COVID-19 has affected our lives in many ways and continues to present challenges. We’ve got good news if you’re looking to improve your oral health, though—there are a range of treatment options available to give you a straighter smile! Here at Vermette Orthodontics, we offer patients everything from clear and metal braces to Invisalign clear aligners. As our most popular alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign is already a favorite with teen and adult patients. The removable aligners come with an extra measure of freedom that everybody loves, but the benefits don’t stop there!
As we’ve adjusted to new “normals” throughout the last year, we’ve discovered that Invisalign clear aligners can be the perfect way to achieve a healthier smile in these socially-distanced times. While we’re still treating new patients every day with traditional braces, we believe Invisalign can make it easier to navigate orthodontic treatment during a pandemic. If you’ve been considering orthodontics but weren’t sure about beginning that journey now, let us reassure you—treatment is just as safe and effective as ever, and Invisalign could be just what you’re looking for! Keep reading below to learn more about everything Invisalign has to offer.
The popularity of clear aligners has exploded in recent years, so even if you’re not familiar with orthodontics, you probably know what an Invisalign aligner looks like. The design is deceptively simple! We use a series of these removable aligners to put gentle pressure on the teeth, moving them into more desirable positions over time. To produce the force needed to move the teeth, the aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day. Each aligner is switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movement of the teeth. When patients are compliant with these guidelines, Invisalign can work just as well as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.
We will normally provide patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. This can be very convenient when we’re facing occasional stay-at-home orders and striving to maintain social distance! When the current set of aligners runs out, we can easily arrange curbside pick-up for the next set so there’s no need to physically enter the office. Patients with questions can set up a virtual appointment to speak with Dr. Vermette and discuss their concerns. These options let every patient continue their treatment safely, conveniently, and without delay!
After a patient has completed their last course of aligners, treatment may be complete or we may need to schedule a revision scan. These scans let us know if any additional aligners will be required to achieve the most optimal results. Temporary closings have sometimes made it difficult to get patients in quickly for a revision scan, but Invisalign makes this nothing more than a minor inconvenience!
Anyone who is currently in aligners can keep wearing the last set they were given, with one caveat—the aligners are worn for only 10-12 hours a day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. This helps extend the life of the aligners until an appointment is available, keeping treatment on track and ensuring no progress is lost.
If you’re considering Invisalign, it’s important to understand how the aligners work. As we mentioned above, they’re able to move the teeth by exerting continuous force on them. This moves the teeth into better positions over time, but we have to keep that pressure going both during (aligners) and after (retainers) treatment is complete to keep that newly straightened smile in place. This is why we recommend wearing the last set of aligners until a new set is provided if there’s a pause in treatment for any reason!
If aligners aren’t worn regularly, the teeth will eventually begin to shift back to their previous positions. This can happen more quickly than you might think, and may add to the total treatment time. We ask our patients to always keep their aligners from the previous stage or two on hand in case they need them while waiting for a new set to be processed and delivered.
Easy to care for
In the early months of the pandemic, we were constantly told to keep our hands away from our face and mouth to help limit the spread of germs. Many of us quickly learned just how often we do both! While some have been able to successfully break this habit, Invisalign patients can’t avoid touching their mouth. That means it’s more important than ever to practice good hygiene!
Fortunately, it’s easy to care for both your oral health and your aligners when you use Invisalign. Aligners are designed to be removed before eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing and flossing your teeth. Before the aligners are removed, patients need to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Careful attention should be paid to the fingernails and fingertips since these come into the closest contact with the mouth and aligners.
Washing your hands is the first line of defense against germs and infection, and this CDC video has great information on how to do so quickly and effectively! If you aren’t able to wash with soap and water for any reason, sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used in a pinch.
It can be tempting to toss aligners onto the nearest surface when they’re removed, but they should always be placed in a sealed container or left to soak in a cleaning solution when not in the mouth. This protects them from germs (and also prevents patients from accidentally throwing them away!) Once mealtime is complete or the teeth are brushed and flossed, hands should be washed again and the aligner rinsed well before putting it back in back in the mouth.
It’s a lot less complicated than it sounds when you write out all the steps. It will quickly become just another part of your daily routine. Being careful with your oral health and aligners will help protect your total body health, too!
Less chance of an orthodontic emergency
Traditional braces come with brackets and wires that can be bent or broken, which can lead to orthodontic emergencies. Since aligners are in one piece and made of durable SmartTrack material, we don’t tend to see many emergencies with them. That’s not to say aligners can’t be lost or damaged, however! They can crack, tear, or break, especially if they’re not handled carefully.
If an aligner is damaged, the patient should let our office know as soon as possible. If the damage isn’t severe, the aligner may still be worn until it’s time for the next in the series. However, patients should not use any aligner that’s been cracked or split in a way that prevents it from holding its shape. Aside from being potentially painful to wear, it won’t provide the pressure needed to move the teeth anyway. In a case like this, we may need to make a replacement. Dr. Vermette may also recommend using the next aligner in the series a little early.
Find your best smile with Invisalign by Vermette Orthodontics
There’s no denying that the current pandemic has created challenges for all of us, but it doesn’t have to interfere with your plans for a healthier smile! Invisalign clear aligners make it easy to improve your oral health safely and effectively. Could you be a good fit for this innovative treatment option? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Vermette and find out!