We’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about the challenges of the past year. COVID-19 put a lot of things in perspective and meant we had to get creative in more ways than one, but we never let all that uncertainty get in the way of offering straighter smiles! Brace-Asaurus Orthodontics for All Ages has continued providing Hamden patients with a variety of treatment options, from traditional metal braces to Invisalign clear aligners. We’ve really seen the latter shine during this pandemic! That’s why we’re taking a look at how you can keep your smile safe & healthy during COIVD-19 with Invisalign.
Invisalign was already our most popular alternative to braces, thanks in large part to the flexibility the aligners offer teens and adults. But as we’ve adjusted to several new “normals” over the course of 2020, we’ve come to realize that Invisalign offers even more benefits than we realized! The treatment process is safe, effective, and comfortable and the aligners are easier to navigate in the uncharted waters of a global pandemic. To learn why Invisalign is more popular than ever—and the many reasons why— keep reading below!
Invisalign provides convenience, flexibility, and freedom
Clear aligners are everywhere you look these days, so you’re probably familiar with how they look even if you’re not sure how they work. At first glance, the design appears quite simple, but you’d be surprised by how much these unassuming trays can get done!
Invisalign aligners straighten smiles the same way traditional braces do. Using a continuous application of gentle force, braces and aligners both move the teeth into better positions over time. To produce this type of force, the aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day. They’re also switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making.
We’ll normally provide Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. If the current set of aligners runs out before the next scheduled appointment, we’re happy to arrange curbside pick-up for the next set so patients don’t have to physically enter our Hamden office. If a patient or parent has questions or concerns, they can set up a virtual appointment to speak with Dr. Desai and discuss things. By offering these simple but socially-distanced options, patients can continue with their treatment plan safely and without delays.
Invisalign makes it easy to troubleshoot solutions
Once a patient has used their last set of aligners, the treatment process may be complete. There may be times, however, when we’ll need to schedule a revision scan. These scans tell us if additional aligners are required to achieve the desired results. In the last year, temporary closings and stay-at-home orders have occasionally affected our ability to get patients in quickly. Fortunately, it’s easy to troubleshoot solutions with Invisalign clear aligners!
For instance, an Invisalign patient will be able to continue wearing the last set of aligners they were given if we’re unable to provide them with a new set right away, with one difference—the aligners should be worn for only 10-12 hours a day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. This extends the life of the aligners until an appointment is available and keeps the patient’s treatment plan on track. It also helps ensure that no important progress is lost.
It is very important to keep pressure on the teeth both during (aligners) and after (retainer) treatment is complete. Without continuous force, the teeth will eventually begin to shift back into their previous places. This can happen more quickly than you may think! Lost progress may lead to longer treatment times, so we always recommend that patients keep the aligners from their previous stage on hand in case they’re needed while waiting for a new set.
Invisalign helps you achieve improved oral health
One of the most consistent messages we’ve received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to keep our hands away from our face and mouth. This limits the spread of germs and slows the rate of infection. Some of us have found it easier than others to stick with this advice, but unfortunately, Invisalign patients are unable to avoid touching their mouths during the treatment process. That means it’s more important than ever to practice good hygiene, which is an easy task with Invisalign!
Patients will find it a simple task to care for both their oral health and their aligners. The trays are designed to be removed before eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing and flossing the teeth. We recommend patients wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before removing aligners from the mouth. Special care should be taken with the fingernails and fingertips since these will come into the closest contact with the mouth and aligners.
Washing your hands is the first line of defense against germs and infection, so it’s important to do it properly. This CDC video gives a great demonstration of how to do so quickly and effectively! If soap and water are unavailable for any reason, hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol can be used in a pinch. If used correctly, these products are fast-acting and significantly reduce the number of germs on the skin.
Once aligners have been removed, they should always be placed in a clean sealed container or left to soak in an approved solution. This keeps them safe from germs and bacteria. It also prevents them from being accidentally misplaced (or thrown away! You wouldn’t believe how often this happens.) Before putting aligners back in the mouth, patients should wash their hands again and rinse the aligner with water. This level of care becomes routine in no time and will help protect a patient’s oral and overall health.
Invisalign results in fewer orthodontic emergencies
Traditional braces are made up of brackets and wires that can be bent or broken. Occasionally, this results in an orthodontic emergency that requires immediate attention. Because Invisalign aligners are just one piece and made from a durable clear material, emergencies with them tend to be rare. That doesn’t mean they’re indestructible, however! The aligners can still tear, crack, or break, especially if they’re not handled with care.
Patients should let our office know any time an aligner is damaged or lost. If there’s damage and it’s relatively minor, the aligner may still be worn until it is time for the next in the series. Patients shouldn’t use any aligner that’s been cracked or split in a way that prevents it from holding its shape, though. Besides causing potential pain, it won’t be able to provide the consistent pressure needed to move the teeth. In a case like this, we may need to make a replacement or Dr. Desai may recommend using the next aligner in the series a bit early.
Keeping your smile safe in 2021 with Brace-Asaurus Orthodontics for All Ages
Even in these uncertain times, Invisalign makes it easy to achieve a beautiful smile. The treatment process is safe, effective, and convenient, so if you’ve ever wanted to improve your oral health, 2021 is your year! Get in touch to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Desai and take the first step towards the happy smile you deserve.