Staying Safe and Healthy with Clear Aligners During COVID-19

If you’ve ever considered straightening your smile with orthodontic treatment, you’re in the right place. There’s never been a better time to be an orthodontic patient! Here at Beim Orthodontics, we’re proud to help patients of all ages in Lake Mary achieve healthier smiles with a variety of treatment methods, including Invisalign clear aligners! As the most popular alternative to traditional metal braces, Invisalign makes staying safe and healthy with clear aligners during COVID-19 a piece of cake!

Over the last year, we’ve all had to make some adjustments. During that time, we’ve come to realize that the benefits of clear aligners go far beyond improving oral health. While braces and aligners both straighten teeth by applying gentle pressure to shift them into their new positions over time, Invisalign has a unique advantage. We believe it’s one of the best solutions for a healthier smile during these socially-distanced times! Keep reading below to learn more about this innovative option.
Low-impact on your treatment process
Even if you don’t have experience with orthodontics, you probably know that Invisalign uses clear aligners to straighten the teeth. Every two weeks or so, these removable trays are switched out for the next in the series, depending on the treatment plan implemented by Dr. Beim. Patients will usually be given several weeks’ worth of aligners to wear, which is good news during this time of social distancing and occasional stay-at-home orders! When the current set of aligners runs out, we’re happy to arrange curbside pick-up for the next set so there’s no need to physically enter the office. This gives every patient the opportunity to continue their treatment safely and without delay.

Once the current set of aligners is finished, your treatment may be complete or we may need to schedule a revision scan. These scans help us determine if any additional aligners will be required to achieve the best results for your smile. Dealing with temporary closings over the last year has meant that we’re sometimes unable to get patients in quickly for a revision scan, but no worries! Anyone who is currently in aligners can keep wearing the last set they were given, but for only 8-12 hours per day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. This helps extend the life of the aligners until an appointment is available.

Since aligners work by exerting continuous force on the teeth to move them, it’s really important to keep that pressure consistent, both during and after treatment is complete. 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 begin to shift back to their previous positions over time. This can add to the total treatment time and may affect the overall results. We tell our patients to always keep their aligners from the previous stage or two in case they need them while waiting for a new set to be processed and delivered.

Staying Safe and Healthy with Clear Aligners during COVID-19

How to care for Invisalign aligners during COVID-19
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been told to avoid touching our face and mouth to help limit the spread of germs. For many of us, this recommendation has shown us just how often we do both! Some have been more successful at breaking this habit than others, but Invisalign patients don’t have much choice when it comes to touching their mouths. Since Invisalign aligners are designed to be taken out before eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing the teeth, a patient’s fingers will come into contact with their mouth multiple times every day.

Thankfully, there’s always been an emphasis on cleanliness as a critical part of the Invisalign treatment process! That’s more important now than ever. Before the aligners are removed, you should always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, paying careful attention to the fingernails and fingertips since these are most likely to come into close contact with your mouth and aligners. This CDC video is an excellent source of information on why washing your hands properly is the first line of defense against germs and infection! If you don’t have access to soap and water for any reason, sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used instead.

Invisalign patients also need to be careful about where they place the aligners when they’re not being worn. It can be tempting to toss them onto the nearest surface, but aligners should always be placed in a sealed container or left to soak in a cleaning solution. This protects them from germs and prevents patients from accidentally throwing them away! Once mealtime is complete or the teeth are brushed and flossed, you should wash your hands again and rinse your aligner well before putting it back in the mouth. It sounds like a lot of steps when you write it all out, but this method of caring for aligners quickly becomes second-nature and will help protect your total body health, too!
What happens if there’s an emergency?
Orthodontic emergencies are pretty rare with Invisalign, but that’s not to say that aligners can’t be lost or damaged. They’re made from a special patented SmartTrack material that’s incredibly durable, but not indestructible! It’s possible for aligners to crack, tear, or break, especially if they’re not handled carefully.

Patients who have lost or damaged an aligner should let our office know as soon as possible. If the damage isn’t too serious, it’s possible the aligner can still be worn until it’s time for the next in the series. However, patients should discontinue using any aligner that’s cracked or split in a way that prevents it from holding its shape. Wearing it may be painful and it won’t be able to provide the pressure needed to move the teeth anyway. In a case like this, we may need to make a replacement or Dr. Beim may suggest using the next aligner in the series a little early.

Staying Safe and Healthy with Clear Aligners during COVID-19

Straighten your smile safely with Beim Orthodontics
We’ve all had to overcome some unique challenges over the past year, but that doesn’t mean your smile has to suffer! Thanks to Invisalign clear aligners from Beim Orthodontics, you can continue your journey to a straighter smile safely and effectively. If you have any questions or concerns about maintaining your treatment while social distancing, contact our office today and schedule your free initial consultation. We’re always happy to help!