Invisalign treatment is an alternative to traditional braces and is an increasingly popular way to straighten teeth nowadays. It involves the wearing of a series of clear aligners to move your teeth gradually over time.
Invisalign clear aligners are almost invisible, hence most people may not notice patients that are wearing them. Most patients find clear aligners more comfortable than traditional braces as there are no metal brackets or wires. Aligners can also be removed when eating, drinking and brushing teeth, hence there are minimal food restrictions and they do not hinder dental hygiene measures such as brushing and flossing.
It is recommended to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day for most optimal results. This allows you to change to the next aligner in 2 weeks. Success for Invisalign treatment depends greatly on the patient’s compliance with aligner wear.
One of the most frequently asked questions about Invisalign treatment is whether one can take a break from their Invisalign aligners? Aligners work by applying a gentle pressure on the teeth. When you remove your aligners, this pressure is no longer present. Hence your teeth may start to move back to their previous positions. This is known as dental relapse. Therefore it is important to not leave out your aligners for more than a couple of hours at a time. The closer you adhere to the rule of wearing your aligners for 22 hours a day , the higher the chances of successful aligner treatment.
What happens if you leave your aligners out for too long?
If you do not wear your aligners for the recommended hours, your aligners may not fit as well when you put them back in. This is because the teeth may have started to move back to their previous positions. Sometimes the relapse is only minor and when you wear your aligners again, your aligners may still fit but you will likely feel more discomfort than usual as your current aligner will put more pressure on your teeth. You will need to wear your current aligner for a few more days before switching to the next aligner to “make up for the lost time”.
The longer you leave out your aligners , the higher the risk that your aligners may not fit properly when you put them back on.If you have problems fitting your current aligner, it is advisable to see your orthodontist for further advice. Sometimes your orthodontist may have to retake another digital scan or another impression of your teeth to order new aligners for you. In some cases , you may have to start treatment again from the beginning in order to get your desired result. This may increase your overall treatment time. You may need more visits to your orthodontist and you may incur additional costs. Hence you should try your best to not leave out your aligners for too long and follow the advice of your orthodontist closely.