position.
Will aligners work as well as metal braces to straighten my teeth?
Yes, the aligners can close gaps between your teeth, move crooked teeth into the correct position, and address bite issues. The only thing aligners cannot do is address bite problems that the jawbone causes.
Are aligners fixed to the teeth or removable?
Aligners are removable and can come out on daily basis. In fact, you can take the aligners out when making an important presentation at work or for a photo.
How many hours per day should I wear aligners?
You need to keep the aligners in for around 22 hours per day. Wearing the aligners less frequently will prolong your overall treatment time.
Can I eat with the aligners in?
No. You need to take your aligners out every time that you eat. This is true for all of your meals and even for snacks. If you want to have a few crackers, you still need to take your aligners out. This is critical for preserving their structural integrity and for ensuring that your treatment time is not accidentally delayed due to one of them breaking.
Is it okay to drink soda or coffee while wearing them?
You can drink water while wearing the aligners but must remove the aligners to drink all other beverages. If you drink something hot like coffee or tea, you will risk warping the shape of your aligners. Any change to their shape can be detrimental to your treatment plan. The change in shape will cause your teeth will not move in the proper direction.
How long does each aligner last?
You will most likely wear each set for approximately two weeks. Once the aligners begin to feel loose, it is an indication that it is time to wear the next set in the series. Remember that the aligners are putting pressure on your teeth in order to move them into position. If the aligners are too loose, the pressure will no longer be significant enough to do so.
Do I visit your office to get new ones?
No. You can switch the aligners out at home but will need to visit us for checkups throughout the treatment process.
Are they really clear?
Yes, as long as you keep them clean, they will be difficult to see when you smile.
How do I keep my aligners clean?
Do not eat or drink with them in (other than water). Each time that you eat, brush your teeth and rinse your aligners in warm water. We can also provide you with specific cleaning supplies.
Schedule a Consultation
To go into greater detail on any of these answers or to ask a question not listed here, call our office and schedule a consultation.
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