Congratulations! You’ve chosen clear aligners to get the smile of your dreams! Now you just have to wear the aligners, and that’s it! Well — almost. Invisalign and Spark clear aligners don’t have food restrictions like traditional braces, but you will need to follow a few rules to get the best out of your orthodontic treatment. These rules will ensure your treatment is efficient and that your aligners stay safe. If anything does happen to your clear aligners, rest assured! Freeman Orthodontics is here for you if you have any questions or issues.

So here are a few dos and don’ts for your clear aligners, and we’ll toss in a few tips along the way.

Do Keep Your Invisalign or Spark Clear Aligners Organized

Once you get started with Invisalign or Spark, you’ll get a set of aligner packets to begin your treatment. Most packets contain two aligners — one for the top teeth and one for the bottom teeth. 

The clear aligners will be numbered and marked so you know the order in which to wear them. It’s a pretty simple system. For example, Invisalign’s upper aligners are marked with a “U,” and lower aligners with an “L.” 

You can also tell which is which by looking at the front teeth on the aligners. Upper aligners will have more prominent front teeth to match your larger upper incisors. 

Don’t Skip Numbers 

In addition to the U and L, the aligner packets will be marked with a number. For example, “U1 of 15” means it’s the first aligner to wear on your upper teeth. The upper and lower aligner numbers should match, so when you wear “U1 of 15,” you should be wearing “L1 of 15” as well. 

Don’t skip numbers because that could interfere with your treatment process. Don’t toss the old aligners when you get ready to install new ones. If you lose one, you may be able to use the previous aligner until a replacement comes. 

If you lose one of your clear aligners, contact us right away. 

💡Tip: When you get a new set of aligners during your visit with us, write the date on the envelope. It will help you keep the aligners organized. 

Do Keep Aligners in Their Case When Not Worn

You will receive two different color cases for your aligners, one color for the upper aligners, the other for the lower ones. You’ll want to put your aligners in these cases anytime you remove them for eating, drinking, or brushing and flossing your teeth. 

Keep your cases with you in case you need to remove your aligners. Never wrap your aligners in a napkin — it’s too easy to throw them away accidentally! The cases also keep the aligners from being damaged when you’re not wearing them.

Don’t Force It!

Your aligners may fit a bit tightly the first couple of days, and this is normal. They have to move your teeth, after all. The aligners will become easier to place and remove each day. 

Some patients find it easier to put on their aligners by starting with the front teeth and moving back. Others start with the back teeth. Either way, never “bite” your aligners to force them into place because it can damage them.  If your aligners feel too difficult to put on, contact us right away!

Removal is easy! Just use your nail to pull gently, and they should pop off relatively easily.

💡Tip: Change to the next set of aligners at night. They’ll be easier to remove in the morning, and sleep will keep any discomfort at a minimum. 

Do Clean Your Aligners After Removal

Once you take out your aligners, rinse them with water before storing them in their protective case. 

Be sure to brush and floss your teeth before you return your aligners to your mouth. Make sure your aligners are clean and rinsed, as well. This reduces the chances you’ll get tooth decay during treatment. This will also minimize the staining or discoloration of your aligners. 

Use the recommended cleaner for your aligners. Never use harsh chemicals on your aligners, and don’t use hot water because it can warp or damage the aligner.

💡Tip: You can clean your aligner once a week using lukewarm water and a retainer cleaning tablet or half of a denture-cleaning tablet. 

Don’t Let Dog Eat Your Aligners

It might seem crazy, but pets love to chew on clear aligners! Your saliva’s scent can attract your dog or cat, and a determined puppy can chew right through the protective case. In addition to the “gross” factor, your aligners will likely be damaged beyond use if your dog gets his paws on them. 

So be sure to keep your aligners in your mouth or in their protective cases and out of reach! 

Do Wear Your Aligners at Least 22 Hours a Day

The longer you wear your aligners, the better, but you must wear them 22 hours a day, at least. Essentially, you should be wearing your aligners if you aren’t eating, drinking, or brushing and flossing. You can keep them in to drink water, but anything else could stain the aligners. 

You’ll wear each set of aligners for two weeks, and we’ll provide you with 3-4 sets each time you visit the office (every 6-8 weeks). Each set of aligners serves a specific purpose, moving the teeth to certain positions to prepare for the next set of aligners. Not wearing the aligners or wearing them out of order could complicate your treatment. 

Don’t Hesitate — Call Us!

At Freeman Orthodontics, we will guide you through each step of your treatment. We’re available to answer your questions, whether you choose treatment with Invisalign or Spark. We proudly serve The Bay Area, the Los Altos Area, Fremont, Evergreen, Milpitas Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Santa Teresa, and San Jose, CA. 

To find out if Invisalign or Spark is a good fit for you, start a virtual consult or give us a call! 

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