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Aligner Maintenance: Reasons Why Your Aligners May Not Be Working

Updated: Mar 8

Aligners have become popular for many looking to straighten their teeth without the hassle of traditional braces. But what if they don't seem to be doing the job right? It can be frustrating and stressful to not see the results you were hoping for.


Knowing why your aligners aren't working as they should can help you fix the problem and get back on track to achieving that perfect smile. In this article, we will go over the different reasons why your aligners might not be working and offer solutions to help you get the most out of your treatment.



Table of Contents






Aligner Maintenance: Reasons Why Your Aligners May Not Be Working


Inadequate Wear Time


A lot of people think that wearing aligners for a short period each day will do the job. But that's not the case. For the best results, you need to have them on for about 20 to 22 hours every single day.


Yes, it might seem a lot, but if you skip wearing them for the required hours, your teeth won't move to their correct positions as planned.


Now, how do you remember to wear them for so long? It's simple: just set a reminder on your phone to put them back in after you take them out. This way, you won't forget. Also, make it a daily routine, just like brushing your teeth.



Neglected Oral Hygiene


Using aligners isn't just about wearing them; it's also about taking good care of them to ensure they do their job right. One major point here is not to overlook your oral hygiene.


You see, if you don't clean your teeth well, bacteria and plaque can build up quickly, creating issues not just for your teeth but for the aligners too. But the good news is that keeping things clean isn't hard. You should continue with your regular brushing and flossing to keep your teeth healthy.


Besides this, your aligners also need cleaning to function correctly. You can use simple soap and clean water for that. You can also use special cleaning sprays, like Smilesaver, which promise to kill 99% of germs in just 30 seconds.



Using Expired Aligners


Wearing aligners past their expiry date is something you should avoid. Expired aligners are not as effective because they can't give the necessary pressure your teeth need to move to the correct places.


So, how do you prevent this? The answer is to follow the schedule your dentist gave you. They have mapped out exactly when you should switch to a new set of aligners. Doing this ensures that your treatment stays on the right path.



Ill-fitted Aligners


You might notice that your aligners don't fit your teeth properly. This could be because of wrong measurements or mistakes when they were made. It is vital to understand that aligners that don't fit can't do their job well; they can't guide your teeth to where they need to be.


But there's no need to worry too much, as this issue can be fixed. The first thing to do is to reach out to your dental care provider. Set up a meeting to discuss what can be done to get aligners that fit you perfectly. Acting fast can stop more delays in your treatment and get you back on track swiftly.



Diet Recommendations And Aligner Maintenance: Common Mistakes


Utilizing aligners for teeth straightening entails adhering to specific dietary guidelines outlined by your dentist. Usually, this means avoiding foods and beverages that can potentially damage your aligners, including hard, crunchy foods and drinks that are known to stain, like coffee and red wine.


Ignoring this advice could lead to changes in the shape or appearance of your aligners, making them less effective in their job. Respecting these recommendations safeguards your aligners, ensuring they can function optimally to deliver the desired results.



Ignoring Regular Dental Check-ups


Getting aligners is just one part of the journey to straight teeth; another crucial part is keeping up with your dental check-ups. It's at these check-ups that your dentist can really see how things are going and if any changes are needed.


So, if you're thinking about missing an appointment, you might want to reconsider. Regular visits to the dentist can help spot issues before they become bigger problems, saving you time in the long run. Plus, your dentist might have some advice or suggestions to help things go even more smoothly.



Unaddressed Dental Issues


Before you begin your journey with aligners, it is crucial to take care of any existing dental problems. Issues like cavities or gum diseases can really get in the way of your aligners working correctly.


To avoid this, make a plan with your dentist to address these problems beforehand. The objective is to start your aligner treatment with a healthy foundation. By doing this, you help to make sure your aligners can work effectively without any obstacles.


Non-compliance with Aligner Accessories


When you are using aligners, your dentist might recommend accessories like chewies or movement trays to aid in the process. These tools are designed to support the work of the aligners, helping them to be more effective in moving your teeth correctly.


It is a good idea to learn how to use these accessories properly. This means understanding not just how to use them but also when to use them. Following your dentist's instructions regarding these accessories can really help in getting the best results from your aligner treatment.



Inconsistent Use of New Aligners


Consistency includes regularly switching to new sets of aligners every few weeks as instructed by your dental care provider. Failing to do so can disrupt the straightening process, causing delays and potentially reducing the treatment's effectiveness.


Adhering to the set schedule is non-negotiable. The schedule is designed with the specific movements of your teeth in mind, and each set of aligners has a role in this progression.


Therefore, not moving to the new set on time can hinder this process. Ensure to mark your calendar or set reminders on your phone to change your aligners as scheduled.



Conclusion


Achieving the perfect smile with aligners requires diligence. Follow the advice of your dental care provider closely. Wear the aligners for the recommended hours daily and maintain good oral hygiene.


Stick to the diet guidelines and attend regular check-ups. Ensure your aligners fit well and replace them as instructed. Address any dental issues before starting the treatment and use any prescribed accessories properly.


By avoiding common mistakes, you enhance the effectiveness of your treatment, bringing that flawless smile within reach sooner.



FAQ


Q: Why are my aligners not fitting properly?


A: There could be several reasons why your aligners are not fitting properly. One common reason is that your teeth might have shifted during the treatment process. Another reason could be that the aligners were not properly trimmed or adjusted to fit your teeth. If you are experiencing issues with the fit of your aligners, it is best to consult with your orthodontist for further evaluation and guidance.


Q: How often should I wear my aligners?


A: It is recommended to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day, removing them only for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Consistently wearing your aligners as instructed by your orthodontist will help ensure the effectiveness of your treatment.


Q: Can I switch to the next set of aligners sooner than prescribed?


A: No, it is important to follow the prescribed treatment plan and wear each set of aligners for the recommended duration. Switching to the next set of aligners too soon can disrupt the planned tooth movements and may result in suboptimal treatment outcomes.


Q: What should I do if I lose or break my aligners?


A: If you lose or break your aligners, contact your orthodontist immediately. They will guide you on the next steps, which may include using your previous set of aligners temporarily or getting a replacement set. It is important to address this issue promptly to avoid any delays or setbacks in your treatment.


Q: Can I eat and drink with my aligners on?


A: No, it is recommended to remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything other than water. Consuming food or beverages with aligners on can lead to staining, increased risk of cavities, and compromised treatment results.

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