Staying Safe and Healthy with Clear Aligners During COVID-19

Here at Saddle Creek Orthodontics, we offer a range of treatment options for anyone looking to correct misalignment issues and achieve a straighter smile. This includes popular methods like traditional braces and clear aligners, both of which move the teeth into more desirable positions by applying gentle pressure to them over time. As we navigate this pandemic-inspired “new normal,” we’re finding that the benefits of clear aligners go beyond improving oral health. Keep reading to learn why Invisalign could be the best socially-distanced solution for a healthier smile and how you can stay safe and healthy with clear aligners!  

A minimal amount of impact on treatment progress

Thanks to our state-of-the-art technology, we’ve been able to offer virtual appointments and curbside pickup of aligners over the last year. This means each patient can safely continue their treatment without delays! 

Whether you’re a current Invisalign patient or simply considering this treatment method, you probably know the system is built around a series of removable aligners. These are normally switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks, depending on the patient’s treatment plan. Most patients will be provided with several weeks’ worth of aligners to wear, which is very helpful when social distancing or stay-at-home orders are in place. When it’s time for another set of aligners, we can arrange curbside pick-up so it’s not necessary to physically enter the office. 

Once the current course of aligners is finished, treatment may be complete or it may be time for a revision scan, which tells us if additional aligners will be required to get the results we’re looking for. If you’re currently in aligners and we’re unable to get you into the office for this scan due to temporary closings, you should keep wearing the last set of aligners you were given for 8-12 hours per day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. This will help extend the life of your aligners until you can be seen in the office. 

It’s very important to continue wearing the last set of aligners until Dr. Fagala sees you. As we mentioned above, aligners work by exerting gentle but continuous pressure on the teeth to move them into more optimal positions over time. If you aren’t wearing your aligners regularly, your teeth will slowly begin to shift back to their previous positions. This can cause delays in your treatment progress. We recommend that you always keep aligners from the previous stage or two in case you need to go back to these while you wait for new ones to be processed and delivered. 

Caring for Invisalign aligners during COVID-19

In the earliest days of the pandemic, one of the most repeated recommendations was to avoid touching your face and mouth. Many of us quickly learned just how often we tend to do both! While the habit was easy to break for some, Invisalign patients didn’t have much of a choice when it came to touching their mouths, since the aligners are designed to be removed at various times throughout the day. If you’re taking an aligner out before eating or brushing your teeth, your fingers are going to come into contact with your mouth repeatedly!

While proper cleaning has always been a critical part of the Invisalign treatment process, it’s more important than ever. Before removing your aligners, you should wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Pay special attention to your fingertips since they’ll be coming into close contact with your mouth and aligners—this video demonstrates how to effectively wash your hands in about 30 seconds! If you’re not able to wash your hands first, use sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol before touching your aligners. 

It can be tempting to lay your aligner on the nearest surface after removing it, but you should always place it in a sealed container or soak it in a cleaning solution while it’s out of your mouth. Once you’re done eating or brushing and flossing your teeth, rinse your mouth to remove any foreign particles. Then wash your hands again and rinse your aligner before putting it back in your mouth. It may sound like a lot of steps, but this routine will become a habit before you know it! Taking extra care of your aligners and oral health during this time will help protect your total body health, too. 

Staying Safe and Healthy with Clear Aligners During COVID-19

What if there’s an emergency with your Invisalign aligners? 

Generally speaking, most Invisalign patients don’t experience emergencies specific to their aligners the way braces patients might. Aligners can easily be replaced and can even serve as temporary retainers if needed. But just as braces can have a loose wire or broken bracket, Invisalign aligners can be damaged. The patented SmartTrack material they’re made from is durable, but it’s not indestructible! Aligners can crack or break, especially if they’re mishandled. 

If you notice damage to your current Invisalign aligner, you should let our team know as soon as possible. Depending on the severity, you may be able to continue wearing it until it’s time for the next in the series. If the aligner is cracked or split in a way that keeps it from holding its shape, discontinue using it as it may be painful and won’t be able to provide the pressure needed to move the teeth. We may need to make a replacement for you or Dr. Fagala may have you begin the next aligner a little early. 

We’re all about DIY fixes in most cases, but don’t attempt to glue a cracked aligner back together! These products aren’t meant for use in your mouth and could make you sick. Contact our team as soon as you notice damage to your aligner and we’ll be happy to instruct you on how to proceed. Do your best to prevent cracks and tears by caring for your aligners any time they’re out of your mouth—use your storage case, be cautious when you insert and remove the aligners, and keep them away from curious pets! 

Keep your smile healthy through COVID-19 with Saddle Creek Orthodontics and Invisalign clear aligners

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for all of us, it doesn’t have to interrupt your Invisalign treatment or keep you from embarking on an orthodontic journey with clear aligners. With our help, you’ll be able to achieve a straighter smile safely and effectively! To learn more about the benefits of Invisalign clear aligners as we navigate our new normal, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Fagala.