The aligners should be worn at all times, except when eating, brushing, and flossing — at least 22 hours of wear per day. After eating, try to always brush your teeth before you put your aligner back in — they will stay cleaner. They should be cleaned gently with a toothbrush whenever they are removed. They should be stored in the red or blue retainer case when they are not being worn. (Never wrap them in a paper towel or tissue — they tend to get thrown out.) They should be kept away from boiling water, bleach, and other extreme cleansers. Store the future inventory of aligners in a cool, dry place. You may clean in Efferdent® or Polident® denture cleaner for 30 minutes in warm water while you are eating and brushing.
Note: Your general dentist should not remove the composite attachments. In addition, you should consult Dr. Youngker before receiving dental restorations, as this may affect the fit of the aligners. If a composite attachment (bump) breaks off on its own, get it replaced (re-bonded) immediately by Dr. Youngker.
After a period of 2 or 3 weeks, provided there are no air gaps between the aligner and your teeth, you should take out your aligners and put them into the original packing case to be saved. You can now wear the next stage of aligners. It’s best to put in new trays at night after you finish eating or brushing, take 2 Advil® and go to bed. Don’t take the tray off for 8–12 hours; force drops by as much as 40% after this time, and you won’t make your teeth as sore by taking it in and out. If you can, leave the new aligner in for 8–12 hours before removing it the first time.
On new trays with bonded attachments, please place in upper and lower aligners, and bite down on a toothbrush handle above these attachments after you have marked them with a wax pencil. This ensures the tray is fully seated on this tooth. It is very important to make sure the previous aligner is fully seated on the attachments and comfortable to wear before you go to the next aligner (2 weeks of 21–22 hours per day wear).
After an additional 2–3 weeks, the next set of aligners should be put in the original packing case and stored along with the earlier sets. Keep all your old aligners.
Bring these previously worn aligners to your checkup visits so they can be back-tracked if necessary.
Wearing Aligner Instructions
- Clench into the aligners frequently to assure seating pressure and tooth moving pressure.
- Aligners can be worn longer than 2 weeks if they seat poorly or if the teeth do not look as straight in the mouth as in the aligner set up.
- If there appears to be an air gap between the aligner and the biting edge of any tooth, clench into the aligner more and wear it longer.
- At the end of the 2–3 weeks, before placing a new aligner, mark the plastic bumps on your teeth with pencil and try the current aligners on. If the pencil marks show through the pimples in the aligner exactly, then you are ready to move on to the next aligner.
- Aligners should feel loose and comfortable before moving on to the next aligner.